How to protect yourself from ticks and insects on your next walk

The Buzzards Bay region has hundreds of beautiful outdoor places to explore. When you’re outside on a walk or hike, it’s easy to take a few simple precautions to keep you and your family safe from ticks and other insects. Our restoration ecologist Sara Quintal shares a few tips she follows to protect herself when she’s outdoors.

1. Dress to protect

pant leg hem covered with socks

When you’re out for a walk or doing yard work, pull your socks over the hem of your pants to keep any insects from getting underneath your pant legs.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from ticks and other insects is to dress appropriately. That means long pants and covered shoes. Boots that go up to your knees will provide you with great protection from ticks that crawl low to the ground.

Too warm to wear big boots? You can be comfortable and safe at the same time with a pair of light sneakers or regular hiking shoes. All you have to do is pull your socks over the hem of your pants. That’s an easy way to keep any insects from getting underneath your pant legs.

2. Stay on the trail

There are lots of reasons why you should stay on the trail when you’re out for a walk: to protect nature, to stay safe during hunting season, and to prevent picking up insects. On a mowed trail, you’re much less likely to come into contact with ticks. That’s because ticks tend to cling to tall plants and grass blades low to the ground. Just stay on cleared trails, and you’re less likely to encounter insects at all.

3. Wear insect repellent

a woman and two girls walking on a path through the woods at Nasketucket Bay State Reservation

Stick to cleared trails to avoid ticks that may be clinging to tall grasses and plants.

Another way to protect yourself from insects of all kind is to wear insect repellent. Some people prefer natural products to repel bugs. If you’re going to be outside for a long time, you may want to choose a product that includes DEET, which typically does a more thorough job of keeping insects away.

4. Check yourself after your walk

Whether you’ve been out for a walk or just doing yard work, it’s a good idea to check yourself for ticks before you go inside. Have a buddy check your backside, too – because you can’t always see back there! Check your legs, arms, waistline, and the back of your neck for any hitchhikers, and then do a more thorough check once you’re inside. Remember to check your dog after a walk outside, too!

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The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

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