Fifty percent of Blacklegged (deer) ticks contain Lyme bacteria according to research from The University of Rhode Island. Viruses and disease that carry a five percent chance of infection are alarming, but a 50% probability should prompt all parents to take action.  Fortunately, like sunblock for sunburn and hand washing to reduce the spread of germs,  protective measures can be taken by practicing good tick hygiene. Additionally, Thermacell provides long term protection from ticks, which creates a much safer environment around your home.

Backyard camping offers a lot of great benefits, a way to test out new gear, or get your old gear tuned up for the season, or to introduce children to camping out.  There are a lot of benefits to camping near the house, the familiar setting and security of the backdoor lights can provide great comfort for new campers.

If you are concerned about Lyme Disease, you may consider camping in your backyard instead of the mountains or at the beach.  Ironically, backyards offer the highest probability of contacting infected ticks.  Scientists studying this debilitating disease indicate the most likely place of contraction is around your house, as you garden, mow grass, and or just enjoy the yard.  Annually, 300,000 new cases of Lyme Disease occur each year so the danger is very real.  Thermacell has been a household word for years in mosquito protection and now turns that experience toward a significant health problem- disease transmitted by ticks.

How Lyme Disease is Transmitted

We have long heard that deer carry ticks and help to spread these nasty creatures.  As deer move around, their blood-sucking parasites get a free ride and help disperse the creature and their threat to human health.  What you may not know is that immature ticks, the nymphs and larva, use mice as a host. One adult mice may have 50 to 100 ticks on its body.

Modern Living Helps Infection  

When our nation was founded, much of it was covered with large forests that included a host of mouse predators- foxes, owls, hawks, and others. Today, many suburban homes have trees, shrubbery, and perhaps tall grass, all completely devoid of predators.  As a result, mouse populations have exploded and so have the number of ticks that depend on them as a host.

Permethrin has a Problem

As a camper you probably know about Permethrin, the chemical that you put on your clothes to avoid mosquitoes and ticks. It not only repels insects and arachnids (the tick family), but kills them. The problem is, spraying your yards or surroundings with this chemical kills other insects that are human friendly and helpful. Plus, spraying adds chemicals to the environment and is expensive.

Introducing Thermacell Tick Tubes

Thermacell Tick Tubes are an ingenious way of introducing permethrin into the tick’s life cycle in a manner that kills them (fleas too) in a way that does not disturb other plants, insects, and animals. It even makes the mouse’s life more tolerable. A thermacell Tick Tube contains a favored bedding material for mice that has been treated to eliminate ticks.  You place them in “mousey” places around your hunting cabin, yard, or other areas where you will have high human activity.

Mice find the material and take it to their underground dens.  As the mice interact with the material, young ticks are killed and the young of the litter are not infected.  Once the ticks have been eradicated, the life cycle of the tick has been broken and the transfer of tick-carried disease has been stopped dead!

Research at Harvard

If you attended Harvard University, you’d be at the epicenter of Lyme Disease, so there is little wonder that this prestigious university has studied the problem. Whereas most studies usually end with “more research is needed,” this work done by scientists was crystal clear.  Here’s a quick synopsis:

Location and Background

  • A field test was done by Harvard University Researchers at The Crane Estate in Massachusetts.
  • There was a high incidence of Lyme disease in the area; roughly 35% of residents within a 5-mile distance and 66% of the residents bordering the area had contracted the disease.


  • In the area treated with Tick Tubes, virtually all mice were tick free within 3 weeks of the first application whereas mice in the untreated areas continued to have many ticks on them
  • After two year, tests were done to verify tick reduction in the environment; no nymphal ticks were found in the treated area, whereas many nymphal ticks were found in the untreated area.
  • Complaints from visitors and employees about tick-bites or ticks found on skin or clothing were common before the study began, but were rare after treatment.


  • Tick Tubes virtually eliminated ticks on mice and vegetation in the treated area (over 95%) contributing to the protection of humans against Lyme disease

Act Now

As a camper, you probably test new gear in your back yard or may have an RV site in a rural setting.  These are ideal locations to use tick logs and now is the time to act.   Protecting your home and recreational areas is critical because people are at the highest risk of  getting Lyme’s disease in May , June and July  from nymphal ticks that are no larger than a poppy seed.  According to the CDC’s Kiersten Kugeler most people catch Lyme around their homes, while gardening,  playing in their backyard or mowing the lawn.  Even an outdoor sleep-over can put your pets and family at risk.

UPDATE:  Thermacell contacted us with a coupon code for online sales for our subscribers.  Use Code:  TheCampingPage for free shipping on any orders over $30

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Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.