Lyme Prevention

Permethrin: Why and How to Use This Tick Repellent

Permethrin tops my list of Lyme prevention tools. Why? Because it’s cheap, easy, and effective. Since May through August are the riskiest months for Lyme, now is the time to use this insecticide. Read on to learn why and how.

Why I Use Permethrin

Entomology Today says, “In a series of experiments conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clothing treated with the insecticide permethrin had strong toxic effects on three primary species of ticks known to spread disease-causing pathogens in the United States.”

These include the blacklegged tick that causes Lyme disease as well as the lone star tick that can induce an allergy to red meat.

Spraying a pair of shoes for only thirty seconds will provide six weeks of protection. Since ticks usually climb up from the ground, it’s the most effective item to treat.

According to a PubMed article, “Subjects wearing permethrin-treated sneakers and socks were 73.6 times less likely to have a tick bite than subjects wearing untreated footware.”

Spraying your pants, shirts, and socks will increase your protection. A treated outfit will retain its toxicity to ticks for six washes or for three to four weeks.

But how do we treat our clothes and shoes with permethrin?

How to Use This Tick Repellent

Applying permethrin is quick and easy.

To treat your shoes, spread them out on newspapers outside. I do this on our deck. Spray each pair for thirty seconds then allow them to dry for two to four hours before bringing them in. I like to set a one-minute timer on my phone and treat two pairs at once.

5 Steps to Treat Your Shoes with Permethrin

Hiking, gardening, or working in the woods? Treat your pants, shirts, and socks too. First, hang the clothes on a bush, a clothesline, or even a zip line. Second, spray each side for thirty seconds. I set my phone timer for one minute and treat one outfit at a time. Third, let your clothes dry outside for two to four hours before bringing them inside.

Going camping? You can spray your tent, backpack, and other gear with permethrin too.

You can buy this insecticide at Target and Walmart, but I always order the Sawyer brand from Amazon. You can order a spray bottle here (affiliate link).

But what if you still discover an attached tick on your or a loved one? What should you do then? Read my next blog post: “How to Treat Tick Bites in Seven Easy Steps.”

5 Comments to “Permethrin: Why and How to Use This Tick Repellent”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *