For many homeowners, there’s nothing more pesky and worrisome than a horde of ticks. These tiny pests can carry tickborne diseases like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among others, making them a significant health and safety risk. Fortunately, tick prevention and elimination is possible.
Below, we’ll outline how to get rid of ticks quickly and effectively. Following these tips can help your yard stay tick-free all year long.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mowing your lawn frequently and keeping your yard free of tall grassy areas is necessary for tick reduction.
Ticks like to live in grassy, brushy, and wooded areas. Keeping grass short ensures they don’t have a habitat to live in. It also makes it difficult for ticks to hide from predators. Try mowing the lawn at least once a week during peak growth season to prevent ticks from settling in.
Much like tall grasses, piles of leaves or brush can also easily become home to ticks. Any dead or dying plant material that sits in your yard can fall under the umbrella of “leaf litter.” These often moist and earthy areas are prime real estate spots for ticks.
Remove leaf litter to limit how many ticks take residence in your yard. Also, remove other debris that ticks may hide in, like wood chips or mulch piles.
Keep plant material in tightly sealed bags and dispose of it properly to limit tick populations.
All of the tick prevention work in the world can be rendered useless by a lack of boundaries. Prevent unwelcome animal visitors from entering your yard and carrying ticks with them by fencing in your yard. This can also help control the growth of grasses and the spread of debris that might house ticks.
Ticks need to eat animal blood to survive. That means unwanted animal presence on your property may also introduce ticks to your yard.
Do your best to discourage local wildlife from entering your yard. A solid, tall fence can help, as can ensuring any potential draws (like exposed food or water) are removed or blocked off.
Different species of ticks may target different hosts throughout their lives, so no matter how big or small they may be, wild animals can be a source of pests.
Some plants have chemicals that act as natural tick repellents. These plants may produce chemicals that keep ticks away or deter small animals (like raccoons, mice, squirrels, etc.) that ticks like to live on.
Using tick-repelling chemicals to your advantage is a smart way to protect yourself and your property. They can significantly affect the ticks they target, too. For instance, research shows that essential oil from rosemary plants can actually inhibit tick reproduction.
Other plants often cited as deterrents for tick populations include lavender, eucalyptus, sage, lemongrass, and mint. These plants can also be used as a tick spray applied to certain areas of the yard, fencing, etc., as needed.
You can create a DIY tick repellent by mixing a few drops of an oil of your choice (rosemary, cedar, etc.) into an ounce of water. Gently shake your mixture in a spray bottle before applying regularly.
Pesticides can be used to effectively limit tick populations in and around the home. When using insecticides or similar chemicals of any kind, always be sure to follow label instructions carefully.
It’s also wise to check in with local health and agricultural officials to learn the best times to apply pesticides in your area. Work with officials to determine the best pesticide types to use and learn about any local regulations that might affect you.
Regularly check yourself, your family, and your pets for signs of ticks or tick bites after spending time outdoors. Remember that pets can carry ticks into the home. When this happens, ticks can spread to bite humans, too.
Aside from checking bodies thoroughly for ticks after coming inside, it’s also key to regularly inspect the area and perimeter of your yard for ticks or tick habitats. Pay close attention to moist areas, wood piles, tall grass, and any high-traffic areas (such as near playground equipment or walking paths).
While you may not be able to spot ticks themselves very easily from far away, you can pinpoint areas that might attract them.
When at-home tick prevention and removal solutions aren’t enough, it may be time to seek professional help. Pest control services from experienced professionals can help you control ticks in your yard and remedy even the most widespread infestations.
A severe tick problem requires expertise and specific strategies to remedy, so it’s better to count on established pest management services rather than trying to manage things independently. A pro can learn where ticks may be coming from, discover what attracts them to your yard, and create the best plan for targeting ticks once and for all.
FDA-approved tick treatment products designed for pets can help families safely protect their pets and themselves from tick bites. Popular name-brand treatments include options like NexGard and Frontline Plus. Some products are formulated to protect dogs from both fleas and ticks. Talk to your veterinarian to find the best tick treatment for your pet.
Their size and habits make ticks difficult to spot. Ticks discreetly find potential hosts by detecting animals’ breath or body odors – they can even sense body heat. Their feeding strategies involve finding a hiding place and waiting after identifying well-traveled areas. Once a host is spotted, they climb aboard.
Essentially, ticks are good at identifying where hosts are and will be, including your patio or yard. They’re also prone to living in habitats that are common in yards, like tall grass or leaf litter. Tick activity can fly under the radar until it’s too late.