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How Permethrin Can Help Protect You From Ticks

As reported in The New York Times (Wirecutter's parent company), the CDC recently announced that insect-borne illnesses have more than tripled in the US in the past 14 years. Those numbers are for mosquitos, fleas, and ticks combined, but if you’re going to get an insect-borne illness in this country, you’re statistically most likely to get Lyme disease, carried by black-legged ticks, aka deer ticks, and most prevalent on the East Coast and in the Midwest. As we say in our bug repellent guide, a 25 percent picaridin repellent works pretty well—against mosquitos. It’s not as effective against ticks. Plus, ticks that simply walk to a part of your body without bug spray can avoid DEET-treated areas, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (PDF).

The best thing to keep ticks from biting you is permethrin. As an insecticide, permethrin will actually kill ticks, not just keep them away, and it’s different from DEET in that you put it on your clothes rather than spraying it on your skin. If you need to get serious about tick protection this summer, we’ve done the research on where to find permethrin, how to use it, and what safety concerns may arise.

Read the full article by Leigh Krietsch Boerner on Wirecutter's website here.


December 3, 2023

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Wirecutter’s mission is to recommend what really matters. Each year, we independently test and review thousands of products to help you find just what you need. Our goal is to save you time and eliminate the stress of shopping, whether you’re looking for everyday gear or gifts for loved ones.

We strive to be the most trusted product recommendation service around, and we work with total editorial independence. We won’t post a recommendation unless our writers and editors have deemed something the best through rigorous reporting and testing.

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