Why do some people never seem to get bitten by ticks, while others are absolute tick-magnets? Are there certain human traits that attract or repel ticks? Yes, there are! By understanding how ticks detect their prey, we can understand why some individuals are more likely than others to attract ticks.
Do Ticks Hunt By Smell?
Ticks use scent to find their prey. These disease-carrying arachnids aren’t able to fly. Instead, they wait for a potential blood meal to pass, then crawl onto their quarry and begin feeding.
Ticks don’t have scent-finding antennae like insects; instead, they have a structure on their forelegs called a Haller’s organ . This tiny sensory pit “smells” chemicals like carbon dioxide, ammonia, and pheromones, emitted by the breath and bodies of potential prey. The Haller’s organ also detects infrared light and humidity, allowing them to hone in on the body heat of nearby creatures that could provide them with a delicious blood meal.
What Are Ticks Attracted To?
- Are ticks attracted to body odors?
- Does perfume attract ticks?
- Are ticks attracted to people with diabetes?
- Do ticks prefer a blood type?
Ticks are primarily attracted to the smell of your body and breath. The stronger your scent, the easier it is for them to find you.
Unlike many other bugs (hello, mosquitoes!), ticks aren’t generally attracted to synthetic scents in perfumes, colognes, laundry products, and deodorants. However, they may be attracted to perfumes containing certain natural ingredients, like musk oil. If you plan to be outdoors, it’s wise to forego perfume. Even if it doesn’t attract ticks, it can attract other pests.
There is a common perception that ticks smell sugars in the blood of diabetics, but there is no scientific evidence to support this. What is scientifically supported is that diabetics may have worse outcomes from tick bites due to potentially weaker immune systems. This is a general tendency, and every individual will have different results based on their health.
This tick-attraction theory has a lot of support. Scientists have determined that type A blood is the most appealing to ticks, followed by type O and type AB, and type B blood is the least attractive to ticks. In a recent study, 36 percent of the ticks gravitated to type A blood, with only 15 percent being drawn to the type B sample. If you have one of the more tick-friendly blood types, your risk for tick bites and tickborne disease may be higher, and you should plan outdoor activities accordingly.
What Smells Do Ticks Hate?
Ticks find many scents unpleasant, and a few drops of citrus, spice, or herbal essential oil can help repel ticks. Some scents that may deter ticks include –
- rose geranium,
- citronella, and
- clove bud.
Because they aren’t 100 percent effective, these scents are best used in conjunction with other tick prevention measures .
East End Tick Control® Is Your Go-To Authority On Ticks
No one wants to worry about any ticks on their property, no matter their tick-attraction quotient. Protect yourself, your family, and your pets from these disease-carrying pests by requesting a free estimate or by calling our Southampton office at (631) 287-9700, our East Hampton office at (631) 324-9700, or our Southold office at (631) 765-9700.