Use this duct tape trick to protect yourself from tick bites
By Sam Schipani, Bangor Daily News Staff With ticks on the rise in Maine this year, intrepid outdoor enthusiasts are getting creative with methods to keep ticks at bay. One of the methods circulating on popular social media sites is to wrap duct tape with the sticky side around the ankles of the pants to catch ticks as they try to crawl on the legs.
By Sam Schipani, Bangor Daily News Staff
With ticks on the rise in Maine this year, intrepid outdoor enthusiasts are getting creative with methods to keep ticks away. Among the methods that circulate via popular social media sites involves wrapping duct tape with the sticky side around the ankles of the pants to catch ticks as they try to crawl on the legs.
Sounds silly, for sure. But does it work?
Griffin Dill, who runs the Cooperative Extension Tick Lab at the University of Maine, said it wasn’t a bad idea, as long as the band is snug enough that ticks can’t slip into it.
“I’ve seen this tip circulate online, especially through social media,” Dill said. “One of the main goals of tick bite prevention is to create a barrier that will prevent the tick from accessing bare skin. Wrapping a layer of duct tape around your ankles won’t completely prevent tick bites, but any additional barriers can help.
The placement of the duct tape is essential as it targets a place where ticks often climb on the bodies.
Chuck Lubelczyk, vector ecologist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, said most tick encounters occur below the knee.
“Mostly on hot days like the last two days, ticks are really close to the ground, ”Lubelczyk said. “A lot of moisture is trapped in the ground, which makes ticks very happy. They tend to really go up on people at ankle height and up the pant legs. Anything you can do to close your pant legs will help.
Dill explained that if you’ve found ticks on your back, neck, or head, they’ve likely climbed up from your ankles, so the extra ankle protection is even helpful in keeping ticks away from your upper body.
“Ticks have a natural tendency to climb on a host, so if they don’t immediately encounter exposed skin, they will usually travel until they do,” he said. “Dog ticks in particular are known to climb and attach themselves high on the body, especially around the neck and head. Ultimately, the concern is not necessarily to keep ticks from falling on your shirt, but to keep them from accessing exposed skin as you move up the body.
However, the method is not perfect. The durability of the tape, for example, can be an issue.
“I probably wouldn’t do this if I was doing real hiking or bushwhacking, or doing long hikes and stuff,” Lubelczyk said. “I would see this thing come undone if you walked heavily through the brush.” If it rains, it can get wet and not be effective. I think people should know about it.
If you’re looking for a more effective way to keep ticks away, try gaiters for your ankles and legs, Lubelczyk said.
“A few brands sell light-colored products that they’ve treated with permethrin and they’re meant to block chiggers and ticks that prey on people,” Lubelczyk said.
The duct tape around the ankles should also only be used with other tick prevention measures, not in their place.
“Although using duct tape is not a quick fix, by combining this method with other prevention strategies, such as protective clothing, repellents, and frequent tick checks, the risk of a tick bite may occur. be reduced, ”Dill said.
And, of course, Lubelczyk said never to use duct tape to remove a tick, as the imprecise shot could leave parts of the tick’s body behind.
“There are many great tick removal tools on the market,” Lubelczyk said. “If you don’t have access to a very fine pair of tweezers, a lot of tick spoons work just fine.”