Painless Tick Removal 101: The Great Experiment

We live in TN. Ticks seem to regard TN as their own personal utopia and seem to be everywhere both in quantity and variety. I did some reading/research a while back on how to safely remove ticks without the traditional yank and pull method which risks leaving the parasites head behind OR causing a chunk of skin to be removed along with the tick. Neither of those are fantastic situations and are often painful. Somewhere or other I stumbled over the recommendation of saturating the tick with essential oil, the oil soaks into the skin and around the ticks mouth and causes them to turn loose automatically because their tasty blood feast isn’t so yummy anymore.

All excited about this “pain free” alternative (which btw was also alluded to as being an effective prevention of Lymes and other diseases carried by ticks) I eagerly waited for the next victim -I mean, person to get a tick for me to experiment on. I waited…And waited…And waited some more. TheMan had spread diatemateous earth around our yard a couple of years ago because it was reputed to do away with ticks and other problem bug like critters. We had seed ticks by the thousands. Apparently it worked because the past couple of years ticks have been kinda scarce around our yard. Still. There were plenty of ticks elsewhere and in the woods so it had to be only a matter of days…maybe a couple of weeks…right? Try a couple of MONTHS later I finally got my hands on a real life person with a tick that wasn’t too terrified of my concoctions to allow me to experiment on her.

It was a nice medium sized tick that had a firm grip upon her scalp. What I had read recommended soaking a cotton ball in essential oil and taping it over the tick for a little while, checking periodically to see if it had let go.¬† Since this was in the middle of her head tape didn’t seem like a viable alternative so I decided to just drip drop the essential oil neat directly over the tick. Once assured that the oil would in no way hurt her hair, my trusting companion consented to the modified protocol.

I watched closely to see any reactions from the tick as the Tea Tree Essential¬† oil (my weapon of choice since it is very safe to be applied neat, or, without dilution) slowly saturated him and the surrounding hair and skin. A miserable squirming commenced, and after a couple minutes I could see him frantically trying to back away. He opened his jaws and seemed to be trying to “spit out” or unhook his little pincers from her skin. When he had just barely a bit of it left in his jaws I quickly tugged him away (concerned that at the rate of his current squirming and scrabbling if he got totally unhooked he would disappear into other parts of her hair). A tiny flake of skin came away with his jaws. BUT there was no bleeding, no red mark, no NOTHING. You couldn’t even tell where he had been. Thankfully for once I remembered to take before and after pictures of the process. Well, they are really more like during and after…I forgot to take a picture before I dropped the oil on.

Tick sqirming miserably after the oil is dripped upon it.

Tick sqirming miserably after the oil is dripped upon it.

Same area after the tick was removed. Can't even tell it was ever there!

Same area after the tick was removed. Can't even tell it was ever there!

I plan on trying this on any future ticks we come across and hopefully will have as good a results as we did this time. I’m thinking about trying Lavender Essential oil next time since quite frankly I like the smell of Lavender better than Tea Tree essential oil.

Anybody else have tried and true painless tick removal methods? I’d love to hear about them! =D If anybody is brave enough to try this protocol on themselves or someone that will allow you to experiment please take the time to let me know how it works.