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Ticks are parasitic insects that attach themselves to a host animal and feed on their blood. Ticks prefer to live in long grass or under leaves or pine needles, where they wait until a suitable host approaches. They also harbor many serious diseases which can be fatal, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are difficult to eliminate because of their small size and ability to rapidly reproduce. However, it is possible to get rid of ticks in the yard with a little effort and proper treatment.
Use a lawn mower with the blade set to the lowest level to trim the lawn. Rake away any ground cover from the yard such as leaves, pine needles or grass clippings. Keep the yard clear of any debris that could potentially harbor ticks, such as logs or fallen limbs.
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Remove any small trees or shrubs from the yard. Ticks commonly fall from branches onto potential prey to feed. Remove any overhanging branches if the trees cannot be removed. This will reduce the number of suitable habitats for ticks in the yard, forcing them to search elsewhere for a home.
Spread a fertilizer that contains pesticide over the yard. These fertilizers help provide nutrients to plants and will kill any ticks, fleas and other bothersome insects. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application.
Use a pesticide that contains chlorpyrifos to get rid of ticks in the yard. Pesticides that contain this chemical include Dursban and Lorsban, which can be purchased from retail lawn and garden stores. Apply following the directions on the package.
Purchase guinea fowl to release in the yard. Guinea fowl are small birds similar to chickens that feed on ticks. Research how to care for guinea fowl before purchasing. Most tick infestations can be eliminated by the presence of one or two guinea fowl.
Guinea fowl require little care and are commonly considered the most effective way to eliminate ticks. They can be purchased from farms or ordered from livestock catalogs.
An easy way to detect if a yard is infested with ticks is to drag a white sheet along the ground across the yard. Check it for ticks afterward, which will be easily visible as black specks against the white sheet.
Chlorpyrifos is highly toxic and can cause severe health problems, such as birth defects, ADHD and cerebral palsy. No animals or children should be allowed into the yard until the pesticide has dissolved into the soil and is no longer a threat. Make sure to read the manufacturer's safety warnings carefully before application.