How to Prevent Leeches: 6 Ways to Keep Leeches Away

CC0 Public Domain
CC0 Public Domain

When it comes to Leeches there seems to be one that covers every environment, some like water and others like damp forests where they can fall on you as you walk under them or brush past them or you can get them on you while you wade or swim a river or pool.

CC0 Public Domain

To a large degree, there’s not a lot to worry about if I leech does get on to you, they’ve usually taken their fill of blood in about 20 minutes and will just fall off, most of the complications that arise are from people trying to remove a leech and it not going well, you need to be careful if you’re trying to get one off and if you’re unsure, just leave it in place for a few minutes.

You are unlikely to feel a leech attach itself due to the small amount of anesthetic that they inject into the bite area.

If you’re in an area that’s prone to leeches, it’s worth checking your body as they like the moist places such as your groin, behind your legs and under breasts.

1) Tuck your shirt into your pants and your pants tucked into your boots.

This will limit the leech getting to your belly, armpits and anywhere warm. There’re some small leeches so this doesn’t always work as they can even get through the weave of your socks but it helps.

2) Wear leech socks.

As we’ve just said, some leeches can get through some very small spaces so wearing leech socks helps prevent this and protect your feet.

3) Use some strong insect repellent.
You need to get hold of something like DEET or the equivalent and apply it to your, feet, legs – up to your knees and all the exposed skin you have such as wrists and neck, which are places they can get under your clothes.

4) Apply salt onto your hands or any exposed area.

Leeches seem to like salt about the same amount as slugs so washing in salt water can help as can applying salt to a leech that’s already attached to you.

5) Tobacco leaves & Tobacco water.

Get hold of some tobacco leaves and soak them in water, after they’ve infused the water you can apply the water with a spray bottle. Some say that just having some tobacco in your socks can help deter leeches.

6) Check your clothing and your pack before putting them on; they tend to be warm from your body, and this could well attract them.


jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival