Know Where to Expect Ticks
Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. Spending time outdoors can bring you in close contact with ticks. Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter and walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with ticks. American dog ticks are found throughout North Dakota while blacklegged ticks have been found primarily in the eastern part of North Dakota. Ticks can be active whenever it is above freezing with little to no snow cover.
Use Tick Repellent
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone. EPA's search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Follow the manufacturer's directions for all repellent applications.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing and camping gear and remain protective through several washings. Alternatively, you can buy permetherin-treated clothing and gear.
Check for Ticks
After you come indoors check your clothing for ticks. Any ticks that are found should be removed. Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, additional time may be needed. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended.
Ticks can also be brought into the home on gear, clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and daypacks.
Showering within two hours of coming indoors can reduce the risk of tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
Conduct a full body check upon return from outdoors. Check these parts of your body and your child's body for ticks:
- In and around the hair
- In and around the ears
- Under the arms
- Inside the belly button
- Around the waist
- Between the legs
- Back of the knees
Preventing Ticks on Your Pets
Talk to your veterinarian about the best tick prevention products for your pets and tickborne diseases in your area. Check your pets daily for ticks, especially after they spend time outdoors. Remove a tick right away if one is found on your pet.
Where to check your pet for ticks:
- In and around the ears
- Around the eyelids
- Under the collar
- Under the front legs
- Between the back legs
- Between the toes
- Around the tail
Preventing Ticks in Your Yard
Consider some landscaping techniques if you live near a wooded area:
- Remove leaf litter
- Mow the lawn frequently
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and the edges of lawns
- Make a landscape barrier (such as a three-foot wide border of wood chips or gravel) between your lawn and the woods
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees