The Tick War

I’ve written numerous times on my continuing battle with ticks.  Yes, I could put Frontline Plus on the dogs, but I am loathe to use chemicals on the dogs.  I have used Frontline in the past and the results have not been all that good.  My dogs still had living ticks on them within days after the application and within a week after application, I could see no difference.  As with all pesticides, Frontline appears to be no longer effective.  That’s probably why the new flea and tick drug, ProMeris, was developed.

Ticks on the dogs is bad enough.  Ticks in the house is a royal pain in the butt.  Both Wally and I have been taking high doses of vitamin B complex and garlic to make us less attractive to ticks (and other insects) and I’ve been giving the dogs several scrambled eggs, garlic and cheese (to disguise the garlic taste) meals a week.  I have not had any luck with alternative insect sprays for myself or the dogs.  It just sucks.

I’ve looked into alternatives to insecticides for the house and have completely struck out.  I did put some Sevin dust (a conventional insecticide) under furniture in an attempt to kill the ticks.  It worked okay, but Sevin dust doesn’t last long and after one of the cats started having frequent coughing spells, I decided to stop using Sevin.  The cats were still able to get under some of the furniture that I spread the Sevin dust under and I have strong suspicion it was the Sevin dust that caused the coughing.  Not long after I vacuumed it up, the coughing stopped.

Every day we go over the dogs and pull off ticks.  We had been putting them in a jar in the freezer and had accumulated quite a collection.  Any that we found in the house we’d either flush down the toilet or wash them down the sink.

While doing my research for alternative tick control, I ran across instructions on making a tick trap.  What you do is put dry ice in a styrofoam cooler, place the cooler on a heavy piece of cardboard covered with masking tape with the sticky side up, poke a three-quarter inch hole on all four sides of the cooler so the vapors from the dry ice seep out and then put the trap in an area where you know the ticks congregate.  The carbon dioxide from the dry ice attracts the ticks who crawl to it and get stuck on the masking tape.  Wally and I set up two tick traps on Friday night.  It worked quite well, but not completely as it should have.  We poked the holes too low in the cooler and they kept getting clogged up with foam from the dry ice.  It brought the ticks out though.  I was in there with the shop vac vacuuming up ticks while Wally used the regular vacuum cleaner.  We vacuumed about a dozen different times throughout the evening.  We must have vacuumed up at least a million ticks.  We dumped what we vacuumed out into the chicken and duck pasture for their dining pleasure.

It made a difference.  Before using the tick trap, we’d find dozens of ticks at a time, now it was down to just a few.  We’ll probably do it again this Friday, but we’ll plug the lower holes up and poke more higher up in the coolers so they won’t plug up.  Even after the dry ice had dissipated, ticks were still drawn to it and got stuck in the masking tape.  I’m very happy it worked because, as with using chemicals on the dogs, I was loathe to resort to a bomb (which probably wouldn’t work anyway) or hiring and exterminator (which I can’t afford).

On Sunday we stopped by Tractor Supply and saw that they had marked down two batches of chicks to $.50 each.  That is a great bargain given they were close to $2.00 each normal price.  I had the great idea that we buy a dozen chicks and put them in a swimming pool in the master bathroom where the biggest tick population resided.  The ticks would be attracted to the warmth from the light bulb we’d use to keep the chicks warm as well as the carbon dioxide they’d omit.  One of the best remedies for tick infestation is poultry, especially guinea fowl.  It’s even more satisfying to feed ticks to the chicks than it is to put them in the freezer.

Chickens are great fun to watch.  They are so industrious.  Chicks are no different.  Do you know that there’s very little odor from chicks if you feed them whole grain food rather than the recommended medicated powdered chick food?  Of course they can consume whole grains at their age.  If a hen raises up a brood of chicks, do the chicks eat anything different from what the hen eats?  Of course not.  That’s like feeding fallacy behind feeding kitten or puppy food.  In their wild state, once they are weaned, does a wild feline or canine eat anything different from their parents?  No.

Oh, and they eat the ticks with relish!!!!

The only problems with keeping chicks in the master bathroom is their noise when you are trying to sleep and keeping the cats and dogs out of there.  As expected, Fern about lost her mind when she discovered chicks in the bathroom (Fern loves to work birds) and this morning, Onyx got in there and grabbed a chick and was out the door with it before I could stop him.  I guess he decided that chicks were on the breakfast menu.  My guilt over that got my day started poorly.

Speaking of Fern, we brought her to visit Wally’s mother in an assisted living facility on Sunday.  She did really well there.  When we got there, Wally’s mother was crying because she was homesick.  She cheered right up when I asked Fern up on the bed near her.  Fern curled right up near her side and let her stroke her.  My dogs are only allowed on the furniture if I ask them up and whenever I leave the room, Fern is always trying to convince Wally that she should be allowed on the couch.  She was in her glory there being allowed on the bed and getting all the attention.  Fern was extremely gentle with Wally’s mother and when I took her around to see other residents, with them as well.  Maybe Fern found another calling.

When I lived in Boston and was breeding cats, I would frequently bring them to an assisted living center.  The residents loved it and it resulted in well socialized kittens and cats.  I might see if I can make it a point to make regular visits to this facility with Fern.  Gel is too big and rambunctious to go; and Kessie and Cian are quite reserved with strangers.

Sarah went to live with a local cattle farmer this weekend.  She’s there on a trial basis.  So far so good though.  I’m hoping she found a forever home where she can be useful.

We got peas and lettuce seedlings planted this weekend in the garden directly behind the house and got that fenced in with cattle panels.  Hopefully that will work out okay.  Still waiting on the lettuce from the cold frame to get big enough to harvest.  I hope to be better organized this fall and get lettuce and peas planted at the right time.  I’m afraid I planted these peas too late.  My reasoning for putting these crops behind the house was that I can easily mount shade cloth to protect them from the heat.  We’ll see how it goes.

Until later …

3 Replies to “The Tick War”

  1. Thank you for the dry ice tick trick! I have a small pond near my bedroom window, and while it keeps the area green,the ticks are nasty. I can’t do anything about the field ticks, but the pond ticks are in for trouble.

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