As summer brings more opportunities for outdoor adventures, staying tick-free becomes a top priority for many nature enthusiasts. Understanding the best practices for avoiding these tiny pests, including the ideal color to wear, can make all the difference in enjoying a worry-free hike.

I have seen so many ticks this summer, including a new, tiny type that has found its way to Illinois. Just yesterday, I came inside after mowing the grass and felt something crawling up my arm, I looked down, and that little critter was looking for a way in. It should go without saying that he met a swift death.

Why Ticks Are Bad

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Ticks are small arachnids known for their ability to transmit diseases to humans and animals. They are particularly notorious for spreading Lyme disease, a serious illness that can cause long-term health issues if not treated promptly.

Ticks can also transmit diseases such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Where Do Ticks Thrive?

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Ticks thrive in wooded, grassy, and bushy areas where they can easily latch onto hosts. In Illinois, ticks are commonly found in forests, grassy fields, and along trails.

They tend to be most active from spring through fall but can be a year-round concern in some regions.

Use Strong Insect Repellants

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To protect yourself from ticks, using insect repellents is crucial. Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or permethrin are highly effective in deterring ticks.

These chemicals work by masking the scents that attract ticks or by incapacitating them upon contact, significantly reducing the likelihood of tick bites.

What Clothing Colors Attract Ticks?

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When hiking in Illinois, it is important to wear appropriate clothing to minimize exposure to ticks.

The American Hiking Society claims that lighter-colored clothes may attract fewer ticks.

Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are essential; tucking pants into socks and wearing light-colored clothing can make it easier to spot ticks. Additionally, wearing closed-toe shoes and a hat can provide extra protection.

What You Should Always Do After Hiking

After hiking, conduct thorough tick checks on yourself, your clothing, and your pets to ensure any hitchhiking ticks are promptly removed. Next, throw all the clothes you were wearing in the dryer on high for at least 10 minutes which is enough to kill ticks.

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