There are an estimated 899 species of blood-sucking parasitic ticks found all over the world, and they outnumber humans by the billions. These ticks can invade your home and yard and transmit blood-borne diseases in humans and animals alike.
However, there is no need to panic. If you are suffering from a tick infestation, go ahead and bookmark this guide. Here, you will learn about:
- 9 ways to get rid of ticks at home
- 4 types of chemical pesticides for ticks
- 8 ways of getting rid of ticks in your backyard
- 4 ways to prevent ticks from getting access to your yard and home
- How to remove a tick from your skin
Table of Contents
- 9 Ways to Get Rid Of Ticks At Home
- 4 Types of Chemical Pesticides for Ticks
- 8 Ways of Getting Rid Of Ticks in Your Backyard
- 4 Ways to Prevent Ticks from Getting Access to your Yard and Home
- How To Remove A Tick From your Skin
9 Ways to Get Rid Of Ticks At Home
If you have spotted even a single tick in your home, you need to take immediate action. If your tick outbreak becomes large enough, it may take several months to get rid of the problem. By using a mix of chemical, natural and DIY treatments, you can regain control of your home.
De-clutter Your Home
Ticks can come from the outside by grabbing a ride on your pet’s coat and ending up inside your home. Most ticks prefer warm and dry conditions, and they find ample spots in your home which provide them with these ideal conditions. Usually, these places involve stuffed items in your linen closet, dirty laundry and other clutter around the home. If you want to reduce the infestation grounds, you need to start de-cluttering your home.
Keep Your Home Clean
After reducing and storing away the knick-knacks in your home properly, you need to clean your entire house from top to bottom. Dust out all the objects, clean your shelves, sweep and mop the floor, as well as vacuum the carpets, drapes, and sofas. Your vacuum cleaner is one of the best ways to get rid of ticks in your house. You can use it to suck up ticks from your upholstery and even your mattress. Make sure you throw away the vacuum bag after use as it may contain tick eggs.
Do Laundry in Hot Water
Ticks like to attach themselves to dirty clothes and bed linens, so avoid throwing your dirty clothes to the floor. Place all your dirty clothes in the washing machine as not to contaminate other clothes in the laundry hamper. Use hot water to wash away and kill the ticks. For those fabrics that cannot be washed using hot water, your washer’s dryer can do the job just as well.
Keep your Pet Bedding Clean
Many ticks may also move on over to your pet’s bedding as well and hide in the pillows and mattress. Make sure you vacuum your pet’s bedding regularly and wash it with hot water as well. You can also spray it with a natural formula designed to keep ticks at bay.
Check your Pet for Flea Infestation
Brush your pet’s coat regularly and look for signs of fleas in its coats. Also keep a close watch on your pet to see if it is behaving unusually, like biting or scratching itself. This may be a sign that it has fleas. To effectively deal with this problem you need to first physically remove any ticks you see crawling on your pet’s fur.
Tick Treatment for Pet
If you have spotted a large outbreak in your pet’s fur, treat it with fast-acting oral tablets or topical medications, containing fipronil, indoxacarb, imidacloprid, or nitenpryram, which can quickly repel and kill ticks. You should also invest in a good tick collar for your cat or dog, which not only repels ticks but also kills the biting adults, their larvae and eggs. Some collars can keep away ticks for as many as 8 months. Before administrating any of these treatments on your pet, make sure it does not suffer from any adverse side-effects. Also, consult your vet to find out if a certain medication is suitable for your pet.
Use Natural Repellant In Your Home
Natural repellants are a good way to repel ticks from anyplace of concern. There are several eco-friendly brands in the market which offer non-toxic, all-natural products to fight off ticks. You can spray these around your home, without worrying that they will harm your children or pets.
Made up of fossilized marine microorganisms, diatomaceous earth is a potent desiccant that kills pests by drying them from the inside out and cracking open their exoskeleton. Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be spread around the bedposts, carpets, windows, and doorways. Since it is non-toxic, your children should be safe in the area. However, do not allow pets and kids to ingest the substance. A drawback of using diatomaceous earth is that ticks can only be killed when they make direct contact with it. Let the substance sit on surfaces for a week and then vacuum it up along with dead ticks.
Use Chemical Pesticides as a Last Resort
Despite doing all of this, if you still believe that there are still some surviving ticks and eggs in the house, it is time to take out the big guns a.k.a chemical insecticides. Many of these insecticides contain harsh toxins like bifenthrin and permethrin that are very effective in killing ticks but are also harmful to humans and animals. For your family’s safety, only use poisonous pesticides for spot treatment in your home where you suspect the biggest infestation is and don’t spray or sprinkle them all over the house. Also, evacuate the rooms before application and don’t let children or pets come into the room for the next 24 to 48 hours. Keep all chemical insecticides out of reach of children.
4 Types of Chemical Pesticides for Ticks
There are several types of chemical pesticides for ticks available in the market. You should try to limit these to outside use as they contain harsh toxins. You also need to exercise caution during application to ensure the substance does not get onto your hands or does not flow into open water bodies.
Tick Tubes — To Get Rid of Ticks in Yard
Tick tubes allow birds, mice, and other rodents to become tick killers, instead of hosts. Tick tubes are made of biodegradable material and filled with cotton balls that are treated with permethrin, which can kill ticks. Hence, when mice bring these cotton balls to make their nest, they come in direct contact with permethrin, causing them to be covered in it. When ticks attach themselves to mice to feed on their blood, they get killed.
The best times to use permethrin is during the months of July and August when larvae are hatched and looking for their first blood meal. They can also be reapplied in spring when nymphs, the second stage of ticks, start to appear. Permethrin is also waterproof so the tube ticks won’t be rendered ineffective by the rain. However, be sure to keep them away from open waterways as they are toxic to fish.
The downside of these tick tubes is that they have limited effectiveness, as other rodents, like squirrels and chipmunks, which also carry ticks, do not use cotton balls to make their nests.
Ticker Killer Sprays — To Get Rid of Ticks on Walls and Furniture
Tick sprays are very fast, convenience and the go-to way to kill ticks. These are great for when you see these tiny insects crawling inside your home, especially on far-reaching places like walls. These sprays kill on contact, and their fumes can spread in the room and get rid of other ticks as well as insects like mites, fleas, cockroaches, and silverfish as well. Some of these products also come equipped with Insect Growth Regulators (IGR) which is extremely effective in killing larvae and eggs by preventing them from growing.
The downside is that many of these pesticides contain active ingredients like phenothrin, pyriproxyfen, bifenthrin and piperonyl butoxide, which are also toxic in nature. Children and pets should stay away from the room where this pesticide is being applied, and these toxins are also deadly to fish.
Tick Pesticide Dust — To Get Rid of Ticks in Cracks and Crevices
Since many ticks love to hide in dry and dark conditions, cracks, crevices, and tiny nook and crannies can become their resting place in your home. To get inside hard to reach places, you can use good quality pest dust that contains active ingredients such as pyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, and silica gel, preferably that come in puffer bottles or syringe form. This way, you can squirt the pesticide inside the nook and cranny, where sprays cannot go. It will also create a barrier outside the crevice so that the ticks get trapped inside and cannot crawl out.
Once again, since this contains toxic ingredients, you need to keep it away from children or animals.
Bait Boxes — To Get Rid of Ticks Outdoors
Unlike ant baits, which attract ants to the poison, these boxes actually attract mice. They come with child-proof boxes that have wicks emerging from them, which are treated with active ingredients like fipronil. When mice touch these boxes, the fipronil gets onto their fur. When fleas try to get onto these rodents, they are killed.
To use them effectively, put bait boxes 30 to 50 feet apart in the spring and fall seasons. Although they may not be effective in eliminating all the ticks, they can be responsible for a significant reduction in the tick population. Before using this product, read the instruction label carefully.
8 Ways of Getting Rid Of Ticks in Your Backyard
Only 5 percent of ticks actually populate your pets’ furs. Unlike your home, your backyard may have a much larger population of ticks. Here are some effective ways to get rid of ticks in your backyard.
Target their Habitation
Outdoor ticks can be found in wild, grass and shadowy bushy area that are overhung with trees. They can also be found in areas where there are deer as deer blood is one of their favorite meals. Hence, make sure the part of the backyard you physically spend your time in does not have any wild, untrimmed shrubs or shadowy bushes.
Cut Back Vegetation
Don’t let your backyard run wild. Get rid of any extra vegetation and foliage that has no purpose in your yard, especially dead fauna and weeds. Once you get rid of these, your yard will be much brighter and blood-sucking ticks, like vampires, hate the sun.
Mow The Grass
Make sure your yard does not have tall, scraggly grass. Keep your grass mowed as it not just take away the ticks’ hiding place but also help to evaporate dew, depriving the pests of water. This will also make them more vulnerable to insect-eating birds. Keep your grass no more than 3 inches tall. If you can, create a barren zone using gardening tools, so that the ticks have a harder time crossing into your yard.
Keep Your Yard Clean
Like your home, keep your yard free of clutter, as well. Remove debris like piles of stones, bricks, pots, and timber, under which ticks can hide and make their home. Wood piles are the best place for ticks to hide, as they provide them with an ideal environment to thrive. Make sure you clean your yard every two weeks in summer and spring as ticks breed and grow in this season.
There are several plants that smell heavenly to humans but are very distasteful to ticks. These plants include lavender, eucalyptus, thyme, geranium, citronella, mint, sage, pennyroyal and beautyberry and they have been proven to keep not just ticks, but fleas, mites, and mosquitoes at bay as well. These plants will not just clear your yard of pests but also increase its aesthetics.
Clean Under Birdfeeders
Birdfeeders not just provide shade for fleas to rest in, they also give them a chance to get inside their hosts’ feathers. If you have bird feeders, make sure you scrub them regularly and keep them squeaky clean so that no tick have an opportunity to make its home there.
There are several different pesticides that are available for outdoor use. They come in spray, powder, bait and granule form and can be applied to the grass if there is an infestation. There are many types of brands that offer products that are targeted to kill ticks and mites and do not damage the grass or plants. However, you still need to be careful with them as they can contaminate fruit and vegetable in your garden. Therefore, do not use these pesticides around harvest season. Also, make sure your children and pets do not go out o play in the yard until after the pesticide has dried. Make sure you do not allow these chemicals to flow into waterways as most of them are toxic to fish. An unintended consequence of these pesticides can be that they may kill non-targeted insects as well like bees and other pollinating insects.
If you are concerned about the safety of your children and pets, there is no harm in trying a blend of geranium and lemongrass oils, as many essential oils come with insect-repelling properties. You can dissolve a few drops of the oil in a can of water and spray it on your yard, especially in corners where ticks and mites reside. You may want to be cautious when using geranium oil as it can be toxic to dogs; however, small amounts are okay to use.
4 Ways to Prevent Ticks from Getting Access to your Yard and Home
Limit Access Of Children
There are some areas which are favorites of ticks. These include wild grass and shadowy shrubs. If you suspect you may have a flea infestation in that area, do not let your children approach that area. Fleas can easily jump onto children’s clothes and come with them into the house.
Create An Eco-Friendly Perimeter
If you do not have pets in your house, this treatment option can work as well. Clear out a six-inch wide area around your house that is free from plants, garbage, debris, and leaf litter. Also, spray an eco-friendly pesticide on this barrier and around your house to create a perimeter that ticks can’t breach. This will eliminate any sanctuaries for the ticks. However, this method will only be effective if you do not have cats and dogs running in from the outdoors, all the time.
Wear Protective, Light-Colored Clothing
When entering into areas where you know, there is a tick infestation, where full sleeves clothes and long trousers with cuffs so that ticks do not have the chance to jump onto your bare skin. You should also opt to wear light-colored clothing as the dark brown-colored ticks will be easier to spot on these clothes.
Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons and feral cats often visit your yard — and they carry backloads of ticks with them. If this is the case, you need to keep them out with a fence. You also need to eliminate everything that attracts these animals to your yard, for example, garbage, bird seeds, and wild berries. Also, don’t allow any of these animals to take resident beneath your deck.
How To Remove A Tick From your Skin
If you find a tick attached to your skin and sucking blood, do not panic. You can easily remove it with a simple pair of tweezers.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to the head as you can.
- Pull upwards while applying gentle, steady pressure. Don’t jerk as it can break off the mouth, which will remain in the skin.
- If the head still breaks off, remove it with tweezers as well.
- Once the tick is removed, wash the area with soap and water and disinfect it.
- Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or by flushing it down the toilet.
Note: Do not crush the tick between your fingers. Also, do not pay heed to folktales and apply nail polish or a hot needle to a tick to encourage it to get off. This method can prompt it to regurgitate, which can increase the risk of infections like Lyme’s disease.
If you develop an irritation on the site of the bite or a fever, visit your doctor.
By keeping your yard and home clean and tidy, you can eliminate any chance of a tick outbreak. However, like all pests, fighting ticks is an ongoing battle. Your first mode of action should be prevention, and that means stopping ticks from coming into your yard and house in the first place.