Conservation Connection: Avoiding Summer Pests

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(KPLR) - Missouri is a great place to get outdoors to fish, hike, camp and discover nature during summer.   But there are a few things to watch out for, like ticks, chiggers and poison ivy. Last week we talked about where these things can be found.  Today Dan Zarlenga from the Conservation Department is here to offer some tips to keep them from crashing your outdoor fun.

Q. What are the best ways to avoid these pests?

  • Clothing is one of the best defense by providing a protective barrier against all 3
    • Wear long sleeve shirts—light colors make ticks more visible and don’t attract mosquitoes as much and are cooler.  Consider vented synthetic materials.
    • Wear long pants—same as above.  Tuck in boots in heavily infested areas or secure pant cuffs with rubber bands or duck tape
    • Avoid sandals
    • Head netting for mosquitoes


Q. How about bug spray?

  • Look for something with DEET
    • At least 10% (good for children), use higher concentrations for adults going in highly infested areas
    • Spray skin and clothing
    • Will repel ticks, chiggers and insects
    • Consider repellents with alternative natural ingredients
    • Another option is permethrin, insect repellant used to pre-treat clothing—but not for skin


Q. What about after the outing?

  • A thorough, soapy bath or shower will help wash away ticks and chiggers and poison ivy oils (avoid soaps with oils for washing poison ivy)
  • Do a careful check for ticks—carefully remove the whole tick with tweezers
  • Ticks can’t transmit any diseases until hours after they’ve bitten and fed
  • Wash clothes thoroughly before wearing again


* Get more information on MDC’s website,