Monday, May 21, 2018


I can no longer be smug about Eaton Rapids being a tick-free haven.

After living here for twenty-five years and seeing one tick...we are now picking two of them off every day.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know.  That ain't nuthin' for many of you folks.  But is enough to make it difficult to fall asleep; "Dang, I feel an itch!!!!"  Throw off the bed covers, dash to the bathroom, turn on the light.... Sigh.  It was nothing. 

Back to bed.  Another itch....

Based on the patterns seen on their backs, I think they are "Dog Ticks", (Dermacentor variabilis).

a species of tick that is known to carry bacteria responsible for several diseases in humans, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia (Francisella tularensis)   -Wikipedia

Male on the left, female on the right.
The life-cycle of the ticks is heavily dependent on rodents and/or squirrels.  Since the State of Michigan frowns on my thinning out the deer herd out-of-season, the high leverage involves small mammals.

I suspect that my truce with the chipmunks contributed to the explosive growth in tick numbers.  I had been mellowing in my old age, sliding into a live-and-let-live outlook on life.

No more.  Rat traps deployed, I have already knocked out three of the local chipmunks.  This is a long term project.  The pipeline is full of ticks.  Many ticks have a two year life-cycle.  The chipmunks I am killing today will reduce the number of ticks next year and the year after.

Cutting the grass
I have also been lazy about cutting the grass and whacking back the tall, weedy stuff that edge the yards.  No more.  Steeled with resolve I mowed, mowed and mowed some more.  Glyphosate herbicide was applied to the tall weedy stuff where I cannot get the mower.

High hazard areas
I will also spray some insecticide in areas I suspect are very high hazard.  One example is the grass beneath the walnut tree that bore prodigious amounts of nuts last fall.  That patch of grass, just outside the dog kennel, was squirrel central this past fall, winter and spring.

I am not going to carpet bomb the great outdoors, but I will engage in surgical, tactical bombings targeting the enemy strongholds.


  1. Sulfur soap is how we handled ticks in Oklahoma. We started bathing 2 weeks before we went on vacation and while we were there. Another remedy was spreading sulfur powder under the trees but we were never there long enough to know if it was effective, but the locals swore by it.

  2. Keep chomping those fresh garlic cloves. The ticks won't bother you, but on the other hand, nothing else will, either.

  3. Guinea fowl LOVE ticks! Ducks are good on bugs. Chickens will eat bugs too, but most aren't as voracious about it as the guinea fowl.


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