How to deal with ticks

As we have warmer winters and more humid weather, ticks are thriving. As they thrive, so the instances of tick borne disease increases; first and foremost of these is Lyme disease. Anthony Stodart, ArdMoor’s MD, gives some handy tips on how best to avoid contracting it this season.

Ticks are small blood sucking arthropods related to spiders, mites and scorpions. There are three stages in a tick’s life-cycle: Larva, nymph and adult. To the naked eye the larvae look like specks of soot, while nymphs are slightly larger like a pinhead or poppy seed size. With their eight legs, adult ticks resemble small spiders.

Ticks are around all year but they are most active between March and October when the weather is warmer. As a blood-sucking parasite, they tend to be found in areas of overgrown vegetation and long grass where they have access to animals to feed on and they can carry a variety of diseases with them which can be highly infectious.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease and can lead to a debilitating condition which, if not treated properly, can affect you for life. In extreme cases, it affects your nervous and digestive systems, causes extreme tiredness and chronic muscle pain. Like any disease the quicker you treat it, the better the chance of a full and speedy recovery but the best way to treat it is not to catch it in the first place.

Ticks don’t jump or fly but latch onto your clothes or skin if you brush against something they are on. They then crawl up your clothes or skin until they find somewhere warm and, better still, moist when they will bite into the skin and feed on your blood.

Some of the best ways of avoiding Lyme disease are;
  • Wear long sleeved tops & tuck your trousers into your socks or wear gaiters to reduce skin exposure and to keep ticks away from your skin.
  • When out and about, try to avoid long grass, bracken etc as that is where the ticks are waiting. You won’t pick them up walking on a path.
  • When traveling to a high-risk tick area, wear pre-treated anti-tick protective clothing (see below).
  • If you know you are going to a tick prone area then wear an insect repellent with Deet in it. It doesn’t have to be high concentration Deet but the lower the concentration, the more frequently you should apply it.
  • Shower after your day out and check yourself, family & pets from head to toe including your head, back of the knees, armpits, groin and waistband. It takes time for the disease carried in a tick’s stomach to travel up to its mouth and thereby into your blood, so making sure that you get rid of them promptly is key.
  • Checking your pets is especially important as they will be much more prone to picking ticks up and, if they aren’t got rid of, then they can latch on to furniture and then onto you.
  • Wash your clothes. Just when you think you have got rid of any ticks from your body, you get back into the same trousers the next day and all the ticks that have overnighted on them can get tucked straight into a hearty breakfast. Worse still it won’t be until you undress at the end of the day that you realise your mistake.

If, despite the above, you find a tick lunching on you, your child, or a pet do not squeeze it or give it the shock treatment by using lighter fluid, alcohol, a lit cigarette or the like as those can cause the tick to regurgitate the contents of its stomach as it dies which can only make matters worse. Instead use tweezers or a tick removal tool/card to steadily pull the tick away from your skin without twisting it or squeezing it. That ensures you get all of it off you without leaving part of its head or mouth attached. Once removed, clean the area with soap and water and apply some antiseptic.

If a tick bite becomes inflamed or surrounded by a ring of red skin (like a bullseye) then there is every chance that you have picked up a problem so you need to get yourself straight to a GP and get some heavy duty antibiotics. The earlier it is treated the better the chance of a full recovery, so get seen. Having said that, the bullseye doesn’t always occur so if you feel at all under the weather for anything up to 3-4 weeks after the bite, then don’t just assume that it is a cold/flu – the early symptoms of Lyme are similar – if in doubt see your GP and make sure to mention that you have had a tick bite.

At ArdMoor we take the issue with ticks very seriously and have chosen a selection of anti-tick clothes and accessories that will help protect you and your family allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors.

If you would like any further information about any of products please do not hesitate to pick up the phone or email us at

Please find below useful links for you to follow if you would like any further information about ticks & Lyme Disease:

NHS Lyme Disease information
Lyme Disease Action – About Ticks

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