Thursday, May 27, 2021

The Next Chapter in my Journey with Lyme Disease and How to Protect Your Yard with DIY Tick Tubes

              
It’s been a year since I announced to the world that I have Lyme Disease and multiple co infections (see my post here). It’s also May, which is Lyme Disease awareness month, so I decided to give a quick update about my very personal journey. 

I started aggressively treating in July after working hard to fix my gut issues. I completely changed my diet-no gluten, no sugar and no dairy. I added dairy back in after awhile because it didn’t seem to bother me and I could honestly live on cheese alone so I needed that small win. I also take tons of probiotics and try to eat clean, healthy foods. I lost more than 20 pounds, which could be from eating less carbs, inflammation going down and/or getting my thyroid back on track.

Since the start of treatment I’ve been on a very dark and twisted path full of pounding headaches, extreme anxiety, crushing fatigue, pain, an overall feeling of being unwell and the list goes on. Some days I can see a glimmer of light at the end of my path to healing. Hopefully that light will keep getting brighter until I’ve crawled out to the other side with remission and a healthy immune system. I now realize what my doctor said to be true, this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. And what a long and grueling marathon it is. 

Some of the prescriptions, vitamins, supplements and probiotics I'm currently on daily

That’s it for now about how my journey with Lyme and company is going. It’s too hard for me to share more specifics right now because I’m in it and it’s rough and raw. I’m trying to give myself grace through this difficult time and keep battling, learning, treating, praying and persevering. Hopefully next year I can share some good news and more details.

On to the DIY part of this post: tick tubes. What are tick tubes and why would I need them, you might ask. Tick tubes are simply cardboard tubes stuffed with Permethrin soaked cotton that you place around your yard to control the tick population. Permethrin is a natural insecticide made from the flower chrysanthemum and is very effective at killing ticks on contact. I also use permethrin to spray on my clothes for when I go camping or plan to be in any tick infested areas. One application lasts for 6 weeks or 6 washes (which ever comes first).

Unfortunately ticks won’t just go and find these tick tubes on their own. What you want is for mice to find them. Mice carry a lot of nymph (baby) ticks and will use the permethrin soaked cotton to line their nests thus killing the baby ticks before they have a chance to get in your yard and bite you.

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If you don't want to make your own tick tubes you can buy them at places like Amazon. But it really is incredibly easy to make them, with minimal materials and costs so much less.

DIY Tick Tube Supplies:

- Permethrin insect repellent in a spray bottle (I used Sawyer brand)
- Empty toilet paper rolls (you can also use empty paper towel rolls or PVC pipe)
- Cotton balls (or dryer lint)
- Gloves
- Mask
- Cardboard box to spray into


Gather all your supplies, you probably already have most of them in your home except Permethrin. Put your cotton balls inside of the cardboard box and take everything outside. With your mask and gloves on spray all the cotton balls until they are saturated. Allow cotton balls to dry and then flip them over and repeat the spraying process on the other side. Take note that Permethrin is safe for animals however while it is wet it is not safe for cats as it affects their central nervous system so make sure to keep wet Permethrin away from cats. Once dry the Permethrin is safe for cats.


After the cotton balls are completely dry you can stuff your toilet paper rolls. 


I stuffed them so they were almost full and could easily come out. There are a few tick tube tutorials, like this one on Practical Primitive, that use dryer lint, which is another cotton material you can use. However if you use dryer sheets the mice might not like the smell of your lint and potentially won't take the dryer lint.


After stuffing your toilet paper tubes you should place the tick tubes in areas of your yard that are wooded, the perimeter of your yard,  and anywhere that looks like a mouse would go like an overgrown area. One more note, since Permethrin is a broad spectrum insecticide do not place tick tubes in areas where it might affect honey bees or other pollinating insects.


Permethrin is not water soluble so it won't wash off in the rain and one application should last about 6 weeks so you should replace your tick tubes every spring and late summer. If you don't notice a decrease in the tick population in your yard, simply put out more tick tubes. If you want to see if mice are taking the "bait" check on your tick tubes to see if any cotton is missing and if it's all gone put out another tick tube. 

I love these DIY tick tubes because they are super affordable, they are biodegradable and anything that can prevent tick-borne diseases is a win in my book! Hopefully this DIY tick tube tutorial helps you out with protecting your yard from nasty, disease causing ticks!

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