Tick Prevention in Australia

Aug 27, 2023 3 min

Discover essential tick prevention strategies for an Australian summer. Learn how to prevent tick bites during outdoor activities.

tick warning sign in forest

When summer arrives in Australia, the great outdoors beckons with irresistible allure. From camping and hiking to beach days and backyard BBQs, there's an abundance of activities to enjoy. 

However, this season also marks the prime time for ticks, creating concerns for individuals and families, especially those with young children. 

But worry not, understanding the mechanics of tick prevention can go a long way in ensuring your summer is not hampered by these pesky critters.

A Closer Look at Ticks in Australia

Australia is home to over 70 species of ticks, and only a few are harmful to humans. The most concerning for humans is the paralysis tick, which can transmit diseases and cause tick paralysis. These small arachnids thrive in warm weather, making summer a prime time for their activity.

Ticks, contrary to popular belief, can't fly or jump. They use a behaviour known as 'questing,' where they climb to the tip of grass or shrubs and wait with outstretched legs for a host to pass by. 

They are drawn to carbon dioxide, body heat, and vibrations, making humans an attractive target.

Understanding their behaviour is the first step to prevent tick bites. The time of day, the environment, and even the clothes you wear can influence the likelihood of a tick encounter. 

Ticks are most active during the early morning and late afternoon. They are most active during periods of high humidity, especially after rainy periods. They thrive in moist, shaded environments, especially areas with long grass.

How Does Tick Prevention Work?

Preventing tick bites is a multi-faceted process that requires both personal protection measures and proactive environmental management. 

Understanding the habits of ticks, their prime season, and their favoured habitats can arm you with the knowledge you need to avoid these tiny creatures and the potential health problems they carry.

Personal Protection Strategies

Protecting yourself starts with the clothes you wear. When you're planning to spend time in environments where ticks may be present, such as bushland or tall grassy areas, the right clothing can offer a strong line of defence. 

Dress in light-coloured clothing to make ticks easier to spot and cover as much skin as possible with long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes. 

Tucking pants into socks might not be the height of fashion, but it can provide an extra layer of protection against ticks.

Applying an insect repellent is another vital prevention measure. Repellents containing DEET or picaridin have been proven to be effective against ticks. 

Apply repellent to exposed skin and clothing, taking care to follow the instructions on the product label for safe and effective use. Remember to reapply as directed, especially during long periods outdoors.

Another personal protection strategy, and a vital one at that, is regular body checks. After spending time outdoors, particularly in tick-favoured habitats, check your body thoroughly for ticks. 

They can be tiny, about the size of a poppy seed, so pay close attention and use a mirror or ask for help to inspect hard-to-see areas. Don't forget to check your children and pets as well.

Environmental Management Strategies

The environment where you live, work, and play can significantly influence your risk of tick bites. Managing these environments to make them less appealing to ticks can be an effective prevention strategy.

In your yard, maintain a well-kept lawn and prune overgrown vegetation, as ticks prefer long grass and dense foliage. Removing leaf litter and clearing out undergrowth can also reduce tick-friendly habitats. 

These measures not only make it less likely for ticks to inhabit your yard but also make it harder for them to transfer onto you or your pets.

If you live adjacent to wooded or bushland areas, consider creating a tick-safe zone in your yard. This can be a buffer of gravel or wood chips between your lawn and the wooded area, which can discourage ticks from crossing into your yard.

For pet owners, tick prevention is an essential part of pet care. Regularly check your pets for ticks, especially after they've been outdoors. Use tick control products, such as tick collars, sprays, or topical treatments, as part of your pet's routine care. 

Remember, pets can carry ticks into your home, so protecting them also helps protect you and your family.

Camping and Tick Management

You may think that while camping, you’ll have less control of your surroundings. However, there are still things you can do to manage your environment. 

When camping, choose your campsite wisely. Ticks prefer wooded and grassy areas, so setting up camp in open, well-travelled locations can reduce your risk. 

Use ground coverings or a tent with a floor to prevent ticks from climbing onto you while you're sleeping. Maintain the habit of using insect repellent and dressing protectively even when camping. 

Ticks can be active day and night, so it's important to stay protected at all times. Consider treating your camping gear with a product containing a tick repellent for added protection.

Develop a routine of checking for ticks daily while camping. This is particularly important because the prolonged exposure to tick habitats increases the chance of ticks latching on. Promptly removing ticks can prevent the transmission of tick-borne diseases.

Lastly, manage your food and waste properly. Food can attract animals that might carry ticks into your campsite.

Tick Bite First Aid: What to do if You get Bitten

Even with the best prevention efforts, tick bites can occur. Knowing how to correctly remove a tick is crucial in minimising the risk of disease transmission.

The recommended process for removing a tick is to kill ticks where they (do not disturb them) and freezing them with ether-containing sprays such as a Medi Freeze Tick Off. The special design of the device and unique, easy to use application method make the device particularly suitable for home use. The tick should fall off after freezing. Remember, always read the label and follow the directions for use.

Following removal, the bite area and your hands should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, and then an antiseptic should be applied.

Keep an eye on the bitten area for several weeks and seek medical attention if you experience symptoms like a rash, fever, joint pain, or flu-like symptoms, as these could be signs of a tick-borne disease.


Ticks may be a small creature, but their potential impact on health should not be underestimated. 

Tick prevention isn't just about avoiding an uncomfortable bite; it's about safeguarding your summer fun and protecting yourself and your loved ones from the potential diseases that ticks carry. 

With the right information and precautions, you can enjoy all that the Australian summer has to offer with peace of mind. Remember, when it comes to ticks, prevention is always better than cure.