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Flies and Ticks and Chiggers, Oh My!!

I’m sitting on my deck right now as I type this.  Within the last half an hour, I have swatted multiple flies, pulled off a tick, avoided a couple wasps, and killed one mosquito.  They are impossible to avoid during the warm months of the year.  I was never very squeamish when it comes to bugs.  I wasn’t scared of them, but I definitely avoided touching them!  I’ve had my share of experience swatting mosquitos when I was kid, but some of the bugs we have here in the Ozarks are brand new to me.

We invited some friends to our property a few weeks ago.  Most of them have lived in the country a lot longer than me.  We had a great time together!  We did barbeque, talked around the campfire, and watched our kids run around getting really dirty in the mud.  And we dealt with the bugs.  We shewed away the flies and pulled ticks off our kids, but it never phased us and it certainly didn’t ruin our fun!  Yes, I’m used to the bugs.  I’m becoming a country girl.  I’m not scared of them or grossed out by them!  But we keep our all purpose Natural Herb Healing Salve close by at all times.  It’s wonderful for stopping the itches and healing the skin.

These are the most common bugs we have:

  1. Flies:  The flies are CRAZY!  I think they all smell food from miles around and come to our house.  Some of them are biting flies that can actually draw blood.  I’ve swatted several of them off our donkey when I see her bleeding from a bite.  In the house we have fly strips hanging in the kitchen and bathroom.  We also have them hanging on our deck.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  If they are not hung high enough they can hit you in the head.  The other day I got a piece of my hair stuck in one!  Most of all they are icky and ugly.  Who wants a bunch of dead flies hanging around?  But I deal with them because they work.  We had friends over for camping and barbecue a few weeks ago.  Every time the door was opened more flies came in and by the end of the weekend our fly strips were full.  I’ve also become lethal with the fly swatter.  My personal best is 4 with one swat!
  2. ticks2Ticks: We deal with these on a daily basis, but our guinea hens help keep them under control.  I usually pull off one or two ticks a day from both myself and my children.  That’s not too bad!  The guineas are doing their job.  We did not have these birds last summer, and we pulled the ticks off constantly.  One day, my seven year old went to the top of our mountain with Grandpa.  He came back with over 100 ticks attached.  I’m not kidding!  I plan to make an all natural repellent soon for when we go to areas of our property that are not reached by the guineas.  The few that we do get in the vicinity of our homes are easy to just pull off.  It helps to get these off as soon as possible, paying special attention to the hairline, the small of the back, and inside underwear.  They love the warm and dark areas of the body.  The longer you leave them on, the more they will leave a very itchy bump and chances of a tick born illness increase.  For the bigger ticks, we just pull them off with our fingers.  Yes, I touch them!  It’s just the easiest and most convenient way.  I’ve used a couple different options for the itty bitty seed ticks.  Tweezers work well for grabbing them.  Just pull up and straight out.  You can also use duct tape, but if they are too imbedded, you’ll have to go back to tweezers.
  3. ChiggerChiggers:  If I was to pick my least favorite bug, this would be it.  They are usually red and can be smaller than a period on a page.  You can’t see them!  They get down in your socks and start biting you and you don’t know until the damage is done.  You start itching uncontrollably.  I’ve had chigger bites last up to a month.  Thankfully I don’t get bitten everyday!  The guineas also help take care of these.
  4. Wasps:  These come out in full force in the early spring and have pretty much decreased by the time the summer heat really begins.  They are looking for spots to make their nests.  They like to find little holes or crevices in the sides of buildings.  If I see a wasp hovering around the house, I know there may be a nest it is working on.  A few weeks ago, one was trying to make a nest between the house and one of our shutters.  I use a wasp and hornet spray made by Raid to take care of the problem.
  5. brown-recluse-kitSpiders: We’ve seen two poisonous spiders around our homestead, the black widow and brown recluse.  Thankfully, we’ve been able to see these and kill them before anyone is bitten.  They usually hide in dark enclosed spaces, so I look out for these areas.  A month ago, I found a black widow when I opened the lid of the trashcan where we keep our sawdust.  It was hiding just under the rim.  This morning I found a brown recluse inside the hollow area of the handle on our pitchfork.  I know spiders are around and where they are most likely hiding, so I’ve learned to be careful.  We have this first aid kit for spider bites if we are ever bitten.  In our home, we spritz Diatomaceous Earth in the back of cabinets and under beds.  We use a nasal aspirator to suck up the powder and “spray” it where we want it.  D.E. is excellent for pest control because it absorbs lipids from the outside of the insect and causes them to dehydrate.

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About JaimieB

Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead. They live with their two sons and her parents Tim and Joann on 50 acres located deep in the American Ozark Mountains.

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9 comments

  1. I make my own lotion and spray for bug control. I put the lotion on first thing in the morning and then use the spray on my clothes. The lotion is a basic lotion with all the wonderful essential oils that repel ticks, chiggers, mosquitos & flies. For the spray, I use vinegar, tea made with herbs that repel and then add more essential oils. I need to make some homemade salve as well. I will probably add neem oil to mine as that is incredibly effective for relief of itching!

  2. I like Deep Woods Off. Not “natural” but neither are bullets and I use those for deer. Just saying 🙂

  3. http://www.amazon.com/FMI-Brands-Inc-Natural-Deterrent/dp/B000W93LUU/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1410411897&sr=1-2&keywords=wasp+repellent

    I swear by these. We use them every year and they work great for us! This year they were not available in the spring when I went to get my seeds, and we had wasps again.

  4. fly problem try this. hang a ziplock bag filled with water with 3 or 4 pennies in it by each door and window outside of your house. If you have a porch place a few more bags around the perimeter of the porch. you can also put some around your barn or other fly problem areas. presto no fly problem.

  5. ticks
    rather than pulling a tick off try touching it’s back with a hot wire and he will let loose and back out; thereby you will not leave his head in your skin to become infected.

  6. chiggers
    put a little vasaline on your leg about a 1 1/2 inch strip around your leg just above and below your sock top. will catch them before they catch you

  7. Try gold bond powder, I use it everyday when I’m cutting wood. A logger told me about it; said he has been using it for thirty years. Just put it on three to five times a day.

  8. Small ticks on tha human body in below arms and hair

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