How to Kill Deer Ticks

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The deer tick is an insect that commonly lives on white-tailed deer. The ticks often carry Lyme disease and pose a significant health risk to humans who hunt, hike or live in areas frequented by deer. Deer ticks may be difficult to eradicate due to their small size. Homeowners can take steps to kill the disease-carrying insect in their homes and yards, as well as kill them when present on pets or clothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Permethrin products
  • Anti-tick pet products
  • Kill deer ticks on wild mice. Mice are the primary carriers of Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Deer ticks become infected when they feed on the mice. Soak cotton balls in a liquid pest control product containing the pesticide Permethrin, a toxic chemical that kills deer ticks without harming their rodent hosts. Allow the cotton balls to dry and place them in outdoor sheds and other areas that mice frequent. The mice will use the cotton as nesting material, and the chemical in the cotton will kill the ticks on the mice. Alternatively, use a pretreated cotton product intended for mice.

  • Apply a topical tick killer and repellent on your dogs or cats. Alternatively, use a tick collar or an anti-tick dip or shampoo if your pet doesn't mind being bathed. Such products are broad-spectrum solutions that kill all types of ticks.

  • Spray problem areas in your yard with a broad-spectrum insecticide. Such products can be obtained from most garden supply and hardware stores. Focus on areas which are frequented by deer or mice, such as the edges of your property, fences and stone walls. Note that such a product will kill all insects, including those that are beneficial, and should be used on a limited basis.

  • Spray your clothing with a solution containing permethrin, which kills deer ticks on contact. An application of permethrin to your clothing will linger in the fabric for several days and provide long-lasting protection against ticks.

Tips & Warnings

  • Landscape your yard to discourage deer tick infestations. Because ticks prefer humid, shaded areas, mowing your yard and cutting back shrubs and trees will dry out your yard and drive away ticks. Practice proper outdoor preparation to avoid being bitten by deer ticks. Wear an insect spray containing DEET to repel ticks. Long-sleeved and long-legged clothing will also protect you.
  • Lyme disease can cause damage to the heart and central nervous system, as well as depression, fever and fatigue.

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References

  • "A Field Guide to Ticks: Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Disease and Other Ailments Caused by Ticks;" Susan Carol Hauser; 2008
  • "Ticks: Biology, Disease and Control;" Alan Bowman and Patricia Nuttall; 2009
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