Plants that ticks like

Preventing ticks in the yard

Apply Pesticides Outdoors to Control Ticks

Use of pesticides can reduce the number of ticks in treated areas of your yard. However, you should not rely on spraying to reduce your risk of infection.

When using pesticides, always follow label instructions. Before spraying, check with local health or agricultural officials about:

  • The best time to apply pesticide in your area
  • The best type of pesticide to use
  • Rules and regulations regarding pesticide application on residential properties

Create a Tick-safe Zone to Reduce Blacklegged Ticks in the Yard

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has developed a comprehensive Tick Management Handbook pdf iconexternal icon for preventing tick bites. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce blacklegged tick populations:

  • Remove leaf litter.
  • Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently.
  • Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees.
  • Discourage unwelcome animals (such as deer, raccoons, and stray dogs) from entering your yard by constructing fences.
  • Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

Ticks are nasty little critters. Not only is your blood their preferred food, but in the process of sucking it, they can transmit Lyme disease into your system. This infection can produce headache, fever, and other unpleasant symptoms. Without proper Lyme disease treatment, the disease can linger on for years with a wide range of side effects from sore joints and memory problems to panic attacks and acid reflux, according to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. It’s important to know how to avoid ticks in the woods, but what about at home? While some lawn-lovers turn to chemical interventions to keep ticks out of their yards, there are also natural tick repellents that will help protect your yard — and you.

1. Mow the Lawn


Begin by getting rid of tall grass and brush, especially at the edge of your lawn, to eliminate ticks’ favorite hangout spots. Also clean up leaf litter, and instead of tossing grass clippings and leaves into the garbage, add them to your compost pile and use the rich soil amendment in your garden. After they dry, grass clippings make great mulch that can help keep weeds from sprouting and help the soil retain water.

2. Irritate Their Feet

Posonskyi Andrey/

Ticks don’t like to cross paths lined with wood chips or gravel. Think of it like humans walking over glass—not pleasant. Place a gravel or wood chip buffer zone between lawns and wooded areas to help keep ticks from crossing onto your property.

3. Stack Woodpiles Neatly


Ticks can often be found crawling around sloppy woodpiles in shaded areas. If you keep the wood neatly stacked and in a spot that gets some sun, it’ll dry out faster. Remember, moist, wooded areas are inviting for ticks, while sunny, dry conditions are not.

4. Repel With a Plant


A lotion or spray containing DEET is your best bet, but be sure to follow the instructions closely. If you prefer to skip DEET, there are other ways to stay bug-free. For instance, since you can’t douse your yard with DEET — nor would you want to — you might try planting American beauty-berry bushes. They’re handsome plants and the leaves have been shown to repel ticks.

5. Employ a Tick Eater


It’s not an option for everyone, but consider investing in a few chickens. Raising chickens not only provides you with fresh eggs, but they’ll also peck away at ticks on your property. If you go this route, make sure you research the proper food and shelter these birds need. Robins and some other ground-feeding backyard birds eat ticks, too, so a bird-friendly yard may help keep the tick population down. However, unfortunately, some birds actually carry ticks, so be sure to keep areas near bird feeders and birdbaths clear of brush and debris so any hitchhiking ticks are less likely to survive.

How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard

Ticks cause homeowners a lot of distress, especially in the summer. If you have a pet that loves to play in the yard, you risk bringing ticks indoors. Ticks carry Lyme Disease, which is one of the primary reasons you do not want them anywhere near or around you. You need to get rid of ticks.

What are ticks by the way? Before we tell you about the different methods you can get rid of them and prevent them in the future, you should learn a little more about these tiny insects.

About Ticks

Ticks are often mistaken as insects, but are in fact, arachnids. Yes, they are part of the spider family! Just like their scary eight-legged relative, they too have eight legs. Another wrong assumption about ticks people have is that they jump, fly, and drop down from trees.

To feed, they need to suck the blood from birds, mammals, and reptiles. If you receive a tick bite, you need to visit the doctor, as it can affect your health negatively due to their parasitic behavior. The common places where you can find ticks include trees, overgrown grass, and shrubs.

5 Methods to Get Rid of Ticks

It’s time to say goodbye to ticks in your yard by taking measures to eliminate them for good. Here are a few tested methods to remove ticks from your yard:

  1. Treat Your Yard with Pesticides

You can use pesticides to kill the ticks present in your yard. You can spray Bifen Granules in your yard. This pesticide solution will protect your yard for up to ninety days. You can create a barrier around your yard to prevent ticks from crossing into your yard by using Reclaim IT Insecticide.

  1. Treat Your Yard with Organic Solutions

Garlic works great as a tick repellent. It keeps ticks away from your yard. However, it does not kill ticks, but they will not go near a place which has garlic. You can spray garlic water all over your yard, including your bushes. You can also create a barrier around your yard using food-grade DE. It is a white powder, made of fossilized phytoplankton. When ticks cross it, they will die.

  1. Look After Your Pets

When your pets go outside into the yard, they can easily bring in ticks into the house, dropping them wherever they go. You can prevent ticks from using your pet as their food source by treating the yard or a specific area more prone to ticks with chemical solutions. You can also treat the area with urine, human hair, hot sauce, and ammonia.

If your pet comes home with ticks, you can treat them using Petcor Flea Spray, designed to kill flea larvae and eggs on cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies. Martins Prefurred Plus Flea Treatment for Cats kills ticks and fleas in one hour and continues to eliminate them for one month. Martins Prefurred Plus for Dogs kills fleas and ticks for up to four weeks.

  1. Try Landscaping Techniques

You can create a no tick zone by keeping the grass short and trimmed and remove weeds. You can even create a three foot blockade using gravel or mulch. This will make it difficult for ticks to crawl through the barrier and into your yard.

  1. Set Up a Birdbath or a Bird Feeder

You need to install a birdbath or a bird feeder in your yard because birds feast on ticks and fleas. If you want to give birds a meal, you need to mow your grass to the perfect height that attracts ticks and fleas. You can also plant plants and ground covers that attract them. This is not a recommended method if you are unable to maintain the birdbath or bird feeder, as you risk a tick infestation if you are unable to attract to your yard.

Preventing a Tick Infestation

If you want to prevent future tick infestations, you need to take care of your yard. You need to remove leaves cluttered on the ground, trim overgrown bushes and trim tall grasses, place wood chips between wooded areas and lawns to prevent ticks from entering your yard, and mow your lawn frequently.

Other measures you can take include placing a stack of woods in a dry area to prevent rodents carrying ticks, keeping patio, playground equipment, and decks away from trees and edges of the yard. Construct a fence around your yard to prevent deer, stray dogs, and raccoons from coming into your yard, as they may carry ticks.

You also need to remove any old mattress and furniture you have placed in your yard, as ticks use them to hide. If you see any debris or trash in your yard, remove it. By storing trash like piles of leaves, freshly cut grass, and sticks, you are encouraging a tick infestation.

Lastly, you need to increase the amount of sunlight your yard receives. Ticks thrive in environments with high humidity and moisture. You need to prune tree limbs and remove other shades in your yard to allow sunlight in and decrease the tick population. Examine your yard to see if it receives sufficient amounts of sunlight or not.

If you are dealing with a tick infestation, you can use the methods here to get rid of them from your yard. Once the ticks are all gone, you can take preventive measures to ensure they do not return to your yard.

4 Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Ticks in the Yard

Ticks, specifically deer ticks, should be removed immediately due to the risk of Lyme disease. Here are four natural remedies you can use to get rid of ticks in the yard.

How to Get Rid of Ticks

1. Spray the Yard with Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms that infect the tick larvae with bacteria. Ticks that get exposed to beneficial nematodes can die in one or two days.

The easiest way to apply beneficial nematodes to your yard is to either use a hose-end sprayer, a pump sprayer, or a watering can.

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a natural powder that can kill ticks by dehydrating them to death. The powder loses its effectiveness in damp conditions so it should be re-applied anytime your yard gets exposed to water.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to use around pets and children as long as they don’t inhale a large amount of the powder.

3. Create a Wood Chip or Gravel Barrier
This is especially important for people who live next to wooded areas. Create a tick-safe zone by placing wood chips or gravel between the perimeter of your lawn and the wooded area. Clear away all the leaf litter and tall grasses around your home.

4. Introduce Ground-Feeding Birds
Ground-feeding birds are your best friend when it comes to tick control. The most popular choices are chickens, ducks, and guinea fowls. Let them loose in your yard for a couple hours a day and watch the tick population dwindle to non-existence.

If you have opossums around your home then consider leaving them alone unless they become a big nuisance. According to one study, opossums could remove about 5,000 ticks in a season. You don’t have to worry as much about potential diseases because the chances of opossums carrying rabies are extremely rare.

Other Pest Control Guides

  • How To Get Rid Of Moths
  • Best Mosquito Trap
  • How To Get Rid Of American Cockroach

Sam Choan is the Founder of Organic Lesson. He started this site to share tips on using natural remedies at home when such options are available.

Ticks and Tick Control

Recommended Products For Tick Treatment

Inside Tick Treatment

Use Residual Insecticides To Kill Adult Ticks: Recommended residual insecticides inside would be *FenvaStar EcoCap, Bifen IT, or *Precor2000 Plus Aerosol . Spray twice the first month every two weeks, then once a month for maintenance.

Mix the FenvaStar ECO Cap (2 oz per one gallon of water). For additional help, use an insect growth regulator (Tekko Pro IGR) that prevents the immature ticks from becoming breeding adults.

Spray these products at the edges of the room and pet areas (do not spray pets with these products).

If you have hard floor surfaces, the Precor 2000 Plus Aerosol would adhere to the surface better and it is ready to use.

Bifen IT is limited to cracks and crevices only, not the whole floor surface area, so it would not be an appropiate product inside for both tick and flea control. Bifen It is fine for just tick control treatment inside or outside. It you want a product for both tick and flea control, choose FenvaStar EcoCap or Precor 2000 Plus.

* Fenvastar EcoCap and Precor 2000 Plus Aerosol may be used for inside flea treatment as well.

(Pre Treatment Steps)

  1. Wash pet bedding or discard their bedding.
  2. Clean area rugs.
  3. Steam clean or vacuum furniture where pets rest.

Use Insect Growth Regulators ( IGR ) To Prevent Tick Development:

Tekko Pro IGR with its two active ingredients prevents the immature tick from developing.Tekko Pro IGR will help reduce the tick population.

It will work on both fleas and ticks. You will need an insecticide to mix with it to kill the current adult stages of ticks.

Mix it with FenvaStar Eco Cap or Bifen IT. Use the FenvaStar Eco Cap for flea and tick treatments and the Bifen IT for tick treatments only.

Mix 1 oz of Tekko Pro with your choice of insecticide.

We have Flea and Tick Kits with Tekko Pro and Insecticides combined for savings.

Supplement with quick kill aerosols : Non-residual, contact space sprays that contain Pyrethrins such as PT 565 may be useful to supplement the residual sprays. It may used on a daily basis and is a contact killer.

Insecticide dusts provide long-term control : Drione Dust (for pet bedding) or D-Fense Dust-in cracks and crevices (Not on pet bedding).

Treat where ticks reside:

  1. Ticks like to reside in crack and crevices, they seek hiding areas for safety
  2. behind baseboards
  3. window and door frames
  4. upper portions of structures
  5. localized areas used by dogs
  6. They will move to avoid detection. They don’t have the same type of larvae, like the fleas; you do not have to broadcast over the entire surface as you would spray for a flea treatment.

Outside Tick Treatment

For the outside: Bifen IT or Permethrin SFR should be applied to grassy and bushy areas near the house or kennel, the edges of lawns and gardens, under porches, and other areas where the dog travels or spends time. It is usually not necessary to treat the entire yard. One way to determine the extent and locations of tick presence is by using a white cloth such as a pillow case. Drag it along the grass, and brush it up onto foliage. Stop to check the presence of the ticks. Shrubbery up to a height of 2-3 feet should be sprayed. Nonchemical methods of treatment include keeping the grass mowed, removal of bushy areas and fencing to keep deer away.

One way to check the extent and or location of ticks in your yard is to drag a white pillowcase slowly along the grass and brush it up onto foliage within 1-3 feet of the ground. Stopping occasionally, check the cloth for ticks.

  1. Bifen IT-Mix 1/2 – 2 ounces per gallon; use 1-3 gallons (depends on density of vegetation) per 1,000 square feet.
  2. Permethrin SFR-mix 0.5 oz to 0.8 oz to 4 gallons of water per 1,000 square feet

Repellents for Clothes and Body

Tick Repellents-For clothing and body-DEET and Permethrin

  • Ben’s 100 Deet Tick and Insect Repellent -Ben’s 100 Deet is 98.11 % has the largest amount of DEET available for a spray on repellent to be applied in areas of high bug density with insect biting activity. One application will last up to 10 hours.
  • Ben’s 30% Deet-repels mosquitoes and ticks; water based formula, made to evaporate slowly, so repellent stays on longer with little absorption into the skin
  • Ben’s Clothing and Gear-With 0.5% Permethrin, Ben’s Clothing and Gear helps to keep biting insects such a mosquitoes and ticks off your gear and clothing. The unique formula of Ben’s Clothing and Gear will bond to fiber that lasts up to two weeks.

Pet Treatment

The dog must be treated with a product labeled for ticks. Fipronil, Permethrin and Pyrethrins are common active ingredients for tick control on dogs or cats.

  • Fipronil:
    • Martin’s Flee Plus IGR For Dogs, or Flee Plus IGR For Cats which is similar to Frontline with Fipronil. It will kill fleas and ticks.
    • Flee Trigger Spray and Martin’s FLEE Areosol – These two products have Fipronil 0.29% in spray forms
  • Permethrin 10%
    • Martin’s Permethrin 10% Insecticide-May be used as a dog dip; one pint will yield 25 gallons as a dip. May not be used on cats. It may also used on livestock and it controls flies as well as ticks.For use on cattle, lactating dairy cattle horses, swine, poultry and dogs.
  • Pyrethins- Pyrethrin is a contact, non-residual active ingredient. Pyrethrin is an organic product that comes from Chrysantheum flowers
    • Martin’s Flee Plus IGR-Flee Plus IGR Trigger Spray controls infestations on dogs and cats by killing fleas and ticks for up to 30 days.
    • Flee Plus IGR for Dogs-Flee Plus IGR for Dogs is a spot treatment for dogs, comparable to Frontline Plus. It kills ticks (brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks and deer ticks), and chewing lice.
    • Flee Plus IGR for Cats-Kills ticks including those that may transmit Lyme disease Kills brown dog ticks, American dog ticks, lone star ticks, and deer ticks for up to one month for cats.
    • Pure Planet Natural Flea and Tick Spray On Shampoo Pure Planet Natural Flea and Tick Spray On Shampoo is an alternative to harmful chemicals. This Eco-friendly product with clove and cottonseed oil safely and naturally kills fleas and ticks on contact. It is safe to use around children and pets

Tick Prevention

  1. If at all possible, avoid known tick habitats during tick season.
  2. Avoid sitting on the ground or logs in areas with brush and long grass.
  3. Keep grass cut short and repair any cracks and crevices where ticks may be hiding.
  4. Remove leaf litter
  5. Dispose empty bird or rodent nesting materials (since ticks infest these materials)
  6. Use a tick repellent on clothing and tick repellents. Even with these repellents, you should check your bodies closely twice a day and remove them if you are in a tick infested areas.
  7. The infested house and kennel should be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate as many ticks as possible. Vacuuming is very helpful inside. Pet bedding and pet areas should be cleaned well.
  8. Kennels, dog houses, and structures occupied by pets should be thoroughly treated to control ticks that have dropped off the dog, and that reside in harborage areas.
    Residual insecticide sprays and dust should be applied carefully to all potential tick harborage areas.
  9. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants should be worn in a tick infested areas, with pants tucked into socks or boots. Choose light-colored clothing; makes it easier to spot ticks.
  10. Visually inspect your clothes and body after leaving a tick infested area. Make sure to check the base of the skull and back of the head, where ticks may hide from hair.
  11. Wash clothes immediately in warm water and detergent after leaving a tick infested area. Make sure to place items in a dryer, many ticks can survive a warm water washing but will not survive one hour in the dryer.

Tick Biology and Behavior

There are several species that vary in appearance, but all of the adults are small, round with eight legs. All ticks feed exclusively on the blood of vertebrates and are blood feeders. There are two families of ticks: hard ticks and soft ticks. They have four stages in their life: egg, larva, nymph and adult. Most ticks have a 3-host life cycle, with the larvae, nymphs, and adults feeding on the host and taking a single blood meal. The adults feed on larger hosts, while the larvae and nymphs feed on small to medium-sized hosts. Tick life cycle’s complete in 1-3 years.

The adult ticks mate on the body of the host animal. After the mating, the female deposits her eggs to the ground. They are called “seed ticks,” with six legs when they are in the larvae stage. These larvae seek a host for a blood meal, then drop to the ground and emerge as eight-legged nymphs.

Any disease carrying pathogens are carried in all the ticks’ life cycles.

Ticks will not jump up life fleas to get a blood meal. They will grasp the host as they pass through leaves or grassy areas.They are picked up on the lower legs, then crawl up the body for a blood meal. They have to climb places like tall grasses, weeds, fences, and sides of buildings waiting for a suitable host to pass by. They can detect host odors, vibrations, and exhaled carbon dioxide and fall or climb to a passing host. They lodge into cracks and crevices below shingles, window moldings, sidings and wait for a passing host. It is important to treat all cracks and crevices with the recommended insecticides. They can also be brought inside on clothing and survive for six months with a 93-100% relative humidity, but many ticks will die inside when the humidity is kept at less than 65%.


Tick Bites and Diseases

Ticks can carry serious diseases. According to the CDC, more than 23,000 human cases of Lyme disease were recorded in 2002, with an estimated 9 out of 10 cases going unreported. This disease was first recognized and reported around Lyme, Ct. in 1975. Since then, three areas in the United States are now identified where this disease organism is known to occur naturally. These are the Northeast(in coastal areas from northern Virginia to southern Maine), the northern Midwest (Minnesota and Wisconsin), and the West (parts of California, Oregon, Utah, and Nevada) Most cases occur in the northeastern United States, but cases have been reported in at least 49 states and federal health agencies (CDC) report that Lyme disease accounts for 95% of the reported vector-borne illnesses in the United States.

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete(a type of bacteria-Borrelia burgdorferi) that affects humans and their pet dogs, as well as wildlife species. In the eastern and midwestern United States, this disease organism is caused principally by a hard tick, which commonly attacks white-tailed deer and some rodent species. In the Pacific coastal areas is caused by a similar bacteria called Ixodes pacific us. These ticks have a two-year cycle. Control against this tick in your yard would be the same type of control suggested for the Brown Dog Tick. They commonly attach to the animal’s body, after feeding they drop to the ground in search of protective areas. The areas should be sprayed with a residual insecticide.

Lyme disease and tips for prevention are found on the . Once infected with Lyme disease, a person may experience flu-like symptoms and develop a red rash in the shape of a bull’s eye. Because the symptoms of Lyme disease so closely mimic the flu, it often goes undiagnosed and can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. Tick bites also cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Colorado tick fever, Human granulocytic and momocytic ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis, relapsing fever, Tularemia and Q fever.

  • Brown Dog Ticks
  • American Dog Ticks

How To Remove a Hard Tick

Use tweezers (fine,small and pointed) or forceps to disengage the tick. Typical eyebrow tweezers with a blunt edge are too large. It is recommended to use skin tight gloves like latex gloves. Pull the tick off with gentle pressure, do not twist or pull too forcefully, so you do not tear the tick and leave the mouth parts. Using the forceps/tweezers, grip as close to the tip of the head as possible and gently and steadily lift the tick off the surface. The goal is to pull off the whole tick in one unit. Do not squash or crush the tick, this could leave harmful bacteria. Clean the area with warm soapy water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine scrub.

Click image to enlarge
Illustration by: Scott Charlesworth, Purdue University –

Brown Dog Tick

The Brown Dog Tick is the most widely distributed ticks in the world. It is unusual among ticks, in that it can complete its entire life cycle indoors. Because of this, it can establish populations in colder climates and has been found in many different climates. Brown dog ticks can be found outdoors in the southern USA during any time of the year but found active outdoors during the warm months in the northern USA. This tick cannot overwinter in the more northern United States except within a heated structure.


It is small, red-brown in color, uniform in color. Its mouthparts are easily seen when viewed from above. The body is flattened and shaped like a tear drop.


Many tick species can be carried indoors on animals, but cannot complete their entire life cycle inside. Dogs are the preferred host in the US . The adults attach to the ears and between the toes, and the larvae and nymphs are often found in hair along the back, however, are not restricted to these parts. Once an infestation occurs inside a home, it can grow very rapidly. Typically, a few ticks are brought into the house or from an infested kennel, open field or another place where tick infested dogs have been located. A home can become infested if the family dog picks up ticks from an infested residence, boarding kennel, open fields, or similar place where other infested dogs have been located. Another infested dog may visit the residence, during which time some ticks may drop off. In this case, the home and yard may become infested even though a dog is not generally kept there. After the ticks have engorged on a blood meal, they drop form the host and seek some protected situation in the immediate surroundings.For this reason, they may be found behind baseboards, under window and door moldings, in window pulley openings, or in furniture.

  • All cracks and crevices in an infested premise must be treated for good control. All tick life stages may be found behind baseboards, around window door moldings, or in furniture. Newly hatched larvae can climb, so all cracks and crevices need to be treated.
  • If pet bedding is infected, wash or dispose. Use appropiate pet treatment on the dogs and bedding.
  • Dogs do not become infested with brown dog ticks by direct contact with other dogs.
  • Ticks feeding on a dog, drop off and molt before they will resume host-seeking behavior and attach to another dog.

Inside: Pivot Aerosol or FenvaStar EcoCap

Outside: Bifen IT or Permethrin SFR are recommended products.

American Dog Tick

Dogs are the preferred host of adults of this tick species, but they will feed on larger animals. This tick is a carrier of the causal organism of : Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

American Dog Tick Image: Courtesy of The University of Rhode Island


Symptoms appear 3 to 12 days after tick contact. There is a sudden onset of symptoms that include fever, headache, and aching muscles. A rash usually develops on the wrists and ankles on the second or third day of fever. The rash then spreads to involve the rest of the body, including the palms and soles. If you experience fever following tick contact, see your physician. It is important to receive the appropriate antibiotics as soon as possible if spotted fever is suspected. Most fatalities can be attributed to a delay in seeking medical attention. It occurs throughout the easter and central United States.

Since ticks must be in areas of high humidity to survive, they are most commonly found in grassy, brushy, wooded, and shaded areas. Therefore, reducing the humidity in these areas by keeping grass well-clipped, removing brush, and pruning trees to allow more sunlight to penetrate to the soil surface will discourage ticks from becoming established in these areas.

Control of American dog ticks in outdoor areas is extremely difficult. While several insecticides are labeled for outdoor tick control, they are usually not effective in eliminating large numbers of ticks in brushy, heavily wooded areas There are, however, some management techniques that can discourage a buildup of ticks in these areas. Modifying the habitat is a more permanent approach to tick management. Use topical tick treatments and sprays on dogs and regulary examine them for ticks and wash their bedding.

  • The American dog tick goes through an egg, larva, nymph, and adult stage during its development.
  • While they may be found throughout the year, adults are most active during late April through May.
  • The immature stages may feed on these same hosts but prefer to infest smaller mammals such as meadow mice, squirrels, and chipmunks.
  • All stages of the American dog tick will also feed on humans if given the opportunity.
  • They do not transmit Lyme disease.
  • Although dog ticks do not carry Lyme disease, they are the main carrier of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the midwest states.

First cut vegetation and grass short will increase the effectivness of chemical treatments. Bifen IT and Permethrin SFR are recommended products.


Those pleasant-looking robins eating worms on your front lawn could be carrying the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease. That’s how ticks themselves become infected — by feeding on the blood of a reservoir host.

Other bird species, and animals such as mice, chipmunks and squirrels, can also infect deer ticks with disease-causing pathogens, according to a new website designed by Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s tick lab to inform people about all things tick related.

You can reduce your exposure to ticks by checking yourself and your pets when you come back inside, especially if you’re in a southern or coastal county at high risk for tick-related diseases.

You can also use approved acaricides, which are chemicals that kill ticks:

Tick tubes

One of the institute’s suggestions is to place tick tubes around your property to transform those birds and rodents into tick killers, instead of hosts.

The best time to use them is in July and August, when tick larvae have hatched and are waiting for a blood meal, and in the spring when second-stage ticks, known as nymphs, appear.

The tubes work especially well for mice, who collect nesting material. The open-ended cardboard tube filled with cotton — perfect for nests — is treated with the pesticide permethrin.

When mice bring the cotton back to their nests, the permethrin binds to the oils on their fur. Ticks are then killed when they try to attach to the mice, who are not harmed.

Tick tubes go where mice hide: woodpiles, stone walls, foundations, dense flower beds, high grass, or plantings by your house foundation or porch, according to Damminix, which sells tick tubes. If the cotton is still in the tubes after awhile, you can always move them around to find where the mice are.

Also, don’t worry about rain as permethrin is not water soluble. And though permethrin doesn’t harm the environment, you shouldn’t use it near waters with fish as it’s highly toxic to them.

But tick tubes won’t get rid of the problem entirely.

“Despite the promise of this novel approach, trials of permethrin-treated cotton balls reported in the scientific literature have not demonstrated sufficient reduction in tick numbers to significantly lower the risk of contracting Lyme disease,” states the institute’s website.

This could be because many other hosts, such as chipmunks and squirrels, don’t use the cotton balls in the same way as mice.

Tick spray

There are Environmental Protection Agency-registered pesticides out there that can kill ticks. You can have a professional spray key points of your property.

Bifenthrin is commonly used to kill deer ticks. Like permethrin, it’s lethal to fish, though runoff is limited because the chemical binds well to soil.

If you’d prefer a more natural solution, a botanical mixture made with 10 percent rosemary oil “has been shown to be almost as effective as bifenthrin when applied by a high-pressure hose,” according to the Maine Medical Center Research Institute’s tick lab. It costs more, however.

Bait boxes

These child-resistant boxes carry bait that attracts mice. Inside, they also have little wicks treated with fipronil, the active ingredient in the flea and tick medications veterinarians often prescribe for dogs and cats. When mice brush up against the wicks, a small amount of the tick-killing chemical gets on their fur.

You put bait boxes 30 to 50 feet apart in the spring and fall. Studies have shown a 60- to 80-percent reduction in ticks after one year and a 90- to 100-percent reduction after two years, according to the institute.

Before deciding whether pesticides are right for your property, read the Maine Bureau of Pesticide Control’s Tick Control Product Fact Sheet here. For more information, visit

How To Get Rid Of Ticks In Your Yard

Ticks are a problem in many places, and their range is expanding.

Ticks — blacklegged (deer) ticks, dog ticks, wood ticks, and others pose a potential harm to both your pets and your family. They can live and reproduce in your lawn or woods and cause serious internal diseases that can be very complicated and lengthy to treat. We have found that there is no substitute for investing a little time and money on making sure that your immediate environs — your yard and property — are as tick-free as possible. We say “as possible” because, after all, we are dealing with nature. You can never annihilate all ticks, but you can do some things to keep them at bay.

Based on experience of living in a tick-heavy area and trying to continually reduce tick populations, here are some of our top suggestions for keeping your yard tick-minimized.

Keeping Ticks Away From Your Yard — Not a One-Step Process

Ticks can easily hide all over your yard.

As much as we would like to share some kind of silver bullet for getting rid of ticks, it really requires several things being done in concert with each other for best results. In addition, your yard is a unique space that is like no other yard. Your particular ticks might be coming from a source that someone else’s yard is not affected by. Here are a few things you can do, however, to keep the tick population down.

1. Clean your yard every couple weeks

For the elimination of the fleas and ticks, neatness counts. If you clean your yard of organic and yard waste once every couple weeks, you may reduce the likelihood of ticks spreading. Remove debris such as piles of bricks, brush, leaves, stones, and lumber. Pick up discarded pots and other items and stack them neatly. Wood piles are notorious for housing ticks, as they can provide a nearly ideal environment for them. Trim back overhanging trees to increase sun exposure, which will deter tick conditions from being optimal. Direct sunlight in a hot dry area helps to repel ticks. It is very important to clean your yard regularly in the spring and summer as it’s their prime growing and breeding seasons.

2. Limit the wildlife

Feral cats, rabbits, and squirrels regularly visiting your yard are the reason you have ticks in your yard. Ticks need hosts to live, eat, and grow, and if you can reduce the hosts, you will reduce the ticks. Urban wildlife regularly carries ticks and fleas and other parasites. If these critters visit frequently, you need to do something about it. Fencing a yard is a suitable approach if it fits with your overall neighborhood aesthetic, or you can also spend time to reduce your yard’s appeal to them. These animals are attracted by trash and debris, as well as rotting berries and seeds that drop from trees and shrubs, so get rid of it. Skunks and raccoons may prowl for grubs in your yards and lawn. Squirrels are attracted by the bird seed and mice may feast on the berries on shrubs. Never allow the wildlife to set up housekeeping under decks on your property.

3. Consider a Tick Tube

Tick Tubes are a genius invention that basically use mice to get rid of ticks. Like the animals we mentioned in the above point, mice are hosts to ticks, and are in fact one of the primary hosts for the dreaded deer (or blacklegged) tick. The idea is that you give mice supplies, through a “Tick Tube”, to build their nests. That is right, you are helping the mice out! But the key is you are giving the mice materials that are treated with permethrin. Permethrin can kill ticks, so when the mouse builds their environs with this material, they are basically getting rid of the ticks in the process. This is important because it is believe that young ticks get the pathogens for Lyme disease from mice and other small rodents and birds. Tick tubes are biodegradable, and the idea is you just leave many out around your yard. We did an entire piece on it here, if you want to do a deep dive. You can also view our favorite tick tube, here.

4. Pest Repelling plants

If you didn’t know this before, there are plants which show signs of being able to repel pests, even ticks. Plants such as thyme, citronella, geraniums, and eucalyptus are believed (and in some cases proven) to naturally deter insects and arachnids. This means you could make a dent in your tick snd mosquito populations, as well as wasps, and hornets. Growing these plants in your backyard and lawn may not only keep away ticks but also add beauty to your lawn. One word of caution, though: Compared to some of the other techniques, having certain plants around should not be viewed as your primary method of eliminating ticks. It should purely be seen as complimentary technique.

5. Create a perimeter

Establish a barrier around your house with an environmentally safe pesticide. This will help you to prevent ticks and fleas from migrating into your home without your permission. This method is most effective if you don’t have a pet. If you have a pet, the ticks can still hitch a ride and get into your home that way. Create a 6-inch wide clean area by getting rid of every sort of garbage, brush, plants, and leaf litter around your home. Keep the lawn inside the perimeter mowed on a very consistent bases. This will eliminate the hiding places that ticks use for sanctuary.

Move playsets and kids toys to the middle of the yard away from the edges and tick habitat. This will lower the odds of your children coming in contact with ticks — but can’t prevent them altogether. Finally, make sure that any outdoor entertaining areas like patios or decks have a buffer area around them of short grass, so that you do not have tick-heavy long grass brushing up against areas where humans are apt to spend time.

6. Check pet hangouts

Your pet’s favorite spots might be infested with the larvae of ticks, and you may not have the time to wash them out every day. As such, you’ll need a more permanent solution. Ticks prefer to remain within 50 feet of your pet’s favorite resting area for an easy meal. Clean and treat all the cool, shady spots in your yard. These are the spaces under the porches, along with the fence line, and beneath low-hanging shrubs. Always treat dog runs or kennels, and be sure you treat your animals themselves. A monthly treatment will do wonders for keeping ticks off of them.

7. Mow your grass to the right height

Keep the grass in your yard mowed to the right height. Ticks prefer to stay under the shade and moist areas. Having your grass at the right height will keep it exposed to the sun and will repel ticks. This will also make them vulnerable to the insect eating birds. What is the right height? It depends on the grass and your region, but most lawn experts suggest keeping your lawn between 2-3 inches is about right. The shorter the better when it comes to ticks, but then again a shorter lawn will put more stress on the grass. 2-3 inches is a good average, and it is one that will look good while keeping your tick population under control.

8. Geranium-Lemongrass Oil

Worth a try. Nothing is better in this world than using natural organic blends to fight the natural parasite. In this way, you don’t do any damage to nature, and your job of protecting your home, family and pets gets done. What’s problematic with the common and regular use of aerosols is that they constantly deteriorate our environment and by using this natural blend you can not only get rid of the threat of ticks but can do your part to help conserve of the environment. A combination of geranium and lemongrass oil is considered to repel ticks completely. All you need to do is put 2-3 drops of these oils in a container of water and mix the blend well. Spray the blend in your yard and lawn, and make sure to pay special attention to corners in order to keep the ticks away.

Note that geranium oil at concentrated levels can be toxic to dogs, so if you have a pet that tends to ingest grasses as some do or likes to like everything he/she comes in contact with, you may want to be careful with geranium oil.

9. Control Oak Trees

OK, this one is a bit of an old wives tale, but if you go to some parts of the country the locals will swear by it. Many believe that ticks are attracted to Oak trees, so keeping the population of Oaks down might help. There is a theory that has been termed the “Acorn Connection”, the belief that Oak trees produce acorns, acorns attract deer, and deer tend to host and spread ticks.

The more plausible explanation may be that acorn crops play a major role in mice populations and winter survival. Mice are associated with the spread of diseases, and thus eliminating the food source will assist in decreasing the mice populations and diseases in an area.

Now, we would never advise you to go and cut a nice old Oak in your yard — Oaks are a great tree that have many benefits and can be a beautiful addition to your yard. But if you are concerned about ticks, you may want to control the growth of new, young Oaks that are seeding themselves, and if you have a sick Oak in your yard perhaps it is time to replace it with something else.


By strictly following these eight different methods, you can eliminate the ticks from your yard. However, continued proper maintenance of the yard is very important. Make sure you clean your yard every second week and make sure the grass regularly mowed to the right height. Finally, even if you follow these rules in your yard, play it safe and make sure you take steps to prevent ticks in your pets and always check yourself after playing or working outside!

Written by Tick and Mosquito Project Staff. Most recently reviewed by Nicole Chinnici, Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory Director at East Stroudsburg University

How to Kill and Prevent Ticks in Your Lawn

Take steps against ticks by making your lawn and garden less attractive to these pests. Keep areas free of tall grass, weeds and garden debris – you’ll also discourage small rodents, which transport ticks. Place outdoor play and entertainment areas in sunny, airy spots, away from tick-prone zones. Most importantly, eliminate existing ticks and create a perimeter of protection around your home with effective tick control treatment.

With GardenTech® Sevin® brand products, you can kill and control ticks and dozens of other unwelcome insects, even among favorite fruits and vegetables and landscapes where edibles and ornamentals mix. Target larvae and nymphs with late spring and early summer applications. Target adult ticks in late summer and fall. It’s simple to choose the product that’s right for you:

  • Easy-to-use Sevin® Insect Killer Granules, applied with a regular lawn spreader, simplifies treating your entire yard for ticks. Used as directed, this product kills ticks above and below the surface. Then it keeps protecting your lawn and garden up to three months.
  • Sevin®-5 Ready-To-Use 5% Dust in the convenient shaker container makes treating for ticks quick and easy. Apply a light layer of dust to grasses and other potential hiding spots to kill ticks and other lawn pests.
  • Liquid Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use comes in a spray bottle that’s simple to use and perfect for smaller areas and spot tick treatments. The spray nozzle lets you adjust the spray for wider or narrower coverage.
  • Economical and easy-to-measure Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate meets your needs for large-scale tick control. Use this product with a backpack or pump-style sprayer.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray does the mixing for you; just attach it to a garden hose and go. It’s perfect for thorough coverage of shrubs, groundcovers and other areas where ticks hide.

Whether it’s the height of tick season or you’re keeping pests at bay year-round, rest easy with Sevin® garden insecticides. Gardeners have trusted the brand for more than 50 years. GardenTech and the GardenTech® family of brands are here to help you learn and grow. Stay connected, and let the GardenTech blog and email newsletter help you explore gardening and the joys of outdoor life.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals (PHI) on edible crops.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.


1. K.C. Stafford, “Tick Management Handbook,” The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 2007.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Reported Cases of Lyme Disease by Year, United States, 1995-2015,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Tickborne Diseases of the United States,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017.

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