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Make Your Own Tick Repellent


On a recent Facebook post, Nebraska Conservation Officer Dina Barta of Lincoln indicated that she is hearing many complaints of ticks this spring. Me, too, Dina! She prompted me to relay to you the blog post I did a year ago containing the homemade, natural tick preventative solution from my friends at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  I spend countless hours in Nebraska’s outdoor scene and have used it successfully, no ticks! I would encourage you to make it and give it a try! Here’s the blog post.

BLOG: In the Wild.

TITLE: Tick Magnet; I Just Need to Use My Goo!

POSTED BY: Greg Wagner May 10,  2013.

WOW! The ticks are sure out in full force this spring! I have flicked so many ticks off my 50-year old body this spring, that I’ve lost count on the overall number. What a tick magnet I am, HA!

Ticks are part of Nebraska’s environment, say UNL Entomologists, and shouldn’t stop any of us from pursuing our favorite outdoor activities this time of year — turkey huntin’, morel mushroom pickin’, bird watchin’, fishin’, etc. Interestingly, according to UNL Extension Educators, wet springs make for ideal tick conditions and favor tick survival.

We just need to take the necessary precautions from gettin’ these little boogers to crawlin’ on us and embeddin’ in our skin. Some people think ticks fall from trees, but this is a widespread old wives’ tale. Ticks do not typically fall from trees, but come off tall grasses and low shrubs. You may find them before they attach themselves because of their practice of wandering and searching to find a suitable place to feed on a warm-blooded animal such as us!

To prevent tick problems, the experts from UNL’s School of Natural Resources say wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants with tight fitting cuffs when in tick-infested areas. Use insect repellent materials that are safe and proven for use against ticks. Inspect your body after being in an area where ticks are common. Remove any that you find. Never use heat or flames to remove a tick, and do not twist a tick’s body. Gently and directly pull the tick from the skin and apply antiseptic.

So, I thought no better time than the present to pass along that safe, inexpensive recipe that we can make at home to repel those annoying critters – ticks, plus gnats, chiggers and mosquitoes. I’ve been procrastinating on making my own mixture this spring so shame, shame on me!  I received this recipe a bunch of years back from friends who work in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). You know their mosquitoes in Minnesota can reach the size of hummingbirds, don’t ya’? Naa, just kiddin’. Here’s the recipe for you to blend there at home and use. It’s safe for you as well as your pets. It smells good, too! I’m making it tonight. Some folks call this mixture  “Greg’s Goo.” The recipe:

2 Cups White Vinegar

1 Cup Avon Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil

1 Cup Of Water

1 Tablespoon of Eucalyptus Oil

Some of my buddies who are accomplished woodsmen also suggest adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture for even more potency. Put all this in a spray bottle, shake, then apply. If sweating occurs, you’ll have to reapply.

See you out there, toting  and using my goo, of course! Don’t leave home without it or you may have these tiny critters a crawlin’ on ya’!

About Greg Wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!


  1. For some reason I’ve only had one tick, here in SE Minnesota. But I know them well. I can’t use your highly fragrant remedy because of allergies. But I know this: You have to put your socks over your pants legs. Or go barelegged so you can see them. After being outdoors, a nice long bath will send them all crawling upward to where you can pick them off. (And twisting works just fine, never had an infection yet.)

  2. THANK_YOU really appreciate it hate store bought sprays

  3. Been usin’ Dr. Wagners Skeeter Beater concoction since “last century”! Took it with me on a fishing/rafting adventure on the Stuyahok River in “Uninhabited Territories” in south central Alaska.

    WORKED GREAT although re-applying was a constant.

    Only problem, it SMELLED GOOD! Was happy I brought my one-man tent and didn’t have to bunk with the other two guys! Ha Ha Ha Ha …(sorry)

    Harold F.

  4. I haven’t done this in years but while in the Army it was strongly suggested by our drill instructors to eat one match head every day from our MRE’s. The reason was that the sulfur from the match would keep us from getting bit by mosquitoes and ticks. I did it and I don’t remember ever being bothered by anything other than fireants. Unfortunately you don’t see a lot of matchbooks these days. I have no idea how safe it is to ingest the sulfur but given everything else we ingest these days that we call food….

    • Not to doubt our fine U.S. Army Drill Instructors, but I don’t think I would not recommend this due to health implications. I have never heard of this being done to prevent getting bitten by ticks or mosquitoes. Perhaps we could have someone else (a survival expert) weigh in regarding the ingestion of match head daily to stop insect bites. Thanks much for visiting the blog site!

      “Wags” — Greg Wagner

  5. Rebecca Cooley

    You got me at Skin So Soft. the one Avon product I am allergic to. Darn. Had a tick on me last night.

    • Instead of the Avon Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil, you might try or consider adding two tablespoons of vegetable or almond oil to the mixture, which both contain some sulfur (a supposed natural tick repellent). Good luck, Rebecca!

      “Wags” — Greg Wagner

  6. Rosemary Dageforde

    Won’t this also work to repel mosquitos?

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