Leech Fix!

Some time ago, I read that leeches can not tolerate Menthol (a blend of mint oils) and finally got a chance to try it out yesterday. Since learning that, my thwart bag has held a tube of COBigelow Medicated Mentha Lip Remedy (2% Peppermint Oil- I work for a lip balm Manufacturer). Karen and I spent the weekend on Round Lake in the Adirondacks and our afternoon swim yielded a leech attached to my right foot. I squirted a line from head to tail and the leech quickly detatched and fell into the water frantically trying to get the stuff off him. Works good as a lip balm as well, non-toxic, and easy to keep handy.


less toxic than DEET which works too. OTOH I always have bug spray in my PFD…

Allegheny River Leeches
I paddled on the Allegheny River between Tidioute and Tionesta every evening for a week, two weeks ago. I was in shock when three of those times, while cleaning the canoe, I found leeches on it. I have been swimming and canoeing on that stretch of river since 1956 and have never seen a leech. I don’t know if this is something new or if I have just been lucky. If any one of my three daughters comes out of the water with a leech I doubt if they will ever want to go in that river again. Is there anything that will prevent attachment? I watched the African Queen video after I found the first one. SALT was what they used to remove them. Is there any thing else that will will work?


more fun, 100% organic
Leeches don’t like to be abraded, and given a chance, they will move to an area where they won’t be jostled. So the technique is: touch the leech (with your finger! (this is the fun part)) and move its free end back and forth a few times. Then sit back and wait. In a few seconds, it will decide the coast is clear, and it will start to feel around with its free end, looking for a better place. Once it finds a place it likes, it will detach its mouth end, to relocate. At that exact moment, you pluck it away – toward your little sister if you’ve planned ahead.

– Mark


– Last Updated: Jul-07-08 1:07 PM EST –

A few years ago someone here posted that leeches indicate good water quality. This weekend I browsed through a water quality exhibit in which a pamphlet stated that leeches indicate not-so-good water quality.

Either way, they gross me out. As a kid I remember putting salt on a slug, which might kill the leech (I don't know). It DISSOLVED the slug into an ugly stain on my friend's porch's cement floor. The mother had a fit about that.

I googled this
and found it works. They say don’t use salt, chemical, pull off etc, as this makes the leech vomit it’s stomach contents which have nasty germs in it and cause infection.

I get a knife or finger nail (similar object with a flat edge) and lever under the leeches mouth piece which breaks the seal/suction and the leech comes unstuck. Then you have to flick it off.

Works well or at least on Australia leeches.