6 simple tips to get rid of ticks
An expert shares his advice for keeping your yard free of these blood-sucking pests.
© Popular Mechanics
Russ Jundt, a mosquito and tick expert and owner of several Mosquito Squad franchises in the Twin Cities area, shares some of his proven tips for eliminating deer ticks. (Bing: What kind of diseases do ticks carry?)
1. Clear out
"Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas," Jundt says. So keep their favorite habitat away from your favorite habitat. Place compost piles away from outdoor play areas, decks and other outdoor living spaces. Swing sets, sandboxes and anywhere else your family typically plays or gathers should be located away from wooded areas. In addition, a wide patch of wood chips or gravel can provide a barrier that prevents ticks from jumping from the woods into your lawn.
2. Clean debris
Get rid of piles of brush, leaves and grass where ticks like to hide. Also, mow your grass regularly so it won't provide a shady shelter for pests.
3. Choose plants that don't attract deer
Ticks can travel on deer to get into your yard, so you need to dissuade deer from entering. One way is to avoid plants and shrubs that attract deer; your local nursery can help. Or install physical barriers, such as a fence. Jundt says spraying deer repellent can also help to keep the animals from wandering into your yard to nibble on your plants or tree branches.
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4. Check tick hiding places
Fences, retaining walls and exterior walls of outbuildings, such as sheds, are popular tick hideouts. "Know where ticks like to hide, then check there frequently," Jundt says.
5. Care for your pets
Family pets can suffer from tick bites and tick-borne diseases — and they can carry ticks into your house. Make sure to outfit your cats and dogs with tick collars, and don't forget to spray them. Your veterinarian can recommend pest-control products.
6. Call the pros
Chronic tick problems may require professional help. Pros use sprays that kill live ticks on contact. They also use "tick tubes." These biodegradable, cardboard tubes typically are filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls. Mice will collect the cotton to build their nests; when the deer ticks that feed on the mice are exposed to the permethrin, they die. The mice and other animals aren't harmed. "Field mice and other rodents are the main deliverers of ticks," Jundt says.