There are so many exciting things to discover around the world and many times we dream of places far away. Little do we realize that magical places could be just down the road from our homes. Many of these places are quiet and off of the beaten track where nature and mankind have created harmony between them.
These places should be treasured for generations to come as these natural areas are getting harder and harder to come by. Home and commercial construction is seen taking over sweeping farmlands which provided life-giving sustenance. Natural areas are being turned into sports parks. Recently, I’ve had the good fortune to have visited two of my more favored natural places.
The National Wildlife Visitors Center is located within the Patuxent Research Refuge South Tract near Washington D.C.. Created in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Patuxent Research Refuge is the only National Wildlife Refuge dedicated to the research of wildlife and habitat conservation and preservation.
Covering over 12,000 acres there are three sections of the Patuxent Research Refuge. Both the North and South Tracts are open to the general public and offer wonderful scenery, fishing and great wildlife discoveries. As great as these places are a huge warning to visitors as both locations are tick hotbeds. The more that I visit natural areas in Maryland, the more Tick Warning signs I’m beginning to see. Lymes Disease is prevalent in our state and the ticks at Patuxent Research Refuge are known to transmit Lymes.
Through grasslands and forest, one needs to protect themselves from ticks from both below and above. Yes..they do drop from trees.
It’s actually much easier to protect yourself than expected and an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Or in my case, months of antibiotic treatment. The best thing to do is to pre-treat all of your clothing with Sawyers Permethrin Clothing spray. This means wearing long pants, long sleeve shirts and a hat. What’s nice about pre-treating your clothing is that you know you’re well protected and when it dries it doesn’t smell.
I also discovered a place where you can send your own clothing in to get the commercially available product Insect Shield Clothing Repellent which is good up to 70 washes.
Usually Deep Woods Off is my go-to for insect repellent, but there is a newer product on the market Picardin is non-toxic and doesn’t melt clothing and smells better than DEET. Read up on it, after I run out of my current cans of Deep Woods Off I’ll be stocking up on Picaridin.
Now that I’m more properly prepared for the field, I’ve visited both the North and South tracts twice this week and came out without a single tick. Nothing like last month when I went out using Deep Woods Off and a hat but still ended up with a tick. In my small group that went out with me one morning, two people did not pre-treat their clothing and both of them did find a tick crawling on them. But luckily we were on high alert for them and removed them before they could attack.
So I hadn’t planned on going on a mini-lesson about tick and insect protection, but perhaps my visit to my Lymes Doctor today inspired it as I have begun to suffer a little with my Chronic Lymes Disease. Didn’t help when I got four tick bites in April and May. So I will be better prepared going forward while I start on my five weeks of antibiotic treatment.
In spite of those little buggers, I’m still going to get out there and enjoy my natural areas as much as I can as they are truly special places to enjoy. I hope you do too!