Permethrin for Tick Control… How Fast Does It Really Work?

Author: Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham

In several stories, we’ve listed ways to protect yourself from tick bites and often permethrin-treated clothing has been on that list. However, to the uninformed, it just sounds like another chemical, and we know that sometimes “just another chemical” can scare you off. So we want to take you off the list of the uninformed.

What is Permethrin and is it Safe?

Permethrin is a chemically synthesized version of extracts from the chrysanthemum plant that is used as a pesticide. Permethrin has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency since 1979 which means that has been studied and proven safe. The EPA periodically re-evaluates substances that it registers, so you can be sure that it was considered safe in 1979 and it is still considered safe in 2018. The US military began using uniforms that were factory treated with permethrin in 1980 after testing found it very effective in the fight against insects and ticks. EPA and US Military approved is a pretty solid recommendation, don’t you think?

How Quickly Does Permethrin Work?

Now you know it’s safe and that it works well, next is how quickly does it work? Recently an office of the CDC in Fort Collins Colorado conducted a study on how well this pesticide really works. Researcher and entomologist Lars Eisen tells NPR that they let several species of ticks loose on different types of clothing treated with permethrin. They found that the ticks were affected immediately. Though they didn’t necessarily die instantly, they were rendered unable to bite upon contact. They essentially start flipping backward and start rolling off the treated clothing,” says Eisen.

The black-legged or deer tick, the tick responsible for carrying Lyme disease here in Massachusetts, was a part of this study. When nymph deer ticks (the tiny ones – smaller than a poppy seed) came into contact with the treated clothing they died within a minute. That sounds exactly like the kind of protection we need here in a state where Lyme disease is so prevalent, doesn’t it? However in a study done in 2009 by Neeta Connally, a medical entomologist in the Tickborne Disease Lab at Western Connecticut State University, only 1% of the participants in the study used permethrin for tick control. Why would you not use permethrin especially when out in wooded and tick infested areas?

Know Your Tick Control

Sometimes it just takes the right information to make the best decisions. That is why at Mosquito Squad of Franklin & Framingham, we make an effort to bring these studies to our clients. Ticks and Lyme disease are a danger to us here in Massachusetts, and we all need to understand our resources. Using permethrin on our clothing when in outdoor settings that we can’t control is a trusted and safe option. However, do you really want to have to spray your clothing down to sit in your own backyard? Repellents are great for when you are on the move, but treatment for your yard is the best solution at home, and we have that.

Our barrier treatments and tick tubing systems will eliminate 85-90% of adult ticks on contact and continue to work on further elimination all year long. Need more information about our tick control services? Please call us today. You’ve got questions, and we’ve got answers and solutions.