Can Ticks Bite Through Jeans?


As summer approaches we need to start preparing for tick season. Ticks can cause serious health problems, but bites can be prevented with the right pair of pants. This leads to the question, “Can Ticks Bite Through Jeans?”.

Ticks usually can’t bite through jeans, but they can crawl around them to bite exposed skin. You can minimize risk by covering up your ankles with full length jeans and long socks. Make sure you check exposed skin for bites after spending time outdoors.

There’s more to preventing tick bites than wearing long jeans. You need to avoid tick filled areas and spot ticks before they cause symptoms of Lyme Disease. The rest of this article will help you prevent and find tick bites before they cause serious health issues.

Ticks Can’t Bite Through Jeans: Why Should I Worry?

With more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme Disease per year, Lyme disease is a serious problem in the United States. All it takes is a single tick bite to get infected. It can be cured with antibiotics, but it needs to caught early.

Experts recommend covering up your legs, wearing long sleeves, and tucking your pants into your socks. That line of thinking is great in theory, but it won’t prevent all bites.

A tick that lands on your jeans will crawl up or down your body until they find exposed skin. It’s all about minimizing risk and finding ticks before they cause problems.

Clothes to Avoid Ticks

  • Light colored clothing makes it easier to spot ticks.
  • Tuck pants into your socks for additional protection
  • Long sleeve shirts if you can. A T-Shirt will work in hot weather but you need to check areas with exposed skin
  • Boots and Hiking Shoes
  • Long Socks (I Prefer Smartwool Socks for hiking)

Do All Pants Prevent Tick Bites?

It doesn’t matter what type of pants you wear, they all help prevent tick bites. The good news is, ticks can’t burrow through clothing! However, they can crawl around your clothes to bite exposed skin.

Start checking your body for ticks after you head inside. Start at your ankles and work your way up. Look wherever you have exposed skin. Pay special attention to your ankles, underarms, hairline and behind ears, waist, between legs and behind the knees.

Take a shower within 2 hours of hiking outside. It won’t remove ticks that are embedded in your skin but it will wash away any that are still crawling around.

Feel around for bumps and use a hand mirror to check yourself out or ask a friend to check irregularities. Here are the common signs of tick bites. Check out the CDC Lyme Disease Page for more info.

Early Signs: First 30 Days After Tick Bite

  • Fever, chills, headache, general fatigue, and muscle and joint pain
  • Rash at the site of your tick bite that expands gradually. It will expand gradually up to 1 ft wide and may look like a bullseye.

Later Signs: Months After Bite

  • Severe Headaches, Dizziness, Shortness of Breath, heart palpitations and Stiffness in the Neck
  • Additional rashes as the infection spreads across your body
  • Facial Palsy and a lack of muscle tone in your face. You might see drooping on one side.
  • Severe joint pain that feels like arthritis. You might have swelling in the knees and elbows.
  • Shooting pains, numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Other common symptoms of nerve pain as inflammation occurs in the spine and brain

You need to go see a doctor if you’ve been exposed to ticks. Lyme Disease is a very serious illness that needs to be treated fast.

Look For Products Containing DEET

We’ve all heard the horror stories about bug sprays containing DEET, but they’re the only products proven to work against ticks. I really like the OFF! Deep Woods Insect repellent. It works against ticks, mosquitos, chiggers and most other biting insects.

Permethrin sprays are considered safer than DEET, but they don’t work as well. It’s still worth spraying your jeans down with a permethrin spray (my favorite) even if it’s not as good as DEET.

Keep An Eye On Your Pets

Dogs and Cats can get Lyme Disease just like humans. Watch for ticks burrowed under your dogs fur and check between their toes. Don’t forget to use a flea and tick product like Frontline Plus.

Avoid Areas With Ticks

Avoiding areas where ticks thrive should be your first line of defense. I know that’s easier said than done.

The good news is, ticks can’t fly or jump. So you have to physically rub up on whatever shrub, grass or weed they’re perched on. Avoiding their nesting ground is 99% of the battle.

Ticks love wooded areas with tall grass and lots of shrubs. Anywhere that will allow them to grab onto animals. Remember that there’s only so much you can do to avoid ticks. Wear right the right clothes and try to stay vigilant.

Check Your Gear

It really helps to get into the habit of checking all your gear right as you get home. You don’t want to carry ticks into your house.

Keep your gear in the garage after a long camping trip. Toss clothes in the washer and dryer on hot settings to kill ticks.

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