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Lisa Unleashed: Readers Speak Out About Ticks

Published: August 6, 2017

Several readers felt my pain, and my dogs’ annoyance, when I wrote about how bad ticks where this year in a recent column. I’ve pulled out some of the best comments and some really great anti-tick tactics for dog owners to give a try. These will come in handy, especially as we head into autumn when ticks are on the uptick.

Julie wrote: I saw your article about how bad ticks are in Connecticut, forcing you out of the woods with your dogs. I was wondering if you wanted to try a tick repelling dog vest made with No Fly Zone fabric. The fabric is treated with permethrin at the mill when woven. The treatment is insoluble and doesn’t come off, even when wet. It works for up to 70 washings, longer if you air dry it as the heat of the dryer breaks down the fibers and ultimately the treatment. Our biggest challenge is product awareness. A lot of people are hearing about using permethrin but not everyone is aware of the pretreated fabric and products. It is a lot safer to use these products and the treatment lasts a lot longer! Find this product at dognotgone.com/nfz-products/

Eric wrote: You didn’t mention the new offering from Bayer, the Seresto collar. It is the best solution I have found for my two English setters who spend lots of time in heavy cover. Give it a try; it costs around $50 and works for eight months, about the length of tick season. Find this product at petbasics.com.

Jeff wrote: Here’s something that we do and it seems to work well. We have been doing this for about three years now. So far this year, we have only seen two or three ticks and yes, we have a dog. In other years, only one or two ticks in the entire year were found. If neighbors also did this, it would help to eradicate the tick population even more.

What I do is buy a 10-13 percent solution of permethrin (the Dufners’ Stony Hill Hardware store [203-792-4043] has it or other local hardware stores might have it), a spray bottle, and a couple of large bags of jumbo cotton balls. Fill the bottle with the solution (do not dilute) and spray the cotton balls until lightly soaked (do this outdoors and inside a cardboard box). Using rubber gloves, turn the cotton balls and lightly soak again. Let them dry for a couple of days. Once dry, scatter the cotton balls around the property, hiding them in cracks of stone walls, behind trees, rocks, etc. You can buy cardboard tubes and insert several cotton balls into each tube if you like, but that only helps with being able to throw them around the property more easily.

What will happen is this: over time, birds, chipmunks and mice will gather these cotton balls to help make their nests. Permethrin will kill off ticks, but from what I have read, it is safe for animals and humans. Since the cotton balls are in the actual nests, any ticks that get on these mice or birds will get killed off. Essentially, instead of having birds and rodents be part of the problem, you are making them soldiers in the war to kill off the ticks. When their nests are lined with the treated cotton balls, you want the rodents to do their thing: run around collecting ticks on their fur and be taken back to the nest, for destruction. The best time for doing this is the spring when nests are being made, but it is never too late to start. Rodents continue to add to their nests over the summer. We do this once or twice a year. It’s easy to do and the results seem to work.

Thanks for all these great suggestions.

Lisa Peterson writes about horses, hounds and history at lisaunleashed.com; contact her at lisa@lisaunleashed.com.

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