While ticks have been common in southern climates, they are still fairly new to those of us in Ontario. I’ve always been a bit worried about them but, until this year, ticks simply haven’t been a huge problem. At the beginning of March, that changed.
One night I was playing with Zeda and noticed something on her head. It was like a giant disgusting pimple that wiggled back and forth when I touched it; I just wanted to squeeze it but I thought I would end up with blood everywhere. Then I imagined some tiny creature with appendages everywhere slowly crawling out and I screamed for my husband.
“Dave, there is something gross on Zeda’s head! I don’t know what it is but she needs to see a vet tomorrow!”
Dave didn’t even look. He simply trusted my panicked tone and took her in the next morning. To our surprise, Zeda won the first tick of the year award, a fully engorged tick – at the beginning of March, in Ontario. This was unheard of. Now it was an unseasonably warm winter but even our vet was surprised. He removed the tick, bagged it to send it away for testing, and gave us Zeda’s tick meds. I knew that we would have to do something more to be proactive about preventing ticks this summer.
My boys are old enough that they can handle manufactured sprays which contain Deet, but those contain chemicals. My oldest, who is often on the soccer field at night, complains that everyone pulls out bug spray after dark; he can see a haze over the soccer field and it is hard to breathe. So, once in a while, something like Muskoil is okay, but I thought it wise to try a bug/tick spray that was more natural.
So I went back to Dr. Google, who gave me a recipe for a natural repellent last summer. All I could remember was it had water, vinegar and essential oils. After some searching, I found it and started concocting what my boys call “Mom’s Witches’ Brew.” All I have to do is mix up the following ingredients in a bottle.
Mom’s Witches Brew:
2 cups of vinegar (Yes, this sounds like a lot but the scents from the Essential Oils cover the smell of vinegar.)
1 cup of water
Essential Oils (I use DoTerra brand): 10-15 drops of Peppermint, 10-15 drops of Eucalyptus, 7-10 drops of Lavendar. (There are other EO’s that are recommended, such as Lemongrass and Geranium, and I am going to try those in my next batch.)
I make a new mixture every two weeks and keep it in a spray bottle. Zeda gets sprayed every morning (this is in addition to her monthly tick meds), I spray my shoes when I head out for a run and everywhere else if I am heading into the trails. Even my boys don’t complain, but if left to their own devices (like on a recent school overnight trip in a wooded area), they prefer Muskoil.
This is really quick and easy to make. I may get laughed at by the men-folk at home when I brew my magic potion, but it is doing its job of keeping us safe.