Summer is high-time for ticks and it’s more important now than ever before to make sure you and your loved ones aren’t subjected to the illnesses they can carry. Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease have more than doubled in the last decade and numbers are continuing to skyrocket. In fact, as of 2019, it is estimated that over 300,000 new annual cases of Lyme disease have been diagnosed compared to 30,000 cases annually just five years ago.
To say that Lyme disease has become an epidemic is a bit of an understatement.
Granted, much of this may be due to more advanced diagnostic tools, but it’s still a staggering statistic.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an infection that is caused by a bacteria called borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is carried and passed by black-legged ticks, aka deer ticks, that presents itself (though not always) as a butterfly or bull’s eye rash following a bite.
- Arthritis (developed in approx. 30% of people with Lyme disease)
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, aches, fatigue, etc. shortly after being bitten
- Inhibited cellular function
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Mood swings
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Poor sleep
- Systemic bacterial infections
- Trouble concentrating
- Weakened immunity
If Lyme disease isn’t treated early, it can cause permanent damage and a multitude of complications later in life. The problem is, Lyme disease is still difficult to diagnose and even trickier to treat since people react so differently to the disease.
So, how can we help prevent Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases from evening happening?
The Best Essential Oils for Ticks
Prevention is the best tactic when it comes to any tick-borne disease and essential oils help fit the bill.
The reason prevention is key in this instance is because ticks are notoriously difficult to locate on the body. In fact, Lyme disease is often passed by immature ticks (called nymphs) that are roughly the size of a poppyseed.
Bites from ticks so small are often completely unnoticeable and allow the tick to feed for hours or even days without notice. The longer they’re attached, the more likely an infected tick can transmit tick-borne diseases to its host.
Applying an effective concoction of essential oils to your body, clothing, and gear is one of the best ways to help repel ticks and protect yourself from the diseases they can carry.
Some of the best essential oils for ticks include:
If you don’t have any of these oils, then consider the following in a pinch:
These essential oils, particularly geranium, have been shown to deter ticks and help prevent them from wanting to bite.
Tick Repellent Essential Oil Recipe
The following makes a 5% dilution in an easy to carry 1oz size that you can take with you outdoors.
To make it, you will need:
Add the ingredients to the spray bottle, shake well, and spray onto exposed skin, shoes, socks, clothing, etc. before you set outdoors. Reapply often if you’re in tick territory.
Geranium essential oil is, by far, the best essential oil for repelling ticks due to its high content of geraniol and citronellol. If nothing else, using just this essential oil as your deterrent can help repel up to 90 percent of ticks.
Washing all of the clothes you wore while outdoors and showering right after is also an effective way to prevent bites and is highly recommended.
It’s important to comb over your entire body carefully (have others help with your scalp if possible) to check for any hitchhikers you may have missed.
What have been your favorite tick repellent essential oils? Please share in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Benelli, Giovanni, and Roman Pavela. “Repellence of essential oils and selected compounds against ticks—A systematic review.” Acta tropica 179 (2018): 47-54.
Carroll, John F., et al. “Essential oils of Cupressus funebris, Juniperus communis, and J. chinensis (Cupressaceae) as repellents against ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) and mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and as toxicants against mosquitoes.” Journal of Vector Ecology 36.2 (2011): 258-268.
Coskun, Sevki, et al. “Acaricidal efficacy of Origanum onites L. essential oil against Rhipicephalus turanicus (Ixodidae).” Parasitology research 103.2 (2008): 259-261.
Iori, A., et al. “Acaricidal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree oil) against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus.” Veterinary Parasitology 129.1-2 (2005): 173-176.