Yesterday I experienced a gardening first — one I could have happily lived without. I got a tick attached to my back. Luckily my husband spotted it and removed it. We then followed the online advice to wash the area carefully and treat the spot of entry with rubbing alcohol. I’m also emailing photos of what the spot where the tick bit into me looks like today and a photo of the tick to my doctor. (The tick we pulled off doesn’t look much like the black legged tick (formerly called deer tick) shown here — I’ve used this to illustrate the tick that’s known for carrying Lyme Disease)
So, today I got online to do some follow up research on symptoms to be aware of that would indicate Lyme Disease. I also decided to research plants that attract ticks. We had already decided to take out some Japanese barberries because they are tick attractors and they are also an invasive species (planted before I knew better) but I wanted to see if there were other plants I should pull out. I found more information on plants that are deer resistant and also tick repellent. That’s important not just for me but for our beloved Labrador Retriever.
As regular readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of the science that guides extension articles. Here is a link to an article from Penn State Extension on Creating a Tick Resistant Garden. This article educated me on several things about ticks: life cycle, habitat, creating a tick resistant garden, deer resistant plants, preventing tick bites and Lyme Disease and symptoms of Lyme Disease.
We did save the tick just in case, I’ve emailed the photos and I’m well aware of any symptoms to look for. I will be heading into the garden this afternoon, but this time I’ll make sure I’m well protected with insect repellent as advised in the Penn State article.
Don’t let the potential of a tick bite scare you off from gardening and enjoying the outdoors. I’ve been in gardens since I was a toddler following Mom to the garden and, as I said, this is a first. But be careful and take preventive steps to avoid a bite in the first place.