Natural Way To Get Rid Of Ticks – In many parts of the country, diseased ticks are a serious concern—serious enough to convince some people to spray their lawns with pesticides and chemically treat the outside of their clothes. However, many people oppose the introduction of synthetic chemicals into the environment, especially to control dangerous pests.
Over the past two decades or so, this problem has led researchers around the world to look for natural ways to remove ticks from property and people, with some success.
Natural Way To Get Rid Of Ticks
Before going into battle, one must “know one’s enemy,” as Chinese philosopher and military strategist Sun Tzu put it. This is especially important when dealing with ticks, which have significant habits and weaknesses that can be exploited.
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The two most common ticks in the United States, the American dog tick and the black-legged tick, find hosts by sitting on plants and waiting for them to pass. They then grab the animal’s (or human’s) fur, fur, or clothing with their feet and step over it.
“He’s what we call an ambush strategist,” said Kirby Stafford, principal scientist and state entomologist at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Ticks also use plants for protection from the sun, which can dry them out. Black-legged ticks, in particular, are particularly susceptible to desiccation, Stafford said.
For this reason, simply mowing your lawn can reduce the number of ticks you see on your property. Short grass does not provide sufficient shelter for some species to survive. Picking up dead leaves, trimming bushes, and pruning trees can also help reduce some types of ticks in your area.
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“In recent research we found that leaf litter is very important for the survival of the black-legged tick,” said Chuck Lobelczyk, a field biologist at the Lyme and Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Maine Medical Center. “Removing leaf litter from the yard and drying it out makes it much less hospitable to the black-legged tick.”
“The whole concept is to reduce the suitability of the immediate habitat around the house for ticks,” Stafford said. “You won’t eliminate them all, but you will reduce their number.”
In a study conducted by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, approximately 67% of ticks were found in heavily forested areas, 22% in neglected transitional habitats between forests and open areas, 9% in ornamental plants, and 2% in . Lawns In addition, on lawns, the majority of collisions (82%) occurred within three meters of the lawn perimeter, particularly along trees, stone walls and ornamental plants. The study also found that there was more dust in shady areas of the lawn.
With these statistics in mind, another common tick control practice — installing a 3-foot-wide barrier of gravel or rubber mulch between lawns and wooded areas, and around swing sets and recreation areas — makes sense. Open to the sun, this barrier prevents the ankles from slipping.
Ways To Get Rid Of Ticks From Your Yard
Unfortunately, there are some types of ticks, such as solitary ticks, that can tolerate dry conditions and therefore aren’t easily confused for lack of cover, according to the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center. Furthermore, the solitary tick actively tracks the host, moving in response to carbon dioxide and movement.
“It’s a very aggressive tick with a more predatory strategy,” said Stafford, who added that more research is underway into how to deal with this particularly aggressive tick.
While chickens enjoy being around humans, they also enjoy feeding on the blood of many other animals. The black-legged tick, for example, is also known as the deer tick because it often bites deer.
Therefore, one way to reduce the number of ticks on your property is to fence open areas that are used to prevent certain tick-bearing animals such as deer from entering. Another option is to plant deer resistant plants such as daffodils, lavender, mint, asters and marigolds. These plants don’t scare deer, but they don’t attract them either.
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Also consider removing bird feeders for tick season because birds can also carry ticks, as can rodents like mice and squirrels. For this reason, it’s also important to clean up trash and anything else that might attract these animals to your property.
A lot of scientific research has been done in recent years to identify plant-based ingredients that repel and kill ticks.
A 2011 study by researchers from the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, for example, found that blackberry (Landra melsifolia) essential oil repels black-legged fleas and ticks. A 2009 study published in the Oxford Journal of Medical Entomology found that a compound derived from hemp oil repels black-legged ticks.
A 2003 Swedish study found that citronella, clove and lily of the valley oils repel castor mites (European mites, also known as sheep mites). A 2016 study by researchers in the Czech Republic found that lavender and eucalyptus oil repel similar ticks.
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Lemon eucalyptus oil has also been shown to be effective at repelling ticks, especially black-legged ticks, Lobelchuk said. This natural ingredient has been tested in many studies and is now commonly found in natural tick treatments.
Inspired by these studies of different plant oils, many companies have combined different plant oils to create natural tick repellents for use on skin, clothes and lawns. Common ingredients include garlic oil and essential oil blends of rosemary, lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint, thyme, and geraniol. But unlike synthetic pesticides, these natural pesticides are not regulated or tested by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
“The problem with natural sprays is that most of them don’t work, unfortunately,” Stafford said. “There’s no need to test for effectiveness, so companies can just release these [products]. And the real problem is that often you don’t know what you have. What is the source of your herbs? What plant does the oil come from? How did you get it?”
Currently, the only natural soil repellent registered by the EPA is 2-undecanone, a compound derived from the wild tomato plant. Additionally, nitactone, a compound derived from the essential oil of Alaskan yellow cedar, some herbs, and citrus fruits, is currently under EPA approval for registration as an effective tick repellent.
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“There are two large projects in Connecticut and New Jersey with a grant from the CDC evaluating nitcots for tick control,” Stafford said. “It’s very unstable, so there’s another problem with these [plant-based] compounds: Even if they work, you use them and they’re gone in a day or two.”
“It takes a lot of work and money to develop a sprayable product,” she added. “The word is very important.”
Outside of the plant world, there is an EPA-registered fungus, Metarhizium brunneum (formerly Metarhizium anisopliae), which has been used to kill black leg mites in lawns and gardens. These fungi grow naturally in soil around the world and are commercially available as a bioinsecticide called Met25.
“It’s technically not a purely organic product because it contains a small amount of petroleum distillate as a carrier to keep the spores in suspension,” Stafford said, “but it’s definitely a more natural method.”
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Free-range chickens and other poultry, such as guinea fowl and turkeys, naturally eat ticks and other lawn insects, but whether this can significantly affect the number of ticks on a property is a matter of debate.
Relatively little is known about chickens as predators of ticks and references are often based on isolated observations and some quantitative reports, according to a 1996 South African study.
For the study, a total of 461 pieces (representing four different species) were collected from the cultures and rumen of 19 chickens over a nine-week period. These chickens have been free-range for a limited time on a livestock farm in Bath Shabella, South Africa. About 20 percent of the ticks were found, and the researchers found that the chickens actually picked up the ticks from livestock.
However, not much is known yet about the impact birds can have on tick populations, especially if they only feed on these tiny insects in vegetation.
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“There hasn’t been a lot of work done on this [topic],” Stafford said, “but with that limited data, it hasn’t had much of an impact.”
No matter how much effort you put into managing ticks, it’s unrealistic to think you’ll completely rid your property of ticks, Stafford said. “There is no such thing as a silver bullet.”
That’s why it’s important to be careful when you’re outdoors, even in an area where ticks are present. There are many natural methods of self defense. One of the most common ways to protect your skin from ticks is by pulling on your long pants socks. It won’t win any fashion contests, but it can delay ticks from finding and biting your skin. It will touch them
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