tea tree oil

Mythbusting: Tea tree oil tick treatments

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Ticks are dangerous and as scientists study them, they are finding more and more health risks when it comes to these tiny arachnids. In fact, tick-borne diseases are on the upswing across North America. This is because ticks are breeding fast, creating more and more of the tiny blood-feeding disease vectors. The list of potentially dangerous diseases connected to ticks includes Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, etc. Just this year, it was shown the Lone Star Tick, with just one bite, can cause someone to develop Alpha-Gal allergy, which means an allergy to red meat.

Many people know that insect repellents like DEET are the best solution to keep ticks off of your body and using various chemical treatments for pets in best for them. However, the list of supposed natural and DIY tick repellents is also growing. One of the most popular DIY tick tricks these days is the use of tea tree oil to kill ticks and to mix with other solutions to create a homemade tick repellent.

Ehrlich Pest Control knows that ticks can form infestations when they get a foothold inside a home or property. If you find ticks on yourself, your family or your pets, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office for effective tick removal treatments.

What is tea tree oil?

Tea tree oil is what one of a number of essential oils with a very strong odor. It is known around the world as various things, including melaleuca oil or ti tree oil. The oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree which is found in Queensland Australia.

It is true that tea tree oil if it is ingested, is toxic to humans. However, most of the time, tea tree oil is used in small amounts in various cosmetics and lotions including skin lotions, hair products, shampoos, acne medication and other uses.

Despite it’s rumored medicinal benefits, tea tree oil is not an FDA approved drug or treatment for any illness or malady. The list of things it is supposed to help with or cure ranges from athlete’s foot, nail fungus, and acne. The few studies which have been done for these ailments with tea tree oils against a placebo found little or no benefit.

What does tea tree oil supposedly do to ticks?

There are a couple of theories out there about what tea tree oil will do to ticks. One involves adding the oil directly to ticks. There are YouTube videos and online articles on various natural medicine websites which claim drops of the oil directly on the ticks will kill them almost instantly. Since tea tree oil is toxic when ingested, this may be the case, but it does require having ticks on your body and adding drops directly to insects which are feeding on you.

The other use for the oil out there is as a repellent. The idea here is that the strong camphor smell of tea tree oil is something ticks find repellent. However, just using straight tea tree oil can be dangerous given the toxicity, which is why the internet is replete with various recipes for people to mix with the oil to try and create a spray or lotion to repel ticks.

Does tea tree oil work as a tick repellent?

When the rumors of tea tree oil as a tick repellent became numerous in recent months, several television stations decided to do their own research to see if they should recommend it to their viewers. For example, this segment from KARE out of Minneapolis.

As you can see from the video, insect experts categorically state there is no proof tea tree oil acts as a repellent. In fact, using it and then walking in long grass or tick-infested areas my offer no protection and if you are not careful, you could end up bitten and at risk of any of the health issues listed above.

The FDA has not recommended tea tree oil as a repellent and the Center for Disease Control also does not list it as an effective treatment for ticks.

What are effective tick repellents?

As you can see from the KARE news segment linked above, there are some natural methods to prevent ticks on your person. They include:

  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus – this is an essential oil distilled from the lemon eucalyptus tree. It has been proven to repel mosquitoes and ticks. However, as with most natural and DIY treatments, they effect may not last as long as chemical treatments such as DEET. This may require careful watching and frequent reapplications if you are outdoors for a great length of time.
  • DEET – the actual scientific chemical term for this is diethyltoluamide. It has been determined to be the most effective of the insect repellents and works for both mosquitoes and ticks. It has also been ruled safe by the various government agencies and can be used on children as young as two months. DEET should be applied to any exposed skin, particularly during key feeding times for mosquitoes and in areas where ticks are populous.

Ehrlich can get rid of ticks

Of course, sometimes ticks can create an infestation in your home. Just a couple of ticks which drop off clothing or pets and get into carpeting or furniture can end up breeding. This could mean multiple insects right within your home.

Ehrlich Pest Control experts are ready to discuss tick problems you might be experiencing and can discuss treatments plants to get rid of ticks at all life stages and prevent them from returning. Contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today.

For more reading about tea tree oil and tick repellents visit:

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Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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