Anyone spending time outdoors should first plan on enjoying their experience, and second, they should take sensible precautions to avoid tick exposures.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of antibiotics!

Larval and nymphal deer ticks often hide in shady, moist ground litter, but adults can often be found above the ground clinging to tall grass, brush, trees and shrubs.  Ticks also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woodlands, on fallen trees and around old stone walls.  No natural, vegetated area can be considered completely free of infected ticks.

Ticks have been known to drop from a overhanging branch or tree limb.  There are many potential hosts, which include all wild birds and mammals, domestic animals, and humans.  Once a tick comes in contact with a human it generally climbs upward until it reaches a suitable site, often the back of the knee, groin, navel, armpit, ears, head or neck.  It then begins the process of inserting its mouthparts into the skin until it reaches the blood supply.

The best action to take is to avoid contact with soil, leaf litter and vegetation as much as possible.  However, if you garden, hike, camp, hunt, work outdoors or otherwise spend time in woods, brush or overgrown fields, you should use a combination of precautions faithfully to reduce your chances of getting Lyme or other tick borne diseases.

When spending time outdoors, make these precautions part of your daily routine:
  • Wear light-colored clothing to spot ticks easily
  • Scan clothes and any exposed skin frequently for ticks 
  • When possible, stay on cleared, well-traveled trails
  • Use insect repellant on skin and your clothes.  Repel Permanone is sold in some Wal-Marts (sporting goods section) and in outdoor or hunting/fishing supply stores.  It is unscented and is only to be used on clothing and shoes, not your skin.
  • Repel Permanone Clothing and Gear Insect Repellent*

  • Avon makes an unscented product for your skin that is light and non-greasy.*    


    bug guard: SKIN SO SOFT Bug Guard Plus IR3535® EXPEDITION™ SPF 30 Aerosol Spray
  • Avoid sitting directly on the ground, even in the cold of winter 
  • Keep long hair tied back or under a hat that has been treated
  • Do a full-body tick-check when ever possible and certainly at the end of the day 
  • Check children and pets for ticks daily
  • Review tick repellent options

When taking the above precautions, consider this:

  • If you tuck long pants into socks and shirts into pants, be aware that ticks that contact your clothes will climb upward in search of exposed skin. This means they may climb to hidden areas of the head and neck if not spotted first.
  • Clothes can be sprayed with Permanone, which will kill ticks crawling across the surface.  The treatment is effective for about two weeks when applied properly. 
  • Upon returning home, clothes can be placed in a hot dryer for one hour to kill ticks, but even hot dryers do not always kill them.
  • A shower and shampoo may help to remove crawling ticks, but will not usually remove attached ticks.  Inspect yourself and your children carefully after bathing.  Keep in mind that nymphal ticks are the size of poppy seeds; adult ticks are the size of apple seeds.

Any contact with vegetation, even playing in the yard, can result in exposure to ticks, so careful daily self-inspection is necessary whenever you are involved in outdoor activities.  Remember ticks can be active when there is an 80% snow covering on the ground.  Frequent tick checks should be followed by a detailed tick check each night before going to bed.  

To remove a tick, follow these steps:

  1. Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick by the head or mouthparts where it entered the skin. Try not to grasp the tick by the body if possible to help prevent the ticks head or mouth parts from remaining lodged in the skin.  
  2. Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick out or apply soap, petroleum jelly, a hot match, kerosene, alcohol or any other irritant to the tick in an attempt to get it to back out.  Doing so can force the ticks fluids into the bite wound.
  3. Place the tick in a partially filled bottle of rubbing alcohol to kill it.  Mark the bottle clearly with the word "ticks" so it will not be used by anyone for any other purpose.  Alcohol bottles have a tight fitting lid and can hold many ticks before having to be disposed of in the trash.  Do not crush or burn the tick as it can spread germs in the process.
  4. Clean the bite wound with soap and water and a disinfectant to help prevent secondary infections.
  5. Wash your hands and the tweezers throughly with soap and water.  

In highly endemic areas it is recommended to treat a tick bite to prevent developing Lyme or other tick borne diseases.  New Jersey has some of the highest rates of infected ticks in the United States.  Certainly, if a rash or other symptoms develop, see a physician immediately.  Remember less than 10% of children get a Lyme rash and less than 50% of reported cases indicate a rash was noted.

Those who enjoy spending time in their yards can reduce the tick population around the home by:

  • keeping lawns mowed and edges trimmed
  • clearing brush, leaf litter and tall grass around houses and at the edges of gardens and walls
  • stacking woodpiles in a dry location and preferably off the ground
  • clearing all excess leaf litter out of the garden in the fall
  • spraying the residential area (only the areas frequented by humans) with an insecticide in late May (to help control nymphs) and September (to help control adult ticks)
*  We do not have ties to Avon or Repel Permanone products and do not receive any financial or other incentives for promoting their products.  We simply recommend them because we have found they are very helpful. 


Anything you can do to make your property less hospitable to deer, mice and birds will have a impact on the tick population.   If you have a large yard, wooded area or high-use area, consider creating a “safe zone” to help reduce your exposure.  You cannot keep all ticks out of the “safe zone”, but you can reduce the numbers and chance of accidental exposure substantially. 

To create a "safe zone"  Place a layer of wood chips at least 3 feet wide and 1-3 feet deep between your yard and the woods edge.  Ticks are attracted to the wood chips because of the shade and moisture provided.  Treat the chips regularly (several times a year) with Sevin or Permanone to kill any ticks living in or trying to cross the “safe zone” barrier.  Keep children and pets out of the treated wood chips.   

Keep all grass in your “safe zone” cut SHORT to discourage ticks from taking up residence there.  Ticks do not like hot dry areas.  Be sure not to provide an inviting habitat for ticks by using wood chips under picnic tables or playground equipment where people often gather.  

To discourage deer and other wildlife from living in or wandering through your “safe zone” spray their favorite 'edibles' with a garlic, soap or hot pepper spray.  Acorns and berries attract mice and other wildlife.  Removing them and other wildlife food sources may help reduce the number of ticks. 

Keep bird feeders away from the house and your “safe zone” to discourage mice (a favorite host of ticks) from gathering or nesting in or near your home.  Set traps to remove mice from inside your house and empty the traps promptly.  

To treat your yard or other outdoor areas to reduce ticks, you can purchase a product called Sevin (sold as a concentrated liquid or dust) and apply it to and around your high use areas.  Sevin, sold as a garden product for use on fruits and vegetables, has one of the least offensive chemical odors, is fairly inexpensive considering the coverage and is recommended and effective for killing ticks.  It can also be applied to your pets outdoor bedding areas to kill ticks and fleas.  Carefully read and follow all directions on the label and remember to treat high-use areas and your wood chip border several times a year. 

Save the cardboard inserts from toilet paper and paper towels.  Treat a handful of cotton balls with Permanone (spray them outside on newspaper or on a protective covering), allow to dry and place the cotton balls loosely inside the cardboard tubes (or inside short pieces of PVC pipe).  Place the tubes or pipes along the border of your property.  Hopefully, mice will carry the cotton balls to their nest, exposing ticks to the Permanone treatment.

Inside Home-  Ticks can live for over six months without a blood meal.  An adult female can produce 2,000–5,000 off-spring.  Homes may have to be treated for tick infestation if a female tick deposits her eggs indoors and they hatch.  You should also be sure to check for ticks before getting into your vehicle in order to prevent similar problems. 

Personal Protection- What Repellents Work Best?

Disclaimer-  No prevention method is 100% effective.  Please proceed as if it is possible to be bitten in spite of using one or more methods.  If you find an attached tick, please visit: 

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