Most gardeners don’t think to check for ticks or fleas after walking through their garden. However, once you are done planting, tending, or harvesting, you might carry home more than you bargained for. These are not a garden pest, per se, but they can really do a number on the gardener. Just as a cat or dog picks up ticks and fleas by walking outside, so too, can a human.
Fleas are worse because they are harder to see, however, a quick shower usually will get rid of any fleas you might have picked up. But by the time you make it to the bathroom, Mr. Flea probably has already leaped off into your carpet or furniture.
Ticks are more easily seen, but be sure to get a shower after every gardening adventure. Then have someone check your scalp, behind the ears, and any crevice you might have that you cannot check yourself.
If you don’t check yourself, you could find yourself covered in bites. Having a cat, I find that it’s useless to even check for fleas because we wake up with bites every day. However, my cat is staying in Mississippi after I go to California so I won’t have to deal with fleas much.
Some preventive measures include wearing long sleeves and long pants with socks that go over top of the pants leg. Also, wear a hat, not only to keep the sun off your face, but to prevent easy access to your hair by fleas. Ticks will generally latch on to the lower extremities because they are not grand jumpers like fleas are.
Use a bug repellent containing DEET to repel the pests. I can’t stand the smell of it so I’ll take my chances with the organic wintergreen smelling stuff I found. It doesn’t prevent mosquitoes very well but it did keep the fleas off my 4-year old at night. He became flea breakfast so I sprayed him down every night. It was some bio-control spray I got at Walmart. Smelled like licorice or cloves.
I wonder if putting baby powder all over yourself before donning garden-wear would prevent these pests from attaching. Hey, the worst that could happen would be your smelling good when you go back to the house!
If you do find a flea, try to catch him if you can. This may prove extremely difficult but not impossible. Sprinkle a flea and tick powder on your carpets, let it sit for a couple hours, then vacuum it up. This will prevent any possible mishaps later on from carpet infestation.