Woods ticks are no fun

Wood ticks are on my list of does the world really need these things.
Also on this list are tent caterpillars, tomato hornbeams, the little green caterpillars that flourish in my organic broccoli (choosing only to come out when boiled and the broccoli placed on my plate), and people who throw garbage out their car windows.
It’s a short list, but wood ticks come out on top—or maybe second to the garbage-throwing losers.
When I find a wood tick on me, I’m convinced their cousins and aunts and uncles are crawling on and in every nook and cranny on my body—behind my ears, in my ears, in my navel, you name it.
After a bit, my entire skin feels swarmed and I am tempted to light myself on fire.
We’re not safe no matter where we go these days. Certain ticks carry Lyme disease (thank goodness “Gracie” is protected by a vaccination. Say what?)
Do they wash the lemons that they put in our water in restaurants? Should I store my toothbrush a half-mile from the bathroom because of the germs being broadcast there?
Germs are everywhere, lurking, gathering, ready to pounce on us when we least expect it. And I’m convinced wood ticks are just hanging around on telephone wires timing their drops so they can land in my hair and work their way down while I’m sleeping.
It doesn’t help that Gracie’s 70-pound body is a virtual wood tick-carrying freight train and she deposits them everywhere she goes. I am “paranoidly” certain.
I recently went back to bangs with my hair style—bangs that are now annoyingly long and flick at the tops of my eyebrows and my ears and my nose, and these flicks feel more like ticks.
And my brain computes ticks and I might just spray myself down with DDT, though I’m not sure that would help.
I recently searched out some prevention or helpful tips online. Now I want to confirm that I am fully aware that the Lyme-disease version of ticks are different from the dog or wood tick that we have all come to know and hate. But these ticks aren’t much bigger than the size of a head of a pin, so I’m not all that good at seeing if they have black legs or not.
The first article I read said using a match or gasoline doesn’t really work because it just annoys the tick and he will spit up the contents of his stomach into my body and, therefore, the idea of lighting myself on fire was not a sound idea apparently, so I’ll have to rethink that remedy.
Another site advised me to discourage deer and other wild animals from my yard and home. I can’t remember the last time I invited a deer or raccoon or fox in for supper, or even to just hang out.
I haven’t been rude because not once have they come knocking uninvited. I haven’t set lawn chairs out for them or a cool drink on those hot evenings. I have no welcome sign at the edge of my lawn that says, “free deer food this way.”
So I think that’s got discouraging covered.
Avoiding grassy areas seems somewhat unrealistic. This is Canada. I live in rural Canada and rural Canada has an abundance of grassy areas. Cutting grass is a full-time job.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and socks over the cuffs of my pants isn’t exactly fashionable, though I’ve been rather fashion-challenged most of my life (or, at the very least, as long as I have had children that could talk).
But long sleeves when we have 10 minutes of heat and sunshine each year seems just really unfair, and spraying DEET on my outer clothing when my outer clothing is mostly skin doesn’t sound like a sound alternative.
So perhaps I’ll just have to do the tick hunt every time I’ve been outside and every time “Gracie” comes in from outside, which will consume about 18 hours of every day.
Are there places in Canada without ticks? Can’t I just move there?
wendistewart@live.ca

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