My Highlands horror tick experience - and how I removed the blood-sucking beastie

Ticks are nasty wee beasties which can cause a whole world of trouble for the unsuspecting rambler

I’ve been outside having fun, rolling about in the heather, communing with nature and cuddling Highland cows.

Getting up close to these iconic shaggy beasts was a great experience, life-affirming even. Who doesn’t need a bit of hairy coo love?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, during my romps I also formed an attachment with another, less adorable, critter. Or rather it became deeply attached to me. Literally.

It was a tick. The spidery wee mite was hooked, sucking the lifeblood right out of me. And I needed to get it off. Fast.

Speedy despatch

Removing ticks as swiftly as possible is advised by medics.

It’s thought to reduce the likelihood of contracting Lyme disease, a potentially debilitating illness that if left untreated can lead to an inflammatory condition that affects multiple parts of your body, including the skin, joints and nervous system.

Ticks don’t fly or jump – they crawl onto you when you brush against them in environments like forests or long grass, and heatherTicks don’t fly or jump – they crawl onto you when you brush against them in environments like forests or long grass, and heather
Ticks don’t fly or jump – they crawl onto you when you brush against them in environments like forests or long grass, and heather

Around one in 20 ticks is thought to carry the bacteria that causes the infection, which has been described as a “hidden epidemic” due to sufferers often going undiagnosed.

Nowadays there are multiple gizmos and gadgets designed for effective removal of the little blighters, from specialised tweezers to things that look like credit cards or resemble miniature shinty sticks with a notch cut out of them. I’ve tried a few over the years, and other tricks as well.

It’s true, the tools are pretty efficient when used correctly. Trying to smother them in butter, not so much.

I picked up a tick while romping through the heather and consorting with Highland coosI picked up a tick while romping through the heather and consorting with Highland coos
I picked up a tick while romping through the heather and consorting with Highland coos

But I can recommend an even simpler method that requires no implements, surgical skills or assistance, so can be deployed at any time or place – unless the tick is embedded in a particularly awkward spot.

The squeamish among you may want to look away now – a girl I knew found one fully plumbed in on her eyeball. Not sure about eyeballs, but my technique should work for most other sites.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ticks licked

Basically all you do is apply a dollop of your own spittle on top of the tick and massage in a circular motion. Keep doing that, adding more spit when necessary, and continuing rubbing until the bug lets go.

And it will, I am pleased to confirm, leaving no mark whatsoever, no dismembered limbs and no itchy patch.

Obviously people are advised to try not to pick up the pests in the first place.

Ticks don’t fly or jump. They crawl onto you when you brush against them in environments like forests and long grass – or heather.

To minimise the chances of picking up the unwanted guests, experts recommend sticking to paths and avoiding dense vegetation; covering your arms and legs and using insect repellent that works against ticks on exposed skin; wearing light-coloured clothing so the bugs stand out and can be more quickly removed; check yourself, your family and pets after a walk for any ticks, paying close attention to areas like the hairline, skin folds, behind the knees, between toes, navel, crotch and armpits.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.