Regardless of the species, the tick has a small, round body that swells when they have had their fill of food. And guess what they feed on? Blood. Ticks feed on the blood of humans or any animal (they seem to prefer dogs and deer) that they live on.
These pests are also known to be vectors of diseases. That makes them twice as dangerous and the last insects you want around you, your kids, or pets.
That’s why you need to know how to get rid of them.
But to do that, the first step is to know a thing or two about them.
What Are Ticks?
Flea and tick are one of a kind.
Ticks are different in that they are often found around shrubs, tall grasses, weeds, and leaf litter. So you’d easily find them around the overgrown patches, foundation plantings, woodpiles, bird feeders, and low-hanging shrubs and trees in your yard or garden.
They are most active when the weather is warm, and they make it a point to stay in locations where people frequent so that they can easily latch onto their hosts when they come in contact with their haunts.
This is probably why most tick bites occur during gardening, frolicking in the backyard, play, or entertaining guests.
The life cycle of the tick is pretty straightforward. The adult ticks are prevalent in the spring, and the females are known to lay up to 4,000 eggs in large masses on the ground.
It takes at least 30 days for the eggs to hatch, after which the larvae get their first host. After feasting on this host for 3-12 days, the larvae drop off before molts into nymphs. The nymphs soon change hosts before dropping off to transform into young adults.
The ease at which they multiply, feed on hosts, and transmit diseases makes it imperative that you get rid of ticks as soon as you detect a tick infestation.
But before we get into how to get rid of ticks, let’s look at the species of ticks there are.
Types of Ticks
The tick family is comprised of hundreds of species that are essentially divided into soft-shell and hard-shell ticks.
Soft-shell ticks are the laid-back crew that attaches themselves to a single host they feast on. These ticks rarely leave their comfort zones when they find one.
On the other hand, hard-shell ticks are the adventurers who move from one host to the other looking for better meals. They are great at detecting vibrations, heat, breath, and moisture, so they can easily lie in wait for their prey to arrive. After which, they extend their front legs in the air and cling onto the target once it is within distance.
Hard-shell ticks are the more dangerous of the two kinds because they constantly look for new hosts, transmitting diseases like Lyme disease.
Here are some of the more popular tick species out there:
- Deer ticks
- American Dog ticks
- Blacklegged ticks
- Brown Dog ticks
- Gulf Coast ticks
- Lone Star ticks
- Rocky Mountain Wood ticks
- Groundhog ticks
Are Ticks Harmful to Humans?
Yes, they are.
The tick bite is painless but incredibly harmful to humans and animals because they spread diseases by transmitting pathogens.
Here are some of the conditions that ticks are known to transmit:
- Borrelia Miyamoto
- Colorado Tick Fever
- Lyme disease
- Powassan Virus
- Red Meat Allergy
- Rickettsia Parkeri Rickettsiosis
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever Disease
- Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness
How Do I Get Rid Of Ticks Fast?
So what happens when you find some tricks on you, your family members, or your pet?
You risk being bitten and possibly infected with a disease in such situations, so getting rid of the ticks as fast as possible is a great idea.
But how do you do that?
You can’t cut or squash the ticks, and since the tick is already on your body, something has to be done ASAP before you get rocky mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.
Here are some tips on how to get rid of ticks fast:
1. Rub Some Alcohol
Alcohol has a strong effect on ticks. Once you find a tick, rubbing alcohol on it to help you get it off your skin as possible. You can then use tweezers to grasp the tick, after which you drop it in a container of alcohol that has a lid on it.
This prevents the tick from escaping and allows the alcohol to kill it in little or no time. Tweezers also reduce the risk of you contracting a disease. Rub some alcohol on the bite area too.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil offers double action when it comes to dealing with ticks. It is an excellent tick repellant that can kill them as well. The best part is that it is safe and just as effective.
To get the most of the eucalyptus oil, mix about 4 ounces of distilled water with about 20 drops of eucalyptus oil. You then spray it on yourself, family members, and pets where necessary.
Use this option after you have removed the tick from the site where you found it. You then place the tick in a small container with some bleach in it.
The bleach will eliminate the tick(s)in a matter of minutes.
Use some soap and water if your hand touches the bleach.
Let’s look at how to keep your home tick-free.
How Do You Kill Ticks In Your Home?
So what if you find ticks in your home?
If you have any ticks on your pets or in your yard, then it is only a matter of time before some of them find their way indoors.
The thing is, it is not the end of the world after all. You need to know how to get rid of ticks. There are proven methods for getting rid of ticks that you might find in your house.
Here are some of them:
1. Block the Cracks and Crevices
Ticks are fond of cracks and crevices. Your best bet is to seal any cracks and crevices in your home to limit the areas where the ticks can hide.
2. Treat Your Pets
Your dog or cat is about the easiest way for ticks to get into your home. So besides constantly checking your dogs for ticks, you’d need to treat them, especially after taking them on walks around wooded are.
The idea behind treating your pet is to kill any ticks on your pets while repelling potential tick infestation.
The first step would be to remove the ticks manually, after which you use a tick topical that contains Fipronil, Amitraz, or Permethrin.
3. Use Your Vacuum Cleaner
For this tick removal option to be effective, you need to identify ticks like to inhabit around the home. An excellent place to start would be areas around the house where your dogs spend a lot of time.
Once you have done that, then you want to put the vacuum cleaner to work. Work on the nooks and crannies, door casings, furniture, carpets, baseboards, and the corners of your ceilings.
Vacuum cleaners will quickly draw in any ticks that are close to the business end of the vacuum cleaner is.
4. Apply Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder that is made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms. It is an effective pest control method because it pierces the exoskeleton of insect pests and dehydrates them.
The best part about diatomaceous earth is that it does not contain any toxic components. To get the best results from this option, spread it over the areas you suspect the ticks haunt.
5. Use Tick Sprays
Tick sprays provide a convenient yet effective way to kill ticks that are hiding in the hard-to-reach parts of your home. There are two types that you could use. You could use pesticides which are the preferred options of professionals because of their high kill rates.
All you need is to follow the instructions on the product to get the proper ratio with water. You then put some of the solutions in a pesticide sprayer then spray the pesticide on the parts of the house where you suspect the ticks hide.
We suggest that you use permethrin-based insecticide sprays. Whatever insecticide you use, remember to follow the instructions to the letter.
The other option is to make a less toxic tick repellent with some water and some citrus, which ticks hate.
Add chopped lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit (say two fruits) to about two cups of water.
You can boil the mixture for a bit, after which you let the mixture simmer for a bit. After it has cooled, strain the fruit out, then pour the liquid into a sprayer, then get to spraying yourself, your kids, your pets, and all about your home.
6. Use Heat
Heat is bad for pests like ticks. Use your dryer to instantly eliminate ticks on your clothing, bedding, and other fabrics. It will only take a few minutes to kill any ticks on these fabrics. Use hot water for your laundry. Ticks love dirty clothing so when you do your laundry, use boiling water. Or as hot as the fabric can take.
7. Clean Your Your Home
Ticks hide just about anywhere.
So one of the best ways to get rid of this pest inside your home is to do some spring cleaning around the house. Clean and de-clutter your home. Vacuum and clean your home as you have never done before, paying attention to those parts of your home you often neglect.
How Do You Kill Ticks In Your Yard?
Here’s a caveat.
Outdoor tick treatment takes some time. So don’t expect any of the methods we describe to work like some magic wand that you wave, and all the ticks drop dead.
When applying the techniques, you are about to read of, factor in the tick season and repeat your tick treatment as often as possible. With that, you should be able to get rid of these critters in your yard.
1. Mow the Grass Always
It is crucial to keep the grass short. This helps you keep ticks away because ticks like to hide in tall grasses and brushes that provide the shadowed areas.
This is called “questing,” where ticks hang on a blade of grass and wait for their next host to contact them. They can only hang on blades of tall grasses, so it is advisable to mow your grass regularly.
It lets the sun in, minimizes “questing” to the minimum, and reduces the morning dew and water available to the ticks.
2. Use Tick Spray
This option can work wonders in your yard too. Just make sure you use one with bifenthrin or permethrin, like kryptonite for ticks (not that they have any superpowers).
Make sure that you spray along the perimeter of your yard, windows, foundation, baseboards, and door frames. If your yard is not the size of a soccer pitch, spraying the whole space would be a great idea! That greatly reduces your risk of Lyme disease.
3. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth also works magic against outdoor ticks when applied right. Make sure that you apply it to those areas in your yard that they frequent. Once they come in contact with it, it’s game over for them.
Please pay attention to the instruction when applying it around the yard because it can cause physical abrasion, irritate the eyes and skin and cause lung issues.
4. Get Some Tick Tubes
Tick tubes are cardboard tubes that have been treated with permethrin. These tubes are then placed around the yard where the mice can find them. Some of these places include the foundation of your home and under bushes in the yard.
The mice then take the tubes to their burrows for nesting material. Once this happens, any tick that is on the rodent will be killed by the permethrin.
5. Clear Your Lawn of Brush and Dead Leaves
Clear the damp, dark brush and pile of dead leaves in your lawn because they provide the shaded and moist areas that ticks love to hide in.
It’s essential to keep yard debris to a minimum. The idea is to keep your yard as dry as possible with enough sunlight.
6. Get Rid of Attractants
Deer are great hosts for ticks, just as mice and small rodents are. Most of the mice you see carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. You could get rid of the ticks by getting rid of animals, wild deer, mice, and even stray dogs.
Start by removing anything that draws them to your yard in the first place. Get rid of plants that deer like, and if you have plants and bushes right alongside your house which mice and other rodents can hide in, get rid of them.
You might also want to use deer and rodent repellents in the areas that they frequent.
7. Get Professional Help
All the methods we described are DIY methods that might work when done right. However, a professional exterminator offers a lot more than you could ever do when it comes to handling a tick problem.
They have the specialized equipment and experience to handle any tick problem in no time. So they might be a great option when looking to address a tick problem. Thankfully there are a lot of affordable professionals out there.
What Keeps Ticks Away?
It is one thing to get rid of ticks, but the thing is, why have them around in the first place.
With suitable tick control approaches, you could keep ticks away so that you don’t have a tick infestation in the first place.
Here are some steps that you could take to keep the ticks away:
1. Great Outdoor Maintenance
Tips like wooded areas ensure that you regularly trim the brush and bushes and keep your grass short.
Be sure to remove any yard debris like leaf litter, sticks, wood chips, trash, and other items that can pile up. Use dry mulch/gravel around your trees and shrubs as a barrier against ticks.
2. Excellent Cleaning Routine
Keep your home clean. When cleaning, pay close attention to the space around your doors and windows. Other places include underneath and behind furniture, the baseboards of your walls, the corners, and molding.
Use your vacuum cleaner as often as possible and de-clutter your home frequently. Make sure that your laundry basket and storage spaces areas clean and dry as possible.
3. Preventative Medicine
You could use these to prevent ticks from clinging to your pets. There are many prescriptions available out there. But you need to always follow the instructions on the medication before using them. And always do your research before settling for any of them.
4. Tick Collars
You could use any of the two different types of tick collars out there. One emits a gas that repels ticks, while the other has medicine released onto your pet’s neck. These can be an alternative to topical medications, as they’re usually less expensive.
5. Topical Medications
Topical tick sprays are an excellent option for your dog or cat, but you need to know what works for your pet. There are also topical medications that you can apply to your pets once a month. Just be sure to read the instructions for the application.
Tick Shampoo is another great option if you have a pet that does not hate water.
6. Indoor Pesticides
You could use indoor pesticides to prevent a tick infestation in your home. Follow the instructions to get the best results. If you are not big on the chemicals in these pesticides, try diatomaceous earth, a natural tick treatment option that can easily be vacuumed.
No one loves to have ticks near them for obvious reasons, like diseases like rocky mountain spotted fever or the dreaded Lyme disease. However, there are situations where you can’t help having them around.
This article provides some information on ticks to help you identify, handle and prevent a tick infestation. Hopefully, you now know how to get rid of ticks and keep your home tick-free.