If you happen to have a pool and live in or near a heavily wooded area, tall grassy area, or a moist/humid area, then you’ve probably found ticks in your pool. Bugs often fall into pools even in urban areas, so that’s not a concern; they just die and you scoop them out, right?
Unfortunately, ticks are a lot more resilient than other insects. Ticks can survive a long time underwater. Not even chlorine or saltwater is enough to kill ticks. They are able to survive multiple days in your pool and adding more chlorine or salt is not the solution. Instead, you should focus on preventing them from even entering your pool in the first place.
Since certain environments attract ticks, if you live in such an environment, it is in your best interest to deter ticks from being near your pool. In this article, we’ll go over various ways you can do that so you can keep ticks away from your pool or remove them safely if some still do.
Why don’t ticks die if they fall into the pool?
Most insects drown when they fall into a body of water. Ticks seemingly don’t. How are they surviving for so long?
You might assume that they are able to breathe underwater, and you’re technically correct. Ticks don’t extract oxygen from the water, but rather the hairs on their body traps air that they can use to breathe underwater.
Not even saltwater from the ocean or chlorine from swimming pools is sufficient to kill ticks since they aren’t ingesting the water. Ticks can just breathe the air trapped in their hair and last survive for multiple days, after which they do die.
That is, unless it manages to attach itself to an unsuspecting victim and it gets carried out of the pool.
What attracts ticks?
As mentioned, ticks are commonly found in these environments:
- The woods: Ticks love wooded areas, and in particular they love what the woods attract; animals that they can attach to.
- Tall grass: Again, plenty of animals like to hide in tall grass. And ticks like to attach to animals or people.
- Moist areas: Moist and dark areas, typically dense woods with little sun exposure, are the perfect breeding ground for ticks.
Just any one of these factors would attract a lot of ticks, and sadly, they are not mutually exclusive. You can literally have all three apply to you if you live in a heavily wooded area, which is where animals reside, it’s dark and damp, and there are plenty of animals to latch onto.
Ticks like to latch onto their prey by biting and also gluing themselves on their skin so that they can feast on blood for days. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for the tick, but for their victim, it’s uncomfortable and can also cause diseases to spread and infections to occur. That’s why I have no second thoughts on killing any of these vampiric creatures.
While ticks can naturally detach themselves after they finish feeding, this process can take up to 10 days. The whole time, they are transmitting blood and bacteria through their mouths which can cause you or your pets to get sick.
How to keep ticks away
If your property is located in an environment that attracts ticks and you want to keep ticks away, then you need to alter your landscaping into one that ticks despise. There are some dual-purpose plants that can simultaneously deter ticks while adding to the beautiful scenery.
Consider the following tick-repelling plants:
- Marigold: This flower will add a beautiful yellow and orange color to your yard. It’ll also emit a strong scent that repels ticks.
- Geranium: This recommendation is a bit of a double-edged sword. Geranium flowers are toxic to ticks but also toxic to plants. If you have any pets, consider the other options.
- Lemongrass: This is one of the best choices for poolside landscaping. Lemongrass contains citronella which many insects hate, but has a pleasant aroma for humans.
- Lavender: In a similar vein, lavender has a wonderful fragrance to humans which also complements the lemongrass smell. Lavender oil is often used as a tick repellent, but why not have lavender flowers in your yard instead.
You can find all of these plants at your local plant nursery, and you can even order them online.
Where do ticks typically attach to?
Despite your best efforts, you should still prepare for the worst. The occasional tick still might find its way onto you or your loved ones. Where are you most likely to find ticks?
It’s not surprising that ticks have a preference for dark and moist areas, so they are attracted to our armpits, groin, behind the knee, and the scalp.
That said, don’t limit your search to just those areas. Ticks are opportunistic and will attach anywhere, and sometimes they will attach somewhere right out in the open.
What to do if you find a tick on someone
Finding a tick sucking your blood can be a nerve-wracking experience. Your urge is to try to rip it off right away, but this can lead to more harm than staying calm and removing it properly.
Since ticks need to burrow their mouths into their prey, if you find a tick early enough it may not have penetrated your skin just yet. This is the easiest situation to be in. Ticks that have taken hold are a bit more difficult.
To remove a tick, I recommend using a pair of tweezers. Aim to grab the tick at its mouth or head instead of just its body. A mistake people make is they grab and rip off the body, leaving the head still intact on its prey.
Once you’ve got a good grip, gently and slowly pull back. If done properly, you can remove the tick in its entirety.
Now you should inspect the bite mark to ensure nothing is left behind. Otherwise, you will have to use the tweezers once more to remove the rest of the tick, only there is less to grab now.
Disinfect the wound by washing it with soap and water or applying rubbing alcohol. If you can’t seem to get the last little bit of a tick out, then you should consider contacting a medical professional for assistance.
How to dispose of ticks
Ticks are kind of like mosquitos in that they serve no purpose, spread disease, and the world would be better off without them. So I just kill any that I see with no remorse.
Once you’ve found/removed a tick, you should kill it with extreme prejudice. No, don’t flush it down the toilet. As we’ve talked about, ticks can survive even in a chlorinated or saltwater pool. They would just survive long enough to attach to their next victim.
Instead, grab a Ziploc bag, a cotton ball, and rubbing alcohol. Soak the cottonball in rubbing alcohol and then place both the cottonball and tick in the Ziploc bag. Seal it shut and watch the tick squirm. Bueno. Ticks are the worst and must be dealt with immediately!