Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease are a real health threat, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from tick bites.
Lyme disease is spread through deer ticks (aka blacklegged ticks) infected with Borrelia burgdorferi.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are specific endemic areas in the U.S. where most infections occur: (1)
- From northeastern Virginia to Maine
- Northcentral states like Wisconsin and Minnesota
- West coast mainly northern California
If you suspect you’ve been bitten by an infected tick or have developed a ring-like rash in the bite area and are experiencing fever, chills, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle or joint pain contact your healthcare provider immediately.
If you think you might have a tick infestation on your property and live in the above-mentioned areas contact your local pest control.
There are several chemical-based effective tick repellent products and lotions available, though many of them contain potentially harsh or harmful substances such as DEET and para-menthane-diol (PMD).
Serious side effects of using chemical-based repellents long-term can include slurred speech, seizures, upset stomach, vomiting, nausea, rash, redness, or swelling.
If you’re looking to try natural ways and home remedies to serve as tick control, then high-quality essential oils may be a good option.
Essential Oils As A Natural Insect Repellent
Essential oils (EOs) are highly concentrated plant extracts that are believed to promote health and well-being when used correctly.
They contain active compounds that offer antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
This makes EOs useful not just for health and skincare, but also for accelerating the healing of wounds and bug bites, and even tick and mosquito repellent.
The Best Essential Oils for Ticks
These are the most effective essential oils for ticks:
- Citronella oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for babies 6+ months)
- Peppermint oil (not suitable for pregnant or nursing mamas, not suitable for children under 6 years old)
- Lemon eucalyptus oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for children over 6 years old)
- Tea tree oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for babies 6+ months)
- Lavender oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for babies 3+ months)
- Lemongrass oil (not suitable for pregnant or nursing mamas, not suitable for children under 2 years old)
- Geranium oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for babies 6+ months)
- Cedarwood oil (safe for pregnant and nursing mamas and for children over 6 years old)
Research shows that mixing EOs together can enhance their potency.
An article published in Ticks & Tick-Borne Diseases found that a blend of essential oils including thyme, citronella, lavender, peppermint, and clove bud showed 91% tick repellency than individual essential oils. (2)
When used mindfully and with care, EOs offer little to no side effects.
You want to make sure you’re using 100% pure essential oil that is undiluted and certified organic.
This ensures the highest potency for repelling ticks and can also protect you against potentially harmful chemicals and solvents.
While there are many different product options available on Amazon, make sure you choose wisely.
Use the repellent spray recipe below and be careful not to apply the solution to your eyes or face.
Some essential oils aren’t safe for pregnant or nursing mamas and children and babies.
Double-check every essential oil you’ll use if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, and before applying to babies and small children.
If you’re going to use EOs topically always be sure to dilute them with a carrier oil like coconut oil.
Stick to 2-3 drops of EO per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.
A DIY Pregnancy & Kid Safe Homemade Tick & Bug Spray Recipe
Use this repellent spray as needed and spray it onto your clothes if you’re going to be out hiking or in areas where you might expose yourself to ticks.
It’s safe for babies over six months of age.
- 10 drops citronella essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 5 drops geranium essential oil
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon witch hazel
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Fill a small dark glass spray bottle with water
Mix everything together in the bottle and shake, shake, shake.
Use as needed.
Be careful not to spray your eyes or face.