Follow these tips to avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.
Keep mosquitoes away from your home.
Many mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing (still) water. To help keep mosquitoes away:
- Empty water from unused or forgotten items (like flower pot bases, old tires, buckets, and toys) in your yard. Turn them upside down.
- Change the water in your kids’ wading pool at least once a week. Be sure to store the pool on its side.
Keep ticks away from your home.
Many types of ticks live in areas with woods, brush, or high grass. Animals, like dogs and deer, may also carry ticks in their fur. To help keep ticks away from your home:
- Clear brush, tall grasses, and fallen leaves from around your home. Mow the lawn often.
- Use wood chips or gravel to separate your patio or play equipment from wooded and brushy areas.
- Remove plants that attract deer, and put up a fence to keep deer out of your yard.
- Consider applying tick control products to your yard. You can do this yourself or hire a pest control company.
- Ask a vet for tick control medicine or tick collars for your pets. Dogs and cats need different tick control medicines, so make sure to get the right one.
Use bug repellent.
Bug repellent makes it harder for mosquitoes and ticks to find you.
What type of bug repellent do I need?
- Use a bug spray with 20 to 50% DEET to avoid tick and mosquito bites. Check the label.
- You can also look for repellents with picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 to avoid mosquito bites.
- It’s a good idea to use sunscreen when you are outside, but look for a separate sunscreen lotion. Don’t use bug repellent that has sunscreen already mixed in.
- Use a spray with permethrin on your clothes, shoes, and camping gear to repel and kill ticks. Never use permethrin directly on your skin.
How do I use bug repellent?
- Spray it on your clothes or on exposed skin.
- Don’t spray repellent directly on your face. Instead, use your hands to carefully rub it on your face. You can also use wipes that contain bug repellent to wipe it on your skin.
- Don’t use repellent on babies under 2 months old.
- Find out how to use insect repellents safely on children.
- Wash repellent off skin with soap and water when you go inside.
Wear long pants, shirts with long sleeves, and socks.
Cover up your skin so that it’s harder for mosquitoes and ticks to bite you. This is especially helpful in the morning and evening when many mosquitoes bite most.
Check for ticks after spending time outside – even in your yard.
Check everybody in the family, including pets. Check the entire body, especially:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Behind the knees and between the legs
- Around the waist and inside the belly button
- In and around hair
Get more tips on doing a tick check [PDF - 82 KB].
Take a shower after being outside in an area that might have ticks.
A shower can help get ticks off of you and lower your risk of Lyme disease. Try to shower within 2 hours of going inside.
Use tweezers to remove a tick as soon as you see it.
- Get the tick near its head or mouth.
- Gently pull the whole tick straight out. Be careful not to crush or twist the tick.
- Wash your hands and the bite with soap and water.
- Put rubbing alcohol on the bite.
Don’t use a hot match to kill and remove a tick. Get more tips on removing ticks.
Tell the doctor if you get sick after a tick bite.
If you or your kids get a rash or fever after getting bitten by a tick, call the doctor. Tell the doctor about the tick bite, when it happened, and where you think you were when you got the bite.