Zika is bad, but let’s not neglect ticks

Let’s not let fear of the Zika virus distract us from a perennial foe — the disease-carrying tick.

First: Do not have your lawn sprayed for prevention. Ticks lurk in wet, overgrown, brushy areas — not lawns — and spraying will only make the lawn dangerous to you. An untreated but freshly cut lawn is probably the most tick-free place in your landscape.

The best personal protection when you’re cutting tall weeds or walking in the woods is to wear clothing treated with permethrin — a synthetic version of a botanical pesticide made from the flowers of a certain chrysanthemum. Any tick that even comes near permethrin-treated clothing will quickly die, and you won’t have to slather anything on yourself!

Permethrin sprays for treating your clothes can be found in the camping sections of outdoor stores; one spray lasts through several washings. And a company called Insect Shield will sell you pre-treated clothing, or professionally treat clothes you send to them.

Don’t depend on DEET. Although this chemical repellent is effective against mosquitoes, it has little to no effect on ticks.