Friday, July 12, 2013

Science Can Bring Change-Natural Tick Repellent

Will you and your family help?

Last Friday no one attended the Blueberries for Sal/Blackberries for All Class. I know in some cases people were traveling, but in many cases the issue was ticks. I understand ticks are a major concern for this area and Lyme's Disease is a very serious disease that can come from ticks. I am concerned that if we don't take action that fewer and fewer people will be spending time outdoors, and that worries me for our future.

A week ago I picked blackberries for 45 minutes and had 3 ticks in my hair (the type that do not carry Lyme disease). I spotted them quickly since I was looking for them and I killed them immediately.  Last Friday my son and I conducted a science experiment. He wore eucalyptus oil and body spray and I wore tea tree oil and body spray. (I made the oil by mixing the essential oils with castor oil and the body spray by mixing the essential oils with water.) Both of these are natural repellents to ticks. We picked blackberries for 60 minutes and had no ticks in that time.  

I'm asking for your help to continue this experiment. I have set a box on my back patio with the eucalyptus and tea tree oils and body sprays.  My address is 13914 Deviar Dr and is right across from Cub Run. Will you please apply the oil to your face and the spray to your hair and go with your family to the dog park on the way to Westfield High School. The blackberry picking will be perfect starting today, Friday, with tons of berries there for at least a week. I'll then ask you to fill out a survey to show your results.  My hypothesis is that if you are wearing the natural repellents, you will not get ticks on you. This experiment could help increase the confidence of others in our neighborhoods to get outside more. Science provides important evidence that can bring change. 

If anyone with the natural repellents does get a tick, how does it compare with my original experience of 3 ticks in 45 minutes. None of the ticks on me were the type that carry Lyme disease. If any brave soul wants to try the experiment without wearing any natural repellent and include that in our data, that would be great! (probably try to stay away from those with the oil and spray to make it more accurate) Here is a site by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called I've been bitten by a tick, do I have Lyme's disease? A tick that has Lyme disease must be attached for at least 24 hours to pass on Lyme's disease, so if you do a thorough check for ticks, the risk of getting Lyme disease is greatly reduced.

If we can provide data to others in our neighborhood proving that wearing a natural tick repellent does make a significant impact in decreasing tick problems, maybe more people would be willing to go and pick blackberries and spend more times outside in our beautiful Sully Station outdoor areas. 

What's in it for you? Fresh wild blackberries! I also left a package of liquid pectin and some plastic freezer jam containers in the box at my house that you can take to make the simple homemade blackberry jam. This recipe takes less than an hour to make at least 6 cups of homemade blackberry jam. Grace and Mrs. Smith made it with me last week and they were shocked how easy it was. They had never made homemade jam before. 

Since I am on vacation in Florida right now you can stop by my house anytime. The plastic bin is on my back porch and you can use the oils and sprays and pick up your pectin and jam containers.

I'm including a couple of other sites that might be helpful. Remember, when picking blackberries, you want to wear long pants and a white or light colored long sleeve shirt makes it easier to spots ticks if they are on you. Blackberries have thorns, so go slow and be careful. Be sure to enjoy eating them as you pick. You want to pick only the ones that are completely black. They should almost fall off when you touch them. If they are still a little red, they are a little too tart. I tried to blaze some paths for you when I was there last Friday.

Here is a site with general information about picking blackberries 

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