ticks, why do they exist?

i was going to attach a picture of a tick, but was creeped out by just the image of it and couldn’t keep looking at them.

this is one of my fears of camping, bugging out, and just being out in the woods. nasty lil blood suckers, why do they even exist? bird’s probably aren’t getting much nutrition off of them. i think they are just around to be a creepy pest and to keep me out of the woods.

to the point now, what can people do to prevent ticks? both the day hiker and the person bugging out in a tent in the middle of no where for months? 

what are the dangers of getting bit by one besides the fact that they are creepy as h***?

if, heaven forbid, someone were to get bit by one of these abominations, how do you remove it? i’ve heard you have to do it just right or the head breaks off and stays connected to you. gosh!

can you tell i don’t like ticks?


  • Comments (9)

    • 5

      pint of beer – I grew up with ticks in my environment on the farm. 

      We covered up long sleeves, long pants boots when in the bush or tall grass as much for mosquitoes and black flies as we did for ticks.

      Simply put – in tick season – We checked ourselves thoroughly, through our hair and right down to between our toes. Little ones were checked by the parents.

      If there was a tick attached, we knew never to pull on one – tweezer for ticks make me cringe.

      If you leave that head in, you can get an infection. So, here’s how we got them off and it’s really easy and simple. 

      Light a match, let it burn for a second or so. Blow out the match and immediately apply it to the back end of the tick. The hot match end will cause the tick to release it’s bite and back out of your skin really quickly. If it’s a stubborn one, do it a couple of times, but they will release.

      Ensure you thoroughly clean the area where the tick was attached. Also dispose safely of the tick. 

      If you are in Lyme Disease country, know and watch for signs of it. 

      Hope this helps.

      • 6

        so have you used that match method before? not meaning to argue with you, but just from what i’ve seen in this youtube video, it didn’t seem to work for them.

    • 6


      It’s a legitimate fear. In reply;

      Treat everything you wear with perm and DEET. 30% DEET meets requirement with the larger percentages for duration.  I personally like to respray concurrent with self inspection at the more frequent interval.

      Was told that citrus vapors repel ticks.  More than once had washed field pants and found orange peals in big side pockets. Don’t know if it works as a repellent but worth researching.

      A vaccine is pending but told liability issues causing a delay.

      The danger in Virginia is Lyme Disease.  Noticed symptoms require medic intervention and, in my case, antibiotics for 10 days.  More dangerous than Lyme Disease is Rockey Mountain Spotted Fever.  It’s worth spending some time on your state’s Dept of Forestry and Dept of Health to learn what’s been reported/treated.

      In the Army, some soldiers wear white panty hose as a tick barrier.  Also the white contrasts with any tick that got through your outer layer of garments and you can remove the trespasser prior to attachment.

      Three years ago, Virginia agencies reported on the new arrival, the Asian long horn tick. It looks scary … I’m like you; I hate ticks … but reports say it’s less a concern than the traditional black legged ticks already here for ages.

      For emergencies, I do carry tweezers when light security paramount.

      Summary;  After checking your state’s pertinent websites and CDC, ask around the SAR teams and utility crews.  Good guidance can be obtained. 

    • 5

      I live in a high Lyme disease danger area. I’ve had blood tests run for three diseases that ticks in my area can transmit after I found an embedded tick. Fortunately, tests came back negative. One interesting thing the local doctor said — or rather implied — Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo has an ingredient that ticks don’t like.

      There is anecdotal evidence (not rigorous science) that using Head and Shoulders shampoo liberally as a body wash (not just on the hair) is unattractive to ticks. 

      Ticks are another reason that bugging out into the woods or moving through fields of tall grass are things I would avoid, if possible, for at least half the year where I live.

    • 4

      Ahhh ticks…they are my great nemesis April-October. We have hordes of them here. Just found the first one of the season on my sweater last night…no idea where it came from since I didn’t go anywhere near tick habitat yesterday.

      As far as their purpose goes, it appears their only ecological purpose is to be a disease vector. We get alot of Lyme around here, and anaplasmosis and babesiosis. But the really scary diagnoses are things like the rare Powassan virus which is often fatal. The odds of getting a tick borne illness increase the longer the tick is embedded on you. If you pull them off within a few minutes of a bite, chances of getting sick are very low. But if you are freaked out by ticks…do not google images of fully embedded ones! They bury their whole head and upper body in the skin. It’s absolutely revolting.

      That being said, ticks should not keep you from enjoying the outdoors. Long pants and calf high boots sprayed with bug repellent and thorough full body tick checks right after a hike will prevent the majority of bites. When we are in the woods with our kids, the first thing we do when we come home is to strip off our clothes and do a full tick check, toes to scalp (you must always check the whole body, as ticks climb up towards the head and face so you can easily find them in your hair). The clothes are thrown into the drier for 20 minutes on high to dessicate any ticks that might be stuck to the clothes. Turns out they are really dependent on high humidity for survival. It is a time consuming routine, but worth it. If you are hiking, you will need sharp tweezers and an antibiotic ointment if you need to remove them in the field. If you find an embedded tick that looks like it has been there for quite a few hours, you will often be prescribed antibiotics as a precaution.

      • 5

        Wanted to add….we have good luck using the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus repellent for ticks (DEET free). My understanding is that lemon eucalyptus is one of the only natural repellents that is actually confirmed effective against ticks.

    • 4

      In Mississippi, if you go outside or have pets that do, ticks are a fact of life.  I have to pull several off every year & I don’t go into the woods.  When I go into tall grass & woods, as I did when scouting land for our farm, it was not unusual to remove a dozen or more.  I always wear jeans & tight lace up boots & use plenty of Deet.  When in such an environment, you need to get those clothes off & washed ASAP and you need to shower.  Then you do inspections.  When one is embedded, I use a tool called the Tick Nipper.  It has a 20x lens to help see the small ones and with the long thin jaws it gets under the tick to allow you to pull the tick with no squeezing or cutting.  The jaws are designed to not completely close so as to not cut off the tick’s mouth.

      For the random tick that gets on me from just working around the farm, I can usually feel them crawling on my skin & remove them prior to embedding.  Once embedded, my skin reacts very quickly & gets red & itchy, so I can find the little beasts before they get big.  http://www.ticknipper.com/


      • 4

        thanks for the link to the tick nipper. just bought one! that looks like the safest and easiest way to remove ticks 

    • 1

      i went on the cdc’s website and found maps of the regions where ticks live. no place is immune from these suckers, but i might have to move to wyoming or idaho as that looks like the safest location. (just joking, but may consider it if i do have to move someday).

      definitely never moving to florida.