Are Essential Oils Effective Against Ticks?

7 Best Essential Oils For Tick Bites On Pets & Humans

Essential oils do more than make your home and room smell great. They can help guard you against pests like ticks.

In fact, nothing feels worse than when you are enjoying time outdoors with your family, only to find that a child or dog has a tick on them. 

Keeping ticks away from your family is important because they are carriers of Lyme disease. 

However, sprays that are bought at the store can work, but the chemicals found in those are almost as scary as the ticks themselves!

So, keep reading on to discover The best essential oils for tick bites.

Are Essential Oils Effective Against Ticks? 

  • They’re all natural
  • They smell great
  • Pets can use them, too
  • They can help you feel calm
  • Essential oils are available nearly everywhere, from major retailers to independent sellers. 
Best Essential Oils For Tick Bites

One study presented by Experimental and Applied Acarology indicates that yes, essential oils do show effectiveness in the way of tick prevention. For this study researchers did blanket drags and walks to “evaluate tick acquisition” by way of cotton blankets or wearing cotton pants. 

The researchers did the study in a dense area of the woods.  The oils used were rosemary, spearmint, thyme, or oregano, 20% DEET (the control), or ethanol excipient (the negative control).

They found that the number of ticks on the blankets and the pants differed significantly between each substance used. 

Although, When it came to spearmint oil treatments, many fewer ticks were present compared to the negative control blankets and pants, and many fewer ticks were also present on the oregano oil blankets.

For the ticks that did hook onto the pants, the rate of them falling or dropping off within three minutes was much higher for the pants treated with spearmint essential oil. 

The bottom line?

These essential oils are pretty great at keeping ticks off your clothing!

7 Best Essential Oils For Tick Repellent & Bites

1. Lemon

Ticks really hate the smell of lemon, says the Farmer’s Almanac.

As a result, lemon essential oil, which you probably already use to clean your home anyway, is good for getting rid of ticks and keep them off you. 

The health benefits of lemon are numerous:

For starters, the citrus fruit smells just wonderful and helps everyone feel clean.

Secondly, lemon essential oils may bring you happiness- one study performed in 2006 on mice showed that the essential oil had a calming effect and improved moods during three stress tests. 

Lemon oil can also help your skin be healthy. Lemon kills harmful bacteria that can grow on your skin, with one study indicating it was effective against e.coli and staphylococcus aureus.

Lastly, lemon essential oil may help you feel more alert and focused, which is perfect for spending time outside with family and staying safe in your surroundings .

According to one study performed with fourth-grade students who performed better on tests when lemon essential oils diffused Feb in the testing area.

2. Lavender

This pleasantly scented but effective insect repellent goes onto your clothing to protect against ticks. 

You can add 8-10 drops to your laundry before it goes through the final rinse cycle.  The beautiful scent will stay on clothing and repel ticks, flies, and mosquitoes, plus fleas. 

You can also put some lavender essential oil on cotton balls and put them inside your backpack, boots, or pockets. Lavender is good to help reduce anxiety;  one such purpose is to help anxious dental patients. 

3. Garlic

The Farmer’s Almanac says that garlic consumption can help reduce the risk of tick bites and tick-borne disease. The body gives off a smell that ticks really hate! So go ahead and add that garlic to your pasta, soups, or pizza. 

Garlic essential oil is another great idea- aside from making a DIY spray for your body and clothing, you can also use it on the lawn to keep it free of ticks. 

Keep in mind you may have to use multiple applications of garlic oil-based solutions in order for it to work, says one study.

4. Thyme

Thyme is effective, thanks to the results from a study performed by the Slovak Academy of Sciences. 

The essential oils used in the study included clove, creeping thyme, red thyme, and a blend of citronella and thyme, among other oils.

The results of the study showed that the red thyme, creeping thyme, and citronella and creeping thyme mix were the most effective in repelling the ticks. 

Aside from keeping you safe from ticks, thyme can do lots of other great things for you. For starters, thyme has plenty of vitamin C, which helps keep you healthy. 

Thyme is also a great source of fibre, iron, manganese, and copper. Thyme essential oil is good for use  in your home to treat low mould concentrations, according to one study

5. Eucalyptus

This is great for humans to use in repelling ticks, but when it comes to pets, use caution. You must also make sure to use a carrier oil when you apply this to the skin. 

You can combine 4 oz of distilled or purified water to a spray bottle, and 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, says the Farmer’s Almanac.

Once you complete those steps, shake it up and use it on skin, shoes, and clothing. This diluted mix is safe for dogs, too. Not to mention, it smells refreshing.

6. Cedarwood

This is a real killer when it comes to ticks. It kills them in many ways: it neutralises body fluids, emulsifies body fats, dehydrates them, prevents them from breathing, and dissolves the larvae. 

The EPA recognises it as safe when used as a food additive or insecticide. Aside from keeping ticks away, it is also effective in keeping fleas and moths away. 

Dilute the oil before using it on the skin. Cedarwood may also be effective for helping you get to sleep, perfect for those camping trips where you’re having trouble falling asleep. One animal study indicated it might also be helpful for reducing anxiety and stress.

7. Geranium

Rose geranium is a sweet but strong essential oil, and is safe for dogs, according to Wag Walkers. Ticks do not like the smell of rose geranium, and this essential oil can do great things in keeping ticks off of your dog.

Distilled water, a few drops of essential oil, and witch hazel or vodka mix together to provide a natural repellent safe for pets. As always, it’s a good idea to talk it over with a vet first before applying this or other essential oil mixes.

Best DIY Essential Oil Recipe Mixture That Will Keep Ticks Away

On the Internet, you will find heaps of recipes that are great for keeping ticks away. You will want to try many out to see what works best for your family. In our opinion, here is the best essential oil recipe for keeping ticks off: 

  • .5 C witch hazel
  • 24 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
  • 24 drops of Geranium Essential Oil

Put witch hazel into a spray bottle. Now add in essential oils and shake the bottle well. Shake it up before each use.

You can spray it onto skin, shoes, and clothes. Additionally, You can use it when you go outside or when you head into the woods. This mix is safe for people and pets- always check with a vet or doctor first, however.

How to Apply Essential Oils to the Body Correctly?

You can dilute essential oils with water or carrier oil to ensure they do not harm the skin.

Otherwise, they are much too strong. Your goal is to make sure the solution you put on your skin has 1%-5% of the essential oil. The higher the percentage, the higher the likelihood of a reaction, so be sure you mix them correctly.

Precautions of Using Essential Oils

  • Do not use essential oils on private areas of the body, mouth, nose, or eyes. 
  • Make sure the oils you buy come from  from a reputable seller. 
  • Do not keep oils longer than three years. 
  • Edible oils should not go onto your skin. 
  • Talk to a doctor before using to ensure oils do not interfere with your prescriptions. 
  • Talk to a vet before using essential oils on pets to ensure their safety. 
  • Dilute oils before using them. 

FAQ

What time of day are ticks most active?

According to the NY Dept. Of Health, ticks are active at any time of the day. Therefore, make sure you are properly dressed and apply a repellent to keep yourself safe. Some areas are more likely to have higher rates of tick activity, so bring extra repellent to be sure. 

When should I worry about a tick bite?

The Mayo Clinic says that tick bites are generally harmless and will cause only minor symptoms such as redness or swelling, or even a sore on the skin. You only need to worry about a tick bite if you develop a severe headache, paralysis, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing. If you cannot remove the tick yourself, you develop a larger rash, develop flu-like symptoms, call a doctor. Infected bites and deer ticks require care by a doctor right away. 

Can essential oils help with Lyme Disease?

Research performed by Dr. Ying Zhang, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicated that essential oils could effectively kill some forms of Lyme disease. However, it is best to seek help from a doctor regarding Lyme disease treatment.

What are ticks attracted to? 

Ticks go for carbon dioxide. Humans actually  exhale carbon dioxide, and because ticks cannot see very well, they rely on their sense of scent to get by. Other human odors also attract ticks.

Is tea tree essential oil good for tick bites?

Tea tree oil is NOT recommended for use as an insect repellent. The FDA has not recommended the use of such oil for tick repellent, and the CDC also did not list it as being effective in keeping ticks away. Click here to see a news segment from KARE-Minneapolis regarding tea tree oil and repelling ticks.

Conclusion

Essential oils are useful in many ways, especially when it comes to helping your family stay safe outside. Dress appropriately, stay vigilant and use those oils to have maximum fun outdoors this summer. Hope you enjoyed this post about The best essential oils for tick bites. Check out our other posts.

Further Resources

If you’re looking for more Essential Oils resources, consider checking out our other posts on Essential oils.

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