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Ask The Biologist

What’s a Noob To Do?Bob Humphrey is the Biology & Deer Behavior field editor for Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine and holds similar titles with other major hunting publications.

He currently lives in Maine with his wife and two children. For more information about Bob, visit his website at

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Bug Problems

QUESTION: I live in the middle of the coast range in Oregon. I have always given my dogs brewers yeast with garlic and never had fleas or ticks. This year we have had both deer and elk in our yard almost every night. My dog now has fleas. Is this from the deer and elk? Both my dog and I have had deer ticks on us that we have removed. What can I do about the fleas and ticks? — Lola G.

Bug Problems

ANSWER: We had a similar question last year so I’ll include part of the answer that is applicable.

Several factors affect ecto-parasite loads in deer. One is climate. Warmer climates are more favorable to ecto-parasites like fleas and ticks. Mild winters also allow more to survive, procreate and infests hosts the following fall.

The pests you’re encountering could be from the deer and elk (assuming their presence is a new phenomenon). It could be climatological. It could be a combination of both; or it could be something entirely different. I really can’t say without further analysis.

As to what you can do, I would suggest consulting your veterinarian for advice about your dog. They may prescribe a more potent remedy than yeast and garlic.

As for yourself, there are several options. You can spray your clothing with a topical solution of Permethrin, which is sold under several trade names like Repel and Duranon. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions. Spray it on your clothing, not your body, then let them dry before wearing. A topical application should last several weeks.

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