Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

Brad Paisley struck the nail on the head with his country lyric, “I’d like to check you for ticks!” This is a very important topic as we start bringing in our vegetables from the garden and farmers start rolling hay. Ticks can be very easily dealt with if time and care is taken to ensure they do not allow any diseases into the bloodstream.

There are three main types of ticks that one should be familiar with but all are dangerous. These are Black Legged (Deer Tick), Lone Star and the Dog Tick. These ticks carry diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can be life threatening.

However, the fear of ticks is no reason to stay indoors due to a few easy preventative actions.

Wearing long pants that are tucked into closed toe shoes along with thick socks is the easiest way to deter the pest. If you do not have skin exposure, ticks have to climb a good way to attack, and that increases the chance they will fall off.

If you have noticed a strong tick population in your area, Pyrethroid sprays can be used around the garden or even directly on some clothing to prevent the pest from coming around. Pyrethroids have strong odors and will usually stay on cloth even through a few washings. This odor will help remind you to remove these clothes outside to decrease the chance of a tick hitchhiking into your home.

Studies show that children and adults should be checked for ticks as soon as they come in from any heavily wooded or weed infested areas so that the tick can be removed. Removal of small ticks can be difficult, but for best results use a pair of tweezers so that the tick can be grasped as close to the skin as possible and the contents are not expelled back into the person or animal.

When the tick is removed by blunt objects such as fingers, there is a greater chance of a back-siphoning action increasing the chance of disease. In every case, it is best to remove the head and body together, but if the head is detached it will soon fall off and antibiotic cream can be applied to the area.

Never use any type of solvent such as fingernail polish, etc., on a live tick as this can cause them to “spit” or possibly infect the host with diseases the tick is carrying. Tick bites can be raised and itchy, which is normal. Antibiotic ointment can be used on these spots but mainly keep them clean for a quicker heal.

If you have been attacked by a tick, watch for symptoms of disease and seek medical attention as soon as possible notifying the medical professional what type of tick you encountered.

If you have any questions regarding tick management, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

Information for this article comes from the Center for Urban Agriculture, “Ticks: Protecting Yourself While Working Outside,” author Willie Chance; also, an interview of Jule-Lynne Macie, UGA Cooperative Extension: NW ANR PDC.

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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