Dealing with Ticks!

I originally posted this in the spring of 2012, however, after some negative comments and emails, I decided to take the post down. However, I have decided to make it live again. I used this method for treating my clothes last year, and it worked just as well as any of the other treatments I have used, and I am happy with mixing my own mixture for treating my clothes. 

So, this post is about how I choose to treat my clothes. I am not telling anyone else to go out and do the same thing. As well, if you do decide to do this, I accept no responsibility for what may come of it. As well, if you don’t like my method presented here, please do not tell me about it, just go on with what you were doing before you came across this post. I will moderate all comments, and if I don’t feel like your comment adds to this post then I will happily delete it.

So, on with it…

I hate ticks! And now is the time of year that it has become impossible for me to go for a hike without attracting clusters of these little arachnids! And as most of us already know, these little guys are no joke! They can spread around diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (to name a couple) as well as a number of other illnesses. To make matters worse, a single tick can also carry more than 1 disease, so it is possible for them to transfer more than 1 disease from a single bite…

Ticks can usually be found hanging out on the tips of grass or shrubs in grassy, or overgrown areas (such as a trail that is grown over, or that nice grassy spot that the tent was set up on the night before…) They will wait for a host (animal or human) to brush through these areas, at which time the tick will let go of the growth and then cling to them. Since ticks do not jump or fly, they simply crawl around the host until they find a nice feeding area…

The problem is that a tick bite typically is not felt, which makes it hard to know that a tick is even on you. I have read that it usually takes between 24 – 48 hours for the tick to attach itself, feed and then to potentially transfer any diseases into the host. For this reason, a daily tick check should be a very important routine while in the backcountry. To do this thoroughly though, either a mirror or a partner is necessary to visualize those hard-to-reach areas…

If a tick is found crawling around on either you or your clothing, then simply picking it off and disposing of it is all that is required. However, if the tick has already attached itself to its host (you), then proper removal is necessary so that all of the tick is removed. One can do this by using tweezers and grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and then firmly pulling straight back without jerking or twisting. (The tick needs to removed whole.) Alternately, there are tick removal devices available too. Also, be sure to wash hands well after removing ticks.

So, prevention and/or quick removal is key to preventing tick-borne illnesses. There are a number of things that one can do to help reduce the chances of coming across a tick encounter, but as mentioned above, a daily body check should be done each day while on the trail. Here are some other tips for limiting tick encounters:

  • Wear long sleeves/pants. This reduces the amount of exposed skin.
  • Tuck pants cuffs into socks. This creates a barrier between the tick and your skin.
  • Walk in the center of the trail. This way overgrowth is less likely to brush against you.
  • Apply a chemical treatment to your clothing before hiking. This will kill or deter ticks.

Which is where this post comes in at…

Deet is a typical “bug spray” that comes in different strengths. However, even though Deet can do fairly well at repelling mosquitoes and other annoying insects, it only does a little to actually deter ticks. On the other hand, Permethrin is a bit more toxic to ticks…actually, it is fatal to ticks! Permethrin is applied to clothing via a spray or a soak. After saturating the article of clothing with Permethrin it must be allowed to dry completely, at which time, the chemical is then semi-permanently bonded to the clothing. Once dry after the initial treatment, the Permethrin treated clothing is not harmful to humans to handle or wear. However, once a tick comes into contact with this chemically treated garment the chemical will attach itself to the tick and soon after will kill the tick!

After spending my share of money on the premixed Permethrin solutions that are readily available, I decided that I wanted to order some Permethrin in a concentrated bulk, dilute it myself and save some money! So, after talking with one of my friends that has been diluting his own himself, I placed an order for my very own 36.8% Permethrin

The quart size bottle of 36.8% Permethrin cost me $31.95 total. This means that each oz cost me almost $1. I am diluting 2 oz of this Permethrin in 1 gallon of water which should still give me a higher concentration than what is typically sold in the premixed solutions. So, at just under $2/gallon, this ready-to-use, high concentrated Permethrin has easily saved me some money here!

I mixed the solution in a 5 gallon bucket to give me plenty of room to keep from splashing the mixture out. Once this was done, I followed the same rules that I used when using the Sawyer Permethrin Soak Treatment Kit. I rolled my clothing and secured each piece with a rubber band. Then I simply shoved them into the bucket and let them soak in the solution for 1 hour. After the hour was up, I removed each piece one at a time, wrung as much of the solution out and then hung them up on a clothes line to let them air dry for the remainder of the day.

Today I treated 9 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, 1 visor and 1 hat…and still had plenty left over…

As I said, I mixed 1 gallon of this diluted solution which easily treated all of the above articles of clothing. (I actually could have easily done the same amount again.) Once I was done soaking the clothes though I did not just pour the rest down the sink…

My friend recommended me to pour the remaining amount of solution into a spray bottle which I could then use to “freshen” up key areas on the clothing (such as hems and collars) before I head out on each trip. Of course though, considering the strength of the solution, I do not need to completely saturate the clothing again each time, but rather just a spray or two to liven it up a little. (There is no reason I want to take it easy on these little guys…I want them all dead!)

So, now me, my son and my nephew are all set-to-go with some killer hiking clothing! We look forward to taking these lethal garments out this summer for lots of fun and hot summer time hiking!

Here is a video that my son helped me make today when I was mixing the Permethrin:

Thanks for reading!

~Stick~

Disclaimer: I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to using or diluting the chemical Permethrin. The dilution ratios above are something that my buddy has used and I have decided to use as well. I do not hold my buddy responsible for anything that may or may not go wrong when I use this solution, nor do I accept any responsibility should anyone else decide to do the same.  If anyone has any questions or plan to use this chemical I suggest them to consult with a specialist, as well as to read any information that comes with the chemical.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
This entry was posted in Clothes, DIY/MYOG, Hats/Beanies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Dealing with Ticks!

  1. Duane says:

    Planning a trip to Uganda with the whole family in a month or so. I am planning to treat most of the clothing that we take with us. Thanks for the great info. Keeping those malaria and yellow fever carrying Mosquitos off of us is very important. I was planning on buying us each one “bug shield” piece of clothing to wear in mornings and evenings to help avoid mosquitoes but the cost was about $40 or more per item. For $30 I will be able to treat all our clothing and have some left over for backpacking trips in the future. Thanks
    PS. A shameless plug for darn tough socks. If you haven’t tried them you must. I have put over 1000 miles on a pair of darn tough socks that I bought USED at the wright Patterson Air Force base thrift shop for 80 cents. I have since bought several pairs of new darn tough socks and they have become the only socks I wear.

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  2. Connie says:

    I do ask, if it is “high season” for ticks.
    If so, I get on the water instead.
    For hiking, I wear shortie stretch gaiters over ankle zip nylon stretch pants made for bicycling.
    The bicycling long pants are either cool or warm and are reasonably wind and rain resistant, however, the close fitting at ankles with ankle zips really helps keep off ticks.
    I also avoid laying down or sitting on the ground, without something between me and the ground.
    I also avoid knocking against brush or branches.
    I carry the large and small O’Tom tick removal device: both are plastic.

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  3. mavanderpol says:

    Thanks for the info, Stick. Over the weekend I sprayed a bunch of clothes that we are taking with us on a family trip to Alaska.

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  4. Pete says:

    Hey Stick,

    Are you still using this method, and if so how well does it work with ticks and mosquitoes?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Pete,

      Yes I do and it works great. No issues with ticks and I don’t really have issues with skeeters up in the mountains anyway…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  5. theosus1 says:

    Good article. I have considered using 38% permethrin to treat my clothes as well. I always have a bottle of “hi yield” around. As I understand it, permethrin is made from chrysanthemums or something, and is one of the most human friendly concoctions out there. I spray it around the baseboards and foundation of the house every year, to prevent ants coming in. I also spray bushes and shrubs (non edibles) around the house with it, as mosquitos and gnats like to hang out there, particularly around dusk.
    After getting one tick on me this year just at a picnic pavilion at the GSMNP (not even going in the woods!), I’m convinced this stuff is the way to go. I’m going to try it on a few older things and some scrap cloth before doing my “good stuff”.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Sounds great! I have been happy with this method for the last couple of years now… and it’s nice not having to purchase a few bottles each year to retreat my clothes…

      ~Stick~

      Like

  6. klaus says:

    I have had the same concern about the warning “Permethrine SFR is a different formulation and should not be used on clothing at any circumstances”. That is, until I thought about it. They say the SFR can be used on the skin of dogs and just about any other farm animal, except cats. So washing clothes with it and wearing the dry clothes does not sound radical at all. Sounds like a statement written by their lawyers. Personally, I am entirely unconcerned.

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  7. Can you comment on the fact that they say their product isn’t for use on clothing? I recently treated my work clothes now I’m left losing sleep at night if I made a mistake.

    Q: I bought Permethrin SFR and have been using it to treat my outdoor work clothes. You have stated elsewhere that this product is not labeled for use on clothing, but I see products on Amazon (such as Sawyers) that use permethrin for this purpose so I wondered if the SFR designation relates to the use.

    A: Permethrin SFR is a different formulation than the products that are labeled for use on clothing and it should not be used to treat clothing under any circumstances.

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    • Stick says:

      Michael,

      The best answer I can give is that they do not list this for use on clothing due to the fact that it is such a higher concentration. However, one can argue (and some do) that there are other additives. Honestly, I don’t know. The best I can tell you is that this is one of those things that you will have to decide for yourself.

      If you are concerned about it though, I would suggest throwing the articles of clothing in the wash for a few times. The permethrin should wear off after a few washes (depending on how strong the solution was when applied), and with time.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  8. Hi Stick,

    I always enjoy your blog and videos, especially as I am moving to the Asheville area of NC later this year.

    I don’t seem to have much luck with health issues, and I have just been diagnosed with Lyme Disease, and I can tel you that it is horrible, so this article is very timely. I am going to treat all my hiking clothing with Permethryn before I go on any further trips, so once again, thank you for the timely post.

    JimC

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  9. Loneoak says:

    Dealing with a tick bite now, no fun. Started meds this past Friday nite, most likely Lymes, Did blood work but it is not always conclusive.

    Like

  10. Jim Smith says:

    Hi Stick!
    Not sure if this has been covered or if I perused over it. What about fording rivers and creeks in treated clothing with the toxicity to fish? I have never used permethrin before but plan to this year.

    Ps. Hope to see you out on the Wonderland this year!

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jim,

      No, once the Permethrin has dried & bonded to the clothing it is safe to use. On the Sawyer Q&A page for the Permethrin treatments, this is what it has to say about this:

      3. Does permethrin kill fish?
      Permethrin is toxic to fish and should not be disposed of in waterways. The greatest danger to fish is from accidental spills of permethrin in quantity. Empty permethrin containers must be disposed of in a landfill. Residues from permethrin-treated clothing are not an environmental hazard since leaching of the chemical from fabric is negligible.

      To take that one step farther, here is this question:

      4. Does permethrin ever leave the environment?
      Permethrin breaks down quickly in the environment. The vapor phase reacts with sunlight to degrade the chemical within a few hours. If released to soil, permethrin is expected to have no mobility. Some will be broken down quickly as a vapor, while the remaining chemical will be absorbed by the soil and biodegraded in less than four weeks. If released into moving water, permethrin is expected to absorb to suspended solids and sediments. Degradation would occur within a few days.

      Here is the link for more Q&A:

      Permethrin Q&A

      I will also say that I am not using the Sawyer Pemethrin, but instead diluting it down from a higher concentrated solution, the same as is done with the Soak version that Sawyer sells.

      Also, interestingly enough, Permethrin is also used in other ways. It is also used to dip dogs in for fleas and ticks, as well as a cream for treating Scabies or chiggers… As well, according to the article, it can even be used to spray hotel beds down upon arrival, allow to dry, then throw a sheet over it. This is said to help protect against bed bugs…

      Hope this helps some.

      ~Stick~

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  11. Matt says:

    How long does the treatment last in your clothing? Would you say treating once a year this way is sufficient?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Matt,

      While I have no way of measuring this for sure, I plan to treat them like this once a year. Although, I feel like this treatment actually last longer, but just to be sure…I will retreat them. At this price point though, I can treat all my hiking clothes like this for 16 years for only $32…

      Also, as I mentioned, I did rebottle the left overs and will lightly spray my clothes before each hike…jsut to “freshen them up”…

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Matt says:

      Ok, thanks for the note. Somehow I was thinking you posted this a year ago, but now I see this is just a month old. I have a quart coming, and guess I’ll get my own data. Thanks for posting this thread, it is great intro “how to”

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  12. Brows says:

    Well guys I apologize if this has already been brought up, but the one good thing about ticks is that they generally don’t occur above snow line. We don’t get them above 3-4 thousand feet here in Northern California. We also don’t get that other bane of the hikers existence, Poison Oak, above snow line. I believe you guys have Poison Ivy back east, but Poison Oak is similar and very common here at lower altitudes.

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    • Stick says:

      Brows,

      I will admit, it seems like I too see less of them when I go to the Smokies than I do here near my home, at about 500 ft elevation. Then again, maybe it is because when I go hiking I am wearing my treated clothing, and at home I don’t wear them…

      Also, I am happy to say that I have never had any issues with poison ivy or oak! Yeah me… 🙂

      ~Stick~

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  13. ConnieD says:

    OTOM is effective for tick removal.
    Their website explains it’s use. They also have video.
    I have both the large and small OTOM for large or small ticks.
    I wear long loose-fit bicycle pants and long-sleeved shirts for hiking.

    Like

  14. Max Dashu says:

    Alternative to permethrins: Greenbug or Cedarcide, green insecticide based on cedar oil, which kills ticks, bedbugs, all kinds of nasties. Safe to rub on your skin, a big plus because the nymph ticks are not always visible, something a lot of people miss. Also can be applied to animals. Only kills while wet however, as far as i know. Personally my post hike protocol is a bath and loofa scrub, because i have had Lyme disease and am not messing around about this. But now a wipedown with Greenbug is another option.

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Max for the alternatives. My only thing with this is that I really hate rubbing anything onto my skin. This is obviously a personal decision, but I hate applying anything if I can do without it. That is just more junk for me to either wash off later, or to soak into my gear/clothes/sleeping bag.

      I like and agree, and even practice your post hike protocol! I love a good scrubbing after being out in the woods, if even only for a day.

      Thanks for commenting!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  15. Judith Gustafson says:

    In 2007, I hiked from I-15 to Hwy 2 in the San Gabriels, in May. I had soaked my hiking clothes in Permethrin, much as Stick describes above. I stopped partway up the 16 miles of switchbacks to Acorn Trail, and took a break, sitting on the ground with my knees drawn slightly up. I saw a tick start up my pants leg from about my hip. She ambled up and up and up at a slow pace, and had just about reached my knee when she stopped … for a long time … and then curled up and rolled off my leg. Oh yeah. That was delightful.

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  16. I wasn’t aware Permethrin was available in bulk, good to know. I’ve treated my cloths with it in the past and have found it to be very effective against ticks and other insects that bite through clothing. I just bought Sawyers Permethrin soak online and will be treating my clothes later this month in preparation for my next AT section hike. As far as using chemicals or not, and speaking from experience, I’ve had Lyme and don’t ever want it again.

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    • Stick says:

      Jermm,

      I knew it was available, but not locally. So, I continued to buy the Sawyer stuff, which is great stuff as far as I am concerned, but as with most anything else, by buying in bulk, it is cheaper.

      Anyway, have fun on your next hike. Also, if you are interested, a few of us are getting together in July for an AT section hike. I think Joslyn said she may have mentioned it to you?

      ~Stick~

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    • Stick- thanks for the invite, yes Joslyn told me about it, but I’m leaving before y’all do and won’t be back until after you return. That’s a nice section you’re planning to hike, looking forward to reading your TR. The climb out of the NOC is, is, is…umm fun…umm something else, umm you’ll see. 😮

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    • Stick says:

      Jermm,

      No problem man. Maybe another time!

      And yes, I know the climb out of the NOC… My buddy Gizmo Joe and I did this a couple of months ago. Our plan was to finish at Fontana, but the couple we met at NOC and was hiking with us didn’t make it so far…so we turned back and went looking for them the next day since they never made it to the top…

      I was pretty happy with it though. I walked across the rail road tracks at 1:02 in the afternoon and was at the shelter at 5:02, so I was happy with my 4 hour hike up… 🙂

      Although, this next time will be interesting since I will probably still be sore from our hike coming up… 🙂

      Anyway, have a great hike man!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  17. jessesleeper says:

    So have you been able to test out the clothes yet? How effective has it been? I picked up some of the solution and was wondering what you thought the benefit of rolling the clothes up verses just tossing them in the solution to soak?

    Thanks from MA,
    Jesse

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    • Stick says:

      Jesse,

      I wore them on an overnight hike up to Mt. LeConte a couple weeks ago. I can’t say if the clothes just worked, or if we got lucky and there weren’t many ticks around. As far as I know though, no one came across any. So, it is hard to say, but I am still happy I did it!

      As far as rolling vs stuffing, I feel like I can organize them a little better and get an article or 2 more of clothing in the solution. Also, iirc, this is what the instructions that come with the Sawyer Soak says to do…I can’t see how one is right and the other wrong though…

      Thanks for stopping,

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Jesse says:

      Yeah, it would be tough to gauge the effects on ticks without actually seeing any in masses. I was talking more about the skeeters and such as it is also a gaurd agains them too. Like you, I have use Sawyer (spray version) with success but the price was awfully steep. Just wondering if your dipping process kept the the flying insects at bay or is it too early in the season for ya? We are in the throws of black fly season up north and skeeters have begun.

      Love to come down and crash one of your hikes some day. Mabey even secion hike with you when you get up north.

      Thanks for taking the time,
      Jesse

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Jesse,

      I can’t say that I had a problem with skeeters yet either. I will admit that they are much worse here at my home though, than 6 hours away and 6,000 feet higher!

      I like the dipping better than the spraying because I feel like I got a better coating with the permethrin. Although, I would suggest to check out Marco’s comments here on this post. He has some good info concerning percentages and how well it “sticks” to different materials.

      And if you are ever planing to come this way, just let me know. Maybe I will have a hike planned around that time… 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  18. Dianne Cardenas says:

    This was so timely! Just went for an 18 mile day hike yesterday. The ticks were horrible! I had my dog with me, & between us, I must have picked off 50 or more of those disgusting things. I plan to purchase Permethrin as soon as possible & before I go for another hike. Thanks for your article & the info.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Dianne,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! And I am glad that the article has helped you some. Like I mentioned, I spent a fair share of $$ on the premixed Permethrin treatments in the past, but wanted to express the money savings of buying in bulk in this article.

      Good luck, and be safe!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  19. Marco says:

    Any left over Permethrin should NEVER be dumped down a drain. It is highly toxic to most insects, fish, etc. and is NOT removed by treatment plants. It doesn’t effect mammals that much…I would need to eat a lot to have it harm me. Excess *can* be denatured in a shallow pan in strong sunlight for several hours. It bonds to anything that “wets” by typical loose bonds…or hydrogen bonds. A small amount will be losened every time your clothing gets wet or it is washed, soo, it will last 10-50 launderings, depending on the material. Nylon works real well, PU works fairly poorly. Wool works fair. Cotton works excelent. Felt works real well. Most PET clothing, made from recycled bottles, works poorly. It will wash out quickly, and I do not recommend treating fleece for this reason…it will leach onto your skin and into your body. It is very “dye like” in behavior and be supplanted by a stronger dye. Example: Rit BLACK over permethrin treated cloths. Both compete for the same bonding sites with the stronger usually winning. Like dye, a slightly acid solution (salt or a teaspoon of vinegar) will enhance takeup by most materials.

    Cats and some small rodents are also effected by the poison. Wetting dried permethin dust will not usually cause big problems, but it depends on the nature of the dust…some is highly attractive to permethrin, some is not. Again, it goes back to how strong the bond is and how many.

    Always use caution with ANY poison.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Marco,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      I would like to point out that I stated that I would not pour the remaining mixture down the drain, but thank you for pointing out some of the consequences of doing so. I also appreciate the info on how it bonds with different types of materials. Good information. Thanks.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Marco says:

      Stick, I should also point out that RID, a common lice treatment for humans, is mostly permethrin, well, at least it used to be 20 years ago. In some states, high percentage concentrations of permethrin are not allowed to be retailed. Untill the Lyme Disease epidemic, it was NOT approved for human use except by prescription, in NY. The DDT fiasco really hit hard and only today are we seeing birds recovering from it. Low concentrations can be had, however, usually as ant, wasp and other pest killers as spray or dust(mixed with chalk dust or similar.) In some of the farm stores, you can get a 10% solution if you sign for it. Many cloths will only attach at about a .5-2% rate. So, dipping in more than a 5% solution probably just leads to faster leaching out when it gets wet, it isn’t bonded to the fabric. I have been using it for a while on camp cloths, An older gent (a Viet Nam vet) told me about from back in 1969-70 or so.

      I agree with Jim. Anyone who uses it needs to make his own decision based on bug deterence (and their diseases), poison exposure and environmental damage. Note that once it is on your cloths, dried and rinsed again, it will not leach out that rapidly…a half life of about 20 washings. It will deter mosquitoes and ticks. It will kill black-flies. The initial rinse should NOT be done in your washing machine. Again, this is similar to drain dumping. Rinsing your shirt out in a stream will NOT kill anything in the stream *after* a good rinsing. One methode for rinsing is to use your 5 gallon bucket again, and “spilling” grey water on your driveway on a sunny day. Using it means an obligation to accept responsibility for leftovers, too. UV (sunlight) will break it down, though I don’t remember the frequency, off hand. The LD50 for insects is very low, so use extreme caution untill your cloths are well rinsed. Fish need bugs to live. Thanks, Stick!

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Marco,

      I totally agree, one should make their own decisions as to whether or not they want to use this or not. As well, thanks for the very informative comment! I appreciate it.

      So, what kind of solution do you use to treat your clothes? Premixed? Do you mix your own? And if so, what kind of dilutions do you use?

      Also, as I mentioned in the video, I poured the remaining mixture into a spray bottle. I have used it around the house in some places but I will also hit up my clothing again before heading out. Just a light spray though. Nothing heavy.

      Thanks again,

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • Marco says:

      Generally, I use a 2.5% solution of some kind of ant killer. I lightly dampen my cloths with it in a 5gal bucket. Then I add enough water to let it stand for about a half hour. As I said a teaspoon of salt will help a little…depends on the fabric. Then I wring it out and hang it to dry. For sinsing I add about a gallon of water and swish my cloths around in it. Then hang them to dry, again. Excess is distributed on my driveway (I have a gravel driveway) so it is fairly well soaked in, killing ants, grubs, and other stuff I do NOT want, iff there is any left.

      Note that with the powders, it taks a couple rinsings to clean the chalk off. The concentration of permethrin in solution will be much reduced when using it. As it bonds to the fabric, it leaves the solution. It is possible to build up a good coating by double doing a piece of clothing with more permethrin powder. Many times I can only get .25% dust. So I add about a full cup. This makes the cloths pretty chalky once it is applied and dried. It works, anyway.
      .

      Like

    • Stick says:

      Thanks again Marco. I will keep this in mind for when I mix my next batch.

      Like

  20. As a small animal doctor with immense respect for permethrin, really appreciate the intelligent comments. I was stupidly careless on a hike in Arkansas a number of years ago and managed to pick up Lyme Disease. Luckily, I recognized the symptoms within 48 hours and responded immediately to Doxycycline. This suggests to me the possibility that Doxycycline 100 mg should perhaps, be part of a long hiker’s emergency first aid kit.
    Permethrin, as has been pointed out, is deadly for cats. It has bee approved for use on dogs and is considered the BEST defense against ticks on dogs…….I am totally unaware of testing done on people and I’m unclear whether the permethrin or the ticks are more of a concern for us.(I urge you to read this, especially the risk to humans part: http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/permethrin_fs.htmI )
    24 to 48 hours is probably TOO long. By the time a tick has taken its blood meal, which may be 4 hours, it is too late. The bacteria are IN the victim. Ticks also are uniquely “blessed” with chemicals that assist the bacteria (Borellia, in the case of Lyme, Rickettsia rickettsii, in the case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. See Wiki for five common diseases carried by ticks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tick-borne_disease.
    I’m going to be clear: I’m not comfortable soaking my clothes in permethrin. Be careful.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Jim,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate the info.

      I have thought about getting some Doxy to have in my FAK but haven’t done so. I should probably see about getting some.

      Anyway, thanks for the links. I clicked on it earlier and got an error page, or missing info or something another, so I will poke around later and do some of the reading.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  21. John C says:

    Just wanted to mention, be careful with this stuff around cats. Several years ago there was a trail of the little black ants that we get in Northern California, running right through my living room. It was about 1/4 inch wide. I didn’t have any normal insect repellent, so I sprayed them with aerosol Permethrin instead. I think it was Sawyers. The next day my wife’s cat got very sick and almost died even though I kept the cat away from the stuff until it dried. I thought it would be safe for cats once it dried, boy was I wrong about that. The vet said it was from the Permethrin. Man, did I catch hell from my wife.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      Yes, this stuff is fatal to cats. I was sure to include that in my video and write up. I am surprised that it affected your cat once it was dry though. I am not 100% sure, but as I understand it, once the Permethrin dries it then became nontoxic.

      Sorry to hear that you caught some heat from your spouse… but glad to hear that it wasn’t fatal!

      I just treat my hiking clothes with it, and I only wear those clothes while hiking. The rest of the time they are put away in a Rubbermaid container.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • John C says:

      Hi Stick. It could have been that the cat somehow inhaled the fumes as I was spraying, but I was spraying downstairs and I keep the cat upstairs locked in a bedroom. I had the front door open and fans going to suck out the fumes. The Permethrin definitely did a job on the ants, killing them instantly, and they didn’t come back.

      I wouldn’t use that stuff in the house again, however. Anyway thanks for your article about Permethrin. I usually spray my clothes, as we have ticks here too, but your way is interesting and worth trying.

      My wife’s cat eventually died, but not from the Permethrin. It died from old age, as it was 22. She had it cremated and it’s in a little urn in the bedroom. I’m serious. Seems like overkill to me, so to speak.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      John,

      After I posted that last comment, I wondered about the inhaling part. I know that the fumes are strong, but not sure if that would be enough, especially with all the ventilation that it sounds like you had going on as well as the distance. Regardless, it is very clear that it should be used away from cats!

      Thanks again for sharing your experience with it.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  22. Lukabrazi says:

    Here are a couple of interesting things I read recently. The first link shows a map of high risk areas. Look at the map and then think about the AT… The second link talks about the lyme disease vaccine. It sounds to me like it’s within reach, it’s just not profitable.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/02/01/146211699/tick-tally-reveals-lyme-disease-risk

    http://news.discovery.com/human/lyme-disease-ticks-vaccine-110617.html

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I had read that the risks of Lyme Disease increased the farther north you went along the AT, but thanks for the map. And yeah, a vaccination would be awesome! Maybe eventually it will come around…

      Thanks for the info!

      ~Stick~

      Like

  23. ashes says:

    once dry are clothes then safe for kitties? or no contact ever whatsoever?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Ashes,

      As I understand it, once the clothing is dried after the initial treatment, everything is safe except for the ticks themselves. Like I mentioned, this is the same thing that other major companies do when bug-proofing their clothing and as far as I know, there is no instructions to keep cats away from those lines of clothes.

      Thanks for stopping,

      ~Stick~

      Like

  24. bennington200 says:

    An issue of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club newsletter a couple of months back cited the following source for another use of your extra Permethrin – treating cotton balls, which are then placed where mice will use them for nesting, killing ticks. One test on Long Island reported a 90% reduction in deer ticks from this activity.
    http://lymediseaseresource.com/wordpress/protect-your-home-from-lyme-treat-mice-with-cotton-balls/
    The article in the PATC newletter is found here, on page 5:
    http://www.patc.net/PublicView/Custom/Newsletter/PA-2012/March_2012.aspx

    Like

  25. Joanna Reichert Photography says:

    Very interesting, I’d never considered buying permethrin in bulk. I can’t even go walk to the mailbox half the time without getting a tick on me, they’re absolutely ridiculous this year! Also everyone please note – this stuff is very toxic to kitties. : )

    Like

    • Stick says:

      Very true Joanna! You will want to be sure to keep this away from the kitties. No matter if it is the concentrated stuff, or the diluted stuff… Permethrin is fatal to both cats and fish.

      Like

  26. Jim Henegar says:

    You need to sew that cute little girl (in the background) a little tick outfit. Let her crawl up on you in the next video and fake spray her, then she can roll over on her back and play dead…….LOL Great video buddy, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  27. beechcreekproject says:

    Great idea. Ticks are the biggest pain during spring/summer hiking around here in Oklahoma/Arkansas. I never thought about soaking clothes in a solution. I was curious what the result if the solution was washed onto your skin from rain or creek crossing? I see it’s safe when dry so I was wondering what happens if it’s made wet again from a outside source. Thanks for the info. I’ll be looking into doing up some of my hiking clothes as well. Good luck.

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I agree, they are a HUGE pain!

      And no, once the solution dries after the initial treatment, the clothing is fine from there on out. It does not matter if the clothing becomes wet again from sweating or from river crossings. The chemical will not be harmful to humans (although I wouldn’t recommend anyone to suck on their clothing… 🙂 ) This is simply replicating the same process that the companies do on their insect repellent clothing such as Ex Officios BugAway line or Columbia’s Bug Blocker or Insect Shield line.

      A few of the links in the post are linked back to the Sawyer stuff. You can find more information through those links if you would like.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • beechcreekproject says:

      Thanks for the info. Appreciate it and will definitely give it a try. Anything to combat ticks is a must. Take care and safe hiking.

      Like

    • dlk1100 says:

      very handy!

      but “anything to combat ticks is a must” seems to be the theme of this whole approach.

      personally, soaking clothes in chemicals is tremendously NOT an option for me. bug repellents in particular have a nasty history of mankind not really knowing what they do – but not letting it stop us from distributing it through the environment.

      i would much rather work with this constraint: if it’s high tick season, i dont go bushwhacking, maybe (gasp!) changing my plans to meet the environment.

      this article has no reflection on the larger question of whether we can afford, in the 21st century, to keep spraying ourselves down with the chemical of the moment.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      dlk1100,

      Thank you for expressing your preferences.

      I would also like to say that this “article” was not meant to answer any large questions. This “article” was merely me demonstrating how I choose to treat my clothing with this chemical.

      There are articles out there though that discuss these issues though, but not this one.

      Thanks for reading.

      ~Stick~

      Like

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