Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Yeah, if you live in the southern States you grew up doing "tick checks" when you came in after playing outside all day so they're just a part of life. The main things to remember is to get them off fast and that "all ticks must die".
Prevention is the key. I treat my clothes with permethrin too. I treat one pair of pants, one t-shirt, and three pair of socks during tick season. I don't like it, but I get too bit up if I don't.
I treat them in the Spring when I start getting bit and wear them until I start getting bit up again before I treat them again to minimize my exposure. It last about 4-5 weeks but I will get bit up a little the last week or two. I treated them three times this year and haven't been wearing them for the past two weeks now.
And I treat our 3 dogs with that stuff you put on their back. They hate that stuff, but they get to scratching so bad it makes me miserable watching them and they're dragging tick here constantly and breeding the darn things. Just treating the dogs makes a huge difference in how many are out in the yard.
But I don't put any pesticide on our yard or the pasture/forest out back. I'd rather get bit than do that. Over the years I've lived here on this ridge new neighbors have moved here and new homes have been built and most all of them use pesticide.
This year I didn't see a single wild honey bee and it's been about three years since I've seen a Monarch Butterfly. They used to swarm the flowers around our place. This year it was mostly wasps that were on a bush that flowers in the Fall that Monarchs used to cover for days while migrating to Mexico.
My wife gets pissed that I won't use pesticide but I've got good at guilting her into not making me.
And lucky for me a couple years ago I learned about using Diatomaceous Earth to kill chiggers. We had those so bad around our blackberry bushes that they'd cover your shoes in one minute and be devouring your legs the next. I spread that stuff out there and they've been gone for two years now, and I didn't use but about 5 pounds spot treating a few acres where I knew they were. You have to do in the early Spring though, and when you have a few dry days in a row.
I used Cedarcide (specific type of cedar oil) on my dogs for a number of years instead of Frontline and such. Worked quite well, though was pretty expensive. (I have no financial relationship with Cedarcide, just a happy customer). I also sprayed it on my lawn. Some research has shown that some cedar chips, when spread along the fence/lawn line, can repel ticks and such.
We have the tiny black west coast deer ticks in California that are harder to see than the bigger reddish ticks of the Rockies. Any backpack on the coast or in the coastal ranges result in many ticks on my clothing. I keep them from getting on my skin by eliminating open spots where then can crawl from clothing onto me. I always wear knee-high gaiters. I put rubber bands around my long sleeve shirt. I wear a tight kerchief on my head, under a hat and braid my hair so there is not a lot of loose hair for ticks to hide in. I do use DEET on the rim of my hat and around my neck. I have some "bugs off" clothing that I now use too.
My hard-fast rule is never to wear daytime clothing inside my sleeping bag. I have hiking clothes and inside tent clothes. I put my hiking clothes in a sealed plastic bag. I am very careful to fully zip up my tent door. I do a good tick check before I go inside the tent, but hard to check your backside when solo!
One time I used a tarp instead of a tent at Henry Coe State Park. I ended up covered with ticks! So now, I always use a tent in tick country.
Even with all these precautions, I still will end up with several ticks on me. I think I get them when I squat to pee! Once I had to dig one out with a knife (ouch). The "slowly pull so they back out" does not always work. If I see an embedded tick at when home I will sit in a bathtub for hours- they eventually back out.
Nevertheless, I never have had any tick carried diseases. Years ago when in the Rockies, I would get the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever immunizations.