Surveyor’s Survival Guide

 · 
May 9, 2024
 · 
3 min read
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Spring is here! For many of us, that means it's time for cleaning up the yard, baseball, cook-outs, camping, and soaking up the sun on these long evenings brought to you by Daylight Saving Time. However, as the weather warms, outdoor workers like land surveyors who spend extended periods outside know it's also time for many parasites to find a host. So, let's talk about ticks.

Contrary to popular belief, ticks don't jump, fly, or drop out of trees. Instead, they wait in tall grasses and low-lying shrubs. When they smell an animal or human walking by, they latch on and start looking for a suitable spot to bite and have a meal. The smaller, young nymph ticks, which are about the size of a poppy seed, are responsible for most Lyme Disease cases because they're so hard to see, and their bites are painless.

Fun Fact: Lyme Disease got its name because it was first discovered in the town of Lyme, Connecticut.

The most popular breeds of ticks in the U.S. are the Blacklegged (Deer) Tick, the Lone Star Tick, and the Dog Tick.

Source: “How Ticks Spread Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/ticks/life_cycle_and_hosts.html.

So, how do we avoid ticks? There are several methods. My personal favorite is to tuck my long pants into my socks and my shirt into my pants. This ensures that the ticks will stay on my outer clothing and not crawl up my legs or torso under my clothes. By wearing light-colored clothes, I am able to see them more easily. If one does reach the top of my shirt, I can usually feel it crawling on my neck and pull it off before it bites me.

For those of you who are interested in using chemical deterrents, there are a few proven options:

  • Deet can be used on your skin to cover your scent. It does not repel ticks but can be effective for up to 8 hours. However, you should never use it on flame retardant clothing because it could flare up in certain circumstances.
  • Picaridin is a non-deet skin repellant that works for up to 8 hours.
  • Permethrin can be applied to clothing, shoes, hats, gear, tents, and any fabric. It is an odorless repellant that affects the nervous systems of ticks and insects. Some insects will fly off, and ticks will become less productive and eventually die. Depending on what variety of Permethrin you use, it can be effective for anywhere from 2 weeks to 24 weeks, depending on how often you launder the clothing.

If you are bitten by a tick, carefully remove it with tweezers and try not to squeeze the body. Then, scrub the area with rubbing alcohol.

Did I give you the "HEEBIE – JEEBIES"???

 

Source: Anderson, Brian (The Tick Terminator), Jan. 2021, https://cdn.ymaws.com/nsps.us.com/resource/resmgr/tick_terminator/tick_prevent_safety_guide.pdf

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