Ticks are insects that can carry a number of potentially harmful diseases, including babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, southern tick-associated rash illness, tick-borne relapsing fever and tularemia. There are several natural methods for removing ticks from your yard and surrounding areas, but if these methods fail, you may have to use a chemical insecticide.
Insecticides containing acaricide, carbaryl, pyrethroids, permethrin, deltamethrin and cyfluthrin are all highly effective in controlling tick populations in home lawns. Each state has its own regulations regarding which types of insecticides are approved for consumer use, so some or all of these may not be available in your state. Simply buy any insecticide that lists ticks as one of the species it is capable of killing. Granular or spray insecticides will suffice, but granular insecticides can penetrate deeper in your lawn to kill hatching or molting ticks.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that a single springtime application of insecticide can reduce tick populations in your yard by 68 to 100 percent. Spring is the ideal application time since ticks are still in the nymph stage. However, most insecticides approved for tick control can kill ticks in the larval, nymph or adult form, so applying the insecticide any time of year can yield positive results.
Natural Control Methods
If you are uncomfortable using potentially toxic chemicals, you can try natural control methods. Keep grass cut low, remove all grass and leaf debris, and create barriers between areas with heavy woods or tall grass and the rest of your yard using gravel, rocks or wood. You'll keep ticks away from the areas where your family spends the most time.
Due to the potential toxicity of chemical insecticides, it is usually preferable to have a professional treat your lawn. If you want to do the job yourself, always follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully. Use the smallest amount of insecticide possible so the ticks do not build up a natural resistance.
- Centers for Disease Control; Stop Ticks
- United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine; Tick Control Around the Home
- Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station; Managing Ticks on Your Property; Kirby C. Stafford III
- University of Kentucky College of Agriculture; Ticks and Disease: Answers to Often Asked Questions
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