Chez Sven Tests New Bug Repellant

Sunday, 31 May 2015 09:34 Written by  Alexandra Grabbe

5312015 Image1With spring comes the threat of tick bites. The thick snow cover kept the ticks safe and warm over the winter, which means the tick population has exploded here on Cape Cod. 



I warn all our guests about deer ticks. Having had Lyme disease twice, I know deer ticks must be taken seriously.  PURE Solutions sprays my yard every three weeks.  While ticks can still crawl in from the woods, spraying peppermint oil may lower the numbers at Chez Sven.  I am considering guinea hens, or chickens, as they eat ticks.  Here are some other suggestions that may work in protecting your yard.



While I spray Deet products on my shoes and trouser cuffs, during the hot summer it is hard to cover up completely, so I'm always on the lookout for products that are non-toxic and repel the nasty little critters.  Snow’s, in Orleans, used to carry only Off.  I was pleased to see they now also sell a non-toxic alternative, very popular with bikers who stop at the department store on their way up or down the bike trail.   The name of the spray is Nantucket Spider, which protects against spiders, ticks and mosquitoes.  Sven and I decided to test it out.  So far no mosquitoes have bitten him, but the pleasant smell seems to attract mosquitoes when on my skin. 



Wondering whether Nantucket Spider would work for ticks, I reached out to the creator, Jeffrey Busch, who emailed the following response: “Nantucket Spider is made from ingredients that are associated with a reduction in tick bites, but is not 100% foolproof.  It is one good tool in the arsenal of protective measures a person should take in protecting themselves.  (Other important tools, of course, include a thorough tick check, daily shower, and socks over the shoes when gardening.) Nantucket Spider contains rose geranium oil, which has been found in a recent lab study to have been as effective as DEET at preventing tick bites.  It also has peppermint oil and cedar oil which are associated with a reduction of bites.  By using a fine mist trigger spray - we maximize the effectiveness of the repellent, making sure that there is broadest coverage.”


I like the fine spray and the smell.  But I’m not convinced Nantucket Spider is the product for me.  Last year I used Bert’s Bees roll-on bug repellant.  It seemed to work on Cape Cod, but in Sweden I spotted a defiant tick crawling right up my bare leg.  The other spray I use is called Organic Bite Blocker Xtreme.  My son researched it several years ago for his kids.   While this one doesn’t smell good, it keeps the ticks at bay, as far as I have been able to tell.



I'm not crazy about Deet, or Peremethrin on clothes, as both end up in our sole source aquifer after doing laundry.



I’m eager to try new options, so if you have a favorite or another recommendation for repelling ticks, please share in the comments. (My gardener swears by eating garlic.)



While on the subject of ticks and Lyme disease, please note that Outer Cape Health Services still does not have a Lyme-literate doctor.  I wrote the CEO several years ago to make this suggestion.  My letter went unanswered.  So, the next time you go in for a medical checkup, please mention at the front desk, as well as to your provider, that Wellfleet could do with someone specialized in tick-borne disease, even if only on duty once or twice a week.  People do not always get the treatment they deserve and chronic Lyme can ensue. (ie. the spirochetes burrow into cells and hide, only to make you sick later in life.) I have shared taking the herb cat’s claw after the Doxy on Facebook many times. Getting three weeks of Doxy isn’t a given either, as some insurance companies recommend providers prescribe lower doses.  The tests are not always reliable.  (If you get bitten, the test will not be positive unless you wait a month to take it.)  Not everyone has the same symptoms, either.  I had what seemed a very bad case of the flu and total exhaustion.  The second time I had Lyme, I recognized the symptoms and got the Doxy immediately into me.  (The first time I had Lyme, there was a delay in diagnosis, and therefore an infectious diseases doctor in Maryland, married to a friend, told me to get eight to ten weeks of the antibiotic.  Then a Lyme specialist in Plymouth told me I was cured, although I still had no energy.  Taking the cat's claw and an immune system support supplement helped.)



If you have not had Lyme, you do not want to get it.  If you have had Lyme, you do not want to get it again.  Protect yourself from ticks and become pro-active:  speak up so that our local clinic hires a person knowledgeable about tick-borne diseases.  Thanks!

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