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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Deer, ticks and chiggers!

Mum, Gracie and I were inside....Mum working and Gracie on the couch when suddenly Mum saw something out of the corner of her eye....something moved!

She looked up and saw two deer right next to my fence. My fence, mind you!!!

Mum chased them off pretty quick, because you know where there are deer, there are ticks! And there is no way I'm getting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever like Gracie did, no way!!!

You may remember, a RMSF infected tick only has to be attached for about 1-2 hours to transmit the disease. And no tick preventative (only a repellent) will prevent a dog from getting it if the tick is infected and bites the dog.

Mum got out the edger to trim the grass and weeds even closer to the ground and further on the outside of the fence, and she couldn't believe it, but it wouldn't work. Our 12 year old trimmer finally gave out. So she ordered one and it arrived at the cabin in just a few days.

She trimmed all the brush and weeds away from the fence line since that's what they like. And guess what, as Mum was trimming she found a tick on her walking right where the deer were. 

Consequently, Gracie and I got tick checks for the next few days. After finding not a one, we got a little reprieve. But now that the rains have been coming nearly every day for several months, the ticks are getting really bad! 

And the chiggers got bad too. Chiggers don't bother me and Gracie, but sometimes we get them on us, and then they get on Mum when we cuddle on the couch in the evening. Chiggers itch a lot, and put Mum in a really bad mood for a few hours.

So in addition to the trimming, Mum sprayed the yard with her homemade insecticidal soap and that got rid of the chiggers in just one day, yeah!

For the ticks, Mum has been spraying some neem based dog friendly essential oil stuff on me before I go out. Since then they haven't attached, and crawl off me and on to her, but she can handle that...well, sort of, lol!

We're finding only the American Dog Tick (see the photo that Mum took after finding some ticks crawling on us) lately and those are the ones that can carry RMSF, if infected. For some reason the ticks haven't been attracted to Gracie for the several weeks that they've been around bothering me and Mum. But Mum found one very, very briefly attached to Gracie right under her eye, just the other day.

The male ADT is very different looking from the female ADT. You can see the difference in the photo of the ticks above. Those are ticks that Mum found crawling on me or her. She puts them in vinegar, where they are preserved in tact so she can identify them well after she gets over the willies.

Mum is much more worried about me, because since Gracie has been infected with RMSF she now has immunity. But we're still being extra cautious and Gracie is now getting the neem spray on her now. 

Finally just this weekend the rains subsided and we've had three days of nice sun, after getting over 70 inches of rain this year so far! Can you say tropical rain forest?

Mum got down our tick deterrent, diatomaceous earth. She put it down a few weeks back, but it rained just a day or so later, washing it all away and not giving it a good chance to work. But now with three days, it's working.

So far so good, we haven't seen any ticks for a few days, yeah!


  1. You have both of us scratching all over just thinking about those nasty ticks! We're glad to hear that the diatomaceous earth and the neem are working for you!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  2. Thanks for this great post. I live in the south of Australia, in Victoria, and until recently we didn't have paralysis ticks, but with the change in climate, they are moving south, so I try to read as much as possible about ticks.

    I've never seen one - yet...


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