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This program serves as a resource for accurate, unbiased information on pest management and on the prevention and education of tick-borne illnesses.

Tick Testing

Find a tick? Order a comprehensive TickReportTM and learn what disease causing microbes the tick may be carrying, including pathogens that cause Lyme disease.

The use of repellents can be a highly effective way to prevent tick bites and reduce the risk of getting any number of tick-borne diseases including Lyme, babesiosis and anaplasmosis. Although there are many products on the market, Permethrin is the only product that provides effective, long-lasting protection.

Permethrin is to be applied to clothing, including footwear, NOT skin. Highly effective at repelling/killing ticks. Effectiveness lasts through multiple washings. Pre-treated clothing is also on the market. This is a good complement to skin-applied repellents. EPA’s position is that treated clothing poses no immediate or long-term effects to toddlers, children, pregnant women or nursing mothers. Check out this short How-To video on applying Permethrin:


There are a number of permethrin products designed for different applications. Consumer should be careful to select product specially formulated for application to outerwear/camping gear.

Treating Clothing


Apply permethrin to your footwear every four weeks. This is very important during the summer months. Nymph stage deer ticks, the size of a poppy seed, are down in the leaf litter…the first place they attach to are your shoes. This is a great FIRST line tactic…Nymph stage ticks are responsible for 85% of all tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts.


Clothing Brands

Visit Insect Shield for insect repellant clothing and gear.


Where to Buy

Permethrin can be purchased at the local Hyannis Country Gardens, Agway, Mahoney’s Garden Center, Scenic Roots, Home Depot, and Amazon.com.

Click here to download our Repellent Guide.

Perimeter Yard Sprays

In addition to permethrin-treated clothing/footwear a perimeter yard spray creates a good 1-2 punch program.  Deer ticks are not found out in the open lawn…short grass, direct sunlight is a hostile environment for ticks.  At the edge of the yard where the grass might be in partial shade and transitions to brush, trees, leaf litter this is perfect tick habitat and is the area you want to treat.  This includes beneath woody ornamental plantings.


There are companies on the Cape that perform this as a service.¬† The product that they should be using is Talstar (active ingredient bifenthrin).¬† There are ‚Äúall natural‚ÄĚ products that are available but there are no research data to support that they are effective.¬† Besides being highly active against ticks bifenthrin is immobilized when it contacts leaves or soil particles so it will not wash off site or leach through the soil.¬† Product should not be applied around surface waters.

Applications are recommended for mid to late May and mid to late June when nymph stage ticks are active.  A fall spray in mid-October can be considered as this is when adult stage ticks emerge.

Homeowners can also do this themselves.  Garden centers carry a product under the Bonide brand.  Eight is a hose-end sprayer that contains the active ingredient permethrin.


Tick Tubes 

This product was designed to kill ticks on mice.  It consists of a cardboard tube which contain cotton balls treated with permethrin.  The product concept is that mice will remove the cotton balls and line their nest and self treat.

There were two studies done on this product.  Both studies demonstrated that the product had NO material impact on tick populations.  The papers can be found in the Research section of this website. It is a product that Larry Dapsis does not recommend.

Lyme Disease is the most prevalent infectious disease in Massachusetts and is now considered to be a public health crisis.  In addition to Lyme, deer ticks can carry the pathogens which cause Babesiosis, Anaplasmosis, Relapsing Fever and Powassan virus, all of which can be very serious and are on the increase.

This program will review the basic life cycle and ecology of deer ticks, incidence rates and distribution of tick-borne illnesses in addition to a database under development on infection rates of ticks.  A three point protection plan will be presented:  Protect Yourself, Protect Your Yard and Protect your Pet.  Tick-Borne Diseases are preventable.

Larry Dapsis ‚Äď Entomologist since age five‚ĶB.S.¬† Environmental Science & Biology at Fitchburg State University and M.S.¬† Entomology at the University of Massachusetts ‚Äď Amherst.¬† Thirty-five years of professional pest management experience including Vegetables, Cranberries and Household Insects.¬† Joined Cape Cod Cooperative Extension in 2011 as Deer Tick Project Coordinator and Entomologist and is a member of the Barnstable County Task Force on Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases.

Contact Larry Dapsis for scheduling.

We have a collection of resources to educate and inform the public about ticks, bites, and prevention. Click on the item to download, or contact us to send you some.

Tick Rack Card

News You Can Use

County Entomologist Larry Dapsis Talks Ticks on the Pat Desmarais Show

ūüē∑ÔłŹDid you catch County Entomologist on the Pat Desmarais show last Sunday? They had a great discussion about ticks – including the companies that offer yard sprays! If you missed […]

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Ticks & Entomology

The Extension deer tick project works to prevent tick borne illnesses, including Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis via education, surveillance and deer tick intervention on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and […]

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Need help trying to identify a bug? Problems with an infestation in your home or garden?

You can bring insect specimens into the Cooperative Extension office for identification and further assistance. Our office is located in the Barnstable County Deeds & Probate Building at 3195 Main St. in West Barnstable.

You can also fill out the form below, providing as much detailed info the insect and/or infestation, and attach an image of the specimen. Larry Dapsis, Barnstable County Entomologist, will be in touch regarding your inquiry.

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    Larry Dapsis, County Entomologist and Deer Tick Project Coordinator

    Entomologist since age five‚ĶB.S. Environmental Science & Biology at Fitchburg State University and M.S. Entomology at the University of Massachusetts ‚Äď Amherst. Thirty-four years of professional pest management experience including Vegetables, Cranberries and Household Insects. Joined Cape Cod Cooperative Extension in 2011 as Deer Tick Project Coordinator and Entomologist and is a member of the Barnstable County Task Force on Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases.

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