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The Hunter’s Guide to Ticks—the Nastiest, Most Disgusting Bloodsuckers in the Woods

The grossest ticks, the diseases they transmit, and how keep them from sucking your blood and making you sick

It’s a good time to be a blood-sucking parasite, and not just as a member of the U.S. Congress. Between 2004 and 2016, reports of tick-borne diseases more than doubled in the U.S., a trend that experts say continues. Ticks are now the number one vector-borne cause of disease in this country. (A “vector-borne” disease is passed from one organism to another.) Further, the geographic ranges of many tick species are expanding, driven both by climate change and changing land-use patterns.

Complicating things right now is the fact that the flu-like symptoms of many tick-borne diseases mimic those of Covid-19. This makes it even more difficult than normal for doctors trying to diagnose and treat Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. In this story, we’ll take a look at the five ticks you need to watch out for, the diseases they cause, and how to avoid the little bloodsuckers in the first place.

Head here for the complete guide on ticks written by Bill Heavey


May 7, 2022

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A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)

Rachel Schultz
Editorial Director


Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.



And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.

Samson McDougall