My family has done an outside outing and discovered a
reasonable amount of ticks had been carried home with us (although 1 that
we know of bit a family member). Can you drown a tick? If so, how long
does it need to be underwater? There are ticks in our clothing that we
immediatley took off (at home) and are washing. Is it safe to believe
the ticks are dead when the clothes come out of the wash? Or does my
family have to search for them and kill?
Like other tiny insects, ticks have a relatively low oxygen use compared to
us - a small bubble of air lasts a long time for them-, so it's often very
difficult to drown them in water. Detergents like laundry soap when added to
the water can be effective since it penetrates their breathing passages.
Laundering clothes with a good detergent and hot water should kill them.
Even more effective are organic solvents like oils, kerosene, lighter fluid,
dry cleanig fluid and similar compounds but you need to be very careful in
using them since they are also toxic and flammable. Another alternative
would be to ask someone who owns a pet shop. When they give pets baths to
rid them of ticks & fleas, what kind of soap do they use and is it also safe
for human use.
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Update: June 2012