Having ticks in your home or yard can be a real nuisance. These pests are carriers of diseases like Lyme Disease and can even lead to fatal conditions. Here you will learn how to effectively get rid of any ticks around your home.
Before you begin treating your home or yard for any pest, you must be able to identify what pest it is. This is why you need to know how ticks look before you work on killing them.
- Difference between Ticks and Fleas
- Types of Ticks
- When are Ticks Active?
- Where Do Ticks Hide?
- How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard
- How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Home
- How to Get Rid of Ticks from Your Pets
Difference between Ticks and Fleas
While the terms ticks and fleas are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. You need to be able to spot a tick when you see one.
- Ticks are bigger than fleas. They are about ⅖ of an inch while fleas only measure around 1/10 of an inch.
- Ticks have eight legs and fleas have six legs. Ticks are part of the arachnid family while fleas are insects.
- Ticks wait for their prey while fleas have an impressive ability to leap.
Types of Ticks
Knowing about the two main types of ticks will help you take better care of your home and yard. The tick family has hard shell ticks and soft shell ticks.
Softshell Ticks – This variety is not very aggressive and will usually attach itself to a single host. They don’t like going far from one nest. These ticks tend to feed in very brief sessions during the night. Their feeding behavior is quite similar to that of bed bugs.
Hardshell Ticks – This variety of ticks likes moving from one host to another. They like feeding for longer periods as compared to the soft shell ticks. Like spiders, they use questing. Hardshell ticks wait for their prey to come near and then latch onto it with front legs. They don’t fly or jump out at their prey.
Hardshell ticks are the main threat that you need to worry about (note that they’re different from other small black bugs with hard shells). They have three life stages and need a blood-meal for each. Their life cycle ranges from 3 months to 3 years.
When are Ticks Active?
Ticks can be active throughout the year but this will depend on where you live. In general, ticks are most active between April and September. As the weather gets warmer, they increase in number too.
Immature ticks in their nymph stage are responsible for 98 percent of bites. They are the primary transmitters of Lyme disease and their activity is at peak between May and July.
Where Do Ticks Hide?
Ticks like hiding in areas that are shady and humid. Their favorite hiding spots are unmown or naturalized areas. This is why you can easily get tick bites when you go hiking. However, they might just be closer to home as well. Your lawn and your home might both have tick infestations.
The outer half of the lawn is more likely to have ticks. Any low hanging shrubs or grassy part could also be a prime spot. They latch onto humans or animals that come into contact with them. This is when they climb on to bite and feed on blood.
If you have pets, it is important to check them for ticks on a regular basis. They hide in the fur as they feed on your pet’s blood. If you spot a tick on your dog or cat, your yard is probably infested with ticks.
How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard
Ticks can easily infest your lawn or garden. Getting rid of these ticks from your yard is essential for protecting your family from the diseases they can cause.
Target the areas where ticks are most likely to inhabit. They like high humidity and tend to love in bushy or grassy areas. Cut down any tall grass or bushes that might house these ticks. Remove any overgrown vegetation.
Ticks hide in dark shady areas, so you should try to let the sun in wherever you can. Mowing your lawn regularly will keep ticks and other bugs away.
Use Insecticide Dust
These are a convenient solution since you can easily dust the insecticide all over the grass or any other potential spot for the ticks to hide. You can try this garden dust from Bonide.
Use Liquid Insecticide
Getting a liquid insecticide in a spray bottle like this one is also a great option. You can attach the sprayer to your hose and treat your entire yard. It can control tick infestations for a few months.
How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Home
Tick infestations are not commonly found indoors. However, they might still be there and you should take precautions. They can’t survive in climate-controlled homes since they need highly humid environments. However, this is not the case in storage sheds, dog houses, or any humid environment.
Clean Your Home
Ticks can hide anywhere and the more clutter you have, the easier it is for them to infest your home. Brown dog ticks are commonly found in homes since they like warm and dry conditions and feed on dogs or other pets.
Don’t leave your dirty laundry around and pick up things off the floor. Dust, mop, or vacuum every corner and floor of your house.
Use Hot Water for Laundry
Ticks are often stuck to bed linen or dirty clothing. If you feel like your linen has ticks on it, run it in the hottest cycle suitable for that fabric. Don’t leave these for later and avoid mixing them with other laundry.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
DE is a natural alternative to chemical treatments and it does not harm people or animals. You can sprinkle it in any corner, along window sills, pet bedding, etc. DE acts as a drying agent on the ticks. When the ticks come in contact with it, they get dehydrated. You can use this non-toxic DE by Earthborn Elements in your home.
Use Insect Growth Regulators
The ingredients in insect growth regulators like the one from Martin’s will prevent the development of immature ticks. Using these will help in controlling the tick infestation. Mixing the IGR with an insecticide will also kill the ticks.
Use Insecticide Dust
Using insecticide dust will help in long term control. Check the ingredients to ensure that the dust is pet-friendly.
Spray your home with insecticide sprays like the Adams Flea and Tick Home Spray. It effectively kills ticks as well as bed bugs, fleas, and cockroaches. However, you should not spray these on your pets.
How to Get Rid of Ticks from Your Pets
If your yard or home has a tick infestation, your pets probably have them too. You have to check through their fur and entire body for any ticks.
Here are some ways to kill ticks on your pets:
- Pet Shampoos: Pet shampoos with tick medications are available quite easily. Bathing your pet with such products every few weeks will help in killing and repelling the ticks.
- Oral Medication: You can ask your vet for pills for your dog or cat. These should be given once a month to them. They kill ticks as well as fleas.
- Spot on Treatment: Ointments and other spot medications are available for direct application. Check the ingredient list properly before using these.
- Tick Collar: Tick collars help in protecting the neck and head region of your pet from ticks. When the collar comes in contact with their skin, a chemical is released to repel any ticks. Check for any signs of discomfort or allergic reactions when you use this on your pet.
- Tick Powders: These are another topical solution. You can dust the powder all over your dog or cat. Check to see that the powder is labeled for your pet and is suitable for their age. The powder should be applied away from their eyes and face. You can also spread the tick powder in their kennel or any other area they sleep.
Pyrethrins, Fipronil, and Permethrin are ingredients commonly found in pet products used for tick control.
To Sum Up
Ticks can spread many serious diseases and should be removed as soon as you spot them. They are harmful to humans as well as pets. Ticks can easily be killed and prevented if you take the right measures.
- Keep the yard clean and well-maintained to prevent it from becoming a tick friendly habitat. Cut down the grass and remove any leaf litter.
- Apply tick repellents on your clothing and the appropriate type on your pets as well.
- Clean your house thoroughly if you notice any ticks. Do the same for your dog’s kennel.
- Use residual insecticide sprays or dust in any possibly infested area.
- Check your pets regularly for ticks. Check your bedding or clothing as well.