Ouch! Guide to Protecting Yourself from Snakes, Ticks and Mosquitoes in Georgia
Snakes, ticks and mosquitoes—the Georgia version of lions, tigers and bears—are plenty dangerous, too. Because of our mild climate, Georgia natives know that we will be plagued by such creatures for most of the year. So how do you keep your family safe from the fang-bearing reptiles and disease-carrying insects? Here are some tips we’ve compiled for you.
Out & About
Choose Protective Clothing – Getting outside is a must for finding fresh air and pumping up endorphins, not to mention letting the kiddos run around before they drive you crazy. But wandering in the wilderness is a surefire way to run into some of the more odious factors of nature. With that in mind, make sure you are dressing properly for the trip. Wear close-toed, thick boots, long pants, and long sleeves. This will help protect your family from all three concerns. Consider clothing that is pre-treated with insect repellent, and consider carrying a snake bite kit.
Be Aware – Carry a big stick for poking things, rather than using your own appendages. Be vigilant. Looking around you is not only for enjoying the scenery; it’s how to see unwanted company before it gets you. And don’t forget to look up—snakes can also be in trees or tall bushes.
Watch Your Step – Avoid areas that are likely to appeal to snakes—things like piles of leaves, wood, junk, rocks, and brush and tall grass. Snakes like to hide. Let them do so, and stay away. But make sure you are paying attention even on a proper trail or path, as snakes can often be coiled up there as well. Look out especially around sources of water, as these serpentine creatures may be thirsty or jonesing for a swim.
Educate Your Family – Look up snakes online, and visit them in museums and zoos. The best way to know what poisonous snakes in Georgia look like is to see them in person. It will make it easier to recognize one when it slithers across your path.
Use a Good Repellent – The CDC recommends using repellents that are approved by the EPA and contain ingredients like DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, or 2-undecanone. Also, in case you were wondering about the correct order for sunscreen and bug repellant application, the CDC says you should apply sunscreen first, then bug spray. It also says that combo products are not a good idea because the SPF of sunscreen is reduced by DEET, requiring more frequent use of sunscreen to protect the skin.
After Exposure – Remove clothing as soon as possible to avoid tick attachment. You can also use a lint roller or piece of packing tape to go over clothes periodically and remove pests. Take a shower as soon as possible, and inspect the entire body for ticks. Check children thoroughly as well. Remember that ticks can be as small as a pencil dot, so use a magnifying glass if necessary.
- Keep grass cut short and often. This will help to reduce hiding places for snakes and ticks.
- Clear out messes. Whether it’s an old building, a storage area or the flower beds, keep them clean to help keep out snakes.
- Avoid having standing water. Mosquitoes use it for eggs, and snakes use it for drinking and resting.
- Repair any openings in your house to avoid letting snakes have easy access, and make sure to check the entire exterior after storms for any new damage.
- Stay inside during the times that mosquitoes are rampant, mainly in the evenings, at night, and during the early morning hours. If you can’t, use an appropriate repellant.
- Be mindful of darker, wetter areas even in the middle of the day, as these tend to have a lot of mosquitoes, too.
- Plant things like basil, lavender, marigolds, citronella, catnip, and rosemary to naturally keep away mosquitoes (and have a fun gardening project with the littles).
– Shelly Gable