Of all the biting creatures that visit our lawns and gardens, ticks are arguably the worst of all. Not only do these pests have the ability to bite people and pets, but they are able to spread serious diseases as well.
Tick prevention will go a long way toward reducing risk factors for disease and chronic illness. This article will provide more information about maintaining a tick-free home, including proper tick identification, prevention, and management practices.
Below are a few common ticks found around North America.
Lone Star Tick
The lone star ticks‘ claim to fame involves heightened levels of aggression, as they are the most likely species to bite humans in the United States.
The brown dog tick is often found latched to indoor and outdoor pets. It is the only tick species known to infest the inside of homes.
One of the most infamous ticks from the Southern half of the United States includes blacklegged ticks. Sometimes called deer ticks, these arachnids are perhaps best known for their ability to spread Lyme Disease to both people and pets.
Tick Bites & Lyme Disease
One of the most serious tick-borne illnesses is Lyme Disease. Ticks tend to transmit Lyme Disease during their most active season (late April through October). Victims often experience swelling, arthritis, and high fevers. Although the illness is not fully treatable, it can be managed with some medications.
A short list of additional tick diseases include:
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
- Powassan Virus Disease
- Borrelia mayonii / miyamotoi disease
Preventing the spread of tick disease begins with proper bite management. The best way to reduce your chances of tick disease is to remove latched ‘biters’ from your skin as quickly as possible.
How To Remove Ticks From Your Skin
Ticks require a number of hours to transmit disease. If you are able to catch a ‘biter’ in the act, you will want to pull them off as soon as possible.
Before you pull ‘biters’ off your skin, start by gathering up a few helpful materials:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Fine tipped tweezers
- A glass jar
If you feel squeamish or unsure on your own, see if anyone would be available to help.
The following steps will help you get rid of ticks on your skin:
- Start by coating area around the tick bite in a thin layer of rubbing alcohol. This will help to eliminate any pathogens, as well as prevent dirt or grime from getting into the wound.
- Next, don your gloves and pick up the needle nosed tweezers. Place the points as close as you can to the tick’s head without puncturing or crushing its soft body.
- Pull upwards in a slow, steady, smooth motion. Refrain from twisting or ripping at the tick, which could detach its head.
- Place the tick into a glass jar filled with alcohol. You may want to re-sterilize your bite area with soap and water as an added level of protection.
As a side note, it’s a good idea to avoid both nail polish and petroleum jelly while removing ticks. Although both of these are common folklore remedies, neither of them have been proven to remove ticks. In some cases, they could cause ticks to burrow even deeper. Less effective treatments could sap precious time, and increase your chances for disease transfer.
If you notice the development of a rash or fever after experiencing some tick bites, it may be best to call your primary care provider. Bring the tick vector with you for identification.
Eliminating Tick Infestations With Prevention
If you have indoor or outdoor pets living with you, it may be a good idea to apply some preventative treatments right away.
- Wash your pet’s fur with medicated shampoo
- Use preventative medication on your pets (oral, topical, etc)
- Give all pets some tick collars as an added barrier
- Check your pest for infestation after returning from a suspected tick habitat
It may also be a good idea to apply some prevention to your lawn.
- Start by removing piles of wood chips from around the lawn. Consider replacing your landscaping with less tick friendly materials, including peat stone or river rock
- Store wood piles and firewood cords at least 25 feet away from the sides of the home
- Keep grass short around the entire yard, reducing pockets of moisture
Finally, you may be able to apply some natural tick treatment to the lawn and garden.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around moist areas, especially those near window frames or door frames.
- Apply tick repellent to skin and clothing while working outside
- Pick up all moist yard debris, particularly leaf piles, wet paper, and rotting weeds
Tick prevention steps may help to prevent an infestation from occurring, but they are not always enough to stop an established issue from getting worse. For this reason, the use of chemical products may be the only option for stopping tick infestations.
Best Products to Kill Ticks
According to Do My Own products, some of the best tick killers on the market include:
We like Demand CS for both tick control and to get rid of mosquitoes.
For a low-impact tick management option, consider investing in an insect growth regulator. These products, often tick sprays, kill pests in their earliest life stages. Working on eliminating eggs, as well as the adults who lay them, will go a long way toward preventing future infestations.
Installing tick tubes is another great way to reduce unwanted tick movements. These thin tunnels should be installed around a tick-friendly area, often in the shade or near trees. Ticks crawl into the tubes to hide or feed and are killed by the permethrin inside. Experts suggest that homeowners should place tick tubes around the yard during the spring, and replace them at least once per season.
How To Get Rid Of Ticks FAQ
Prevent ticks from getting too close for comfort with the help of these frequently asked questions.
How do you kill ticks in your home?
Ticks that have infested your home require immediate product treatments. Consider a tick spray to kill off any eggs, and follow up on adult ticks with permethrin or similar products. Protect your pets from additional tick activity by giving them tick collars.
What kills ticks on the body?
It’s difficult to kill ticks on the body without strong chemicals. Remove any latched ticks using the instructions above. Apply sprays or other topical elements to clothing for additional precautions throughout the tick season.
Do ticks just go away?
Sadly, tick infestations do not go away without treatment. Tick populations are rarely self-regulating and have the capacity to build up over time. A tick infestation around your property will need a significant amount of treatment to remove. Apply DIY treatments wherever necessary, or contact a local pest control company for a one-time treatment.
Can ticks infest a house?
Although ticks have been known to hitchhike on people, pets, and other properties, they rarely choose to reproduce indoors. The brown dog tick is the only species known to live around the home. Without the ability to hide in tall grasses or leaf piles, most ticks either die or migrate back to the yard. Since most ticks live happily outdoors, they will rarely be a problem indoors.