Can Applying Sulfur to Your Yard Get Rid of Ticks and Fleas?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Image Credit: Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Ticks and fleas can be problematic pests, and it is important to get them under control before an infestation occurs. Fleas live on animals — often pets, such as cats and dogs — and they can jump onto humans and bite them. Ticks bite both animals and humans and pose a risk because they can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Sulfur is a nontoxic compound that is found in many pesticides, is used as a form of disease control, and has been a pest control remedy for thousands of years. There's no specific scientific evidence that applying sulfur to your yard will eliminate fleas and ticks. If you apply sulfur, consider applying it in a small section of your yard or lawn and know that it could be a risk; you may not get the results you desire.

Advertisement

What Is Sulfur Used For?

Sulfur is an element found in nature, such as plants, soil, and water. Sulfur is an important component for growing plants and can be used as a fungicide when fungal diseases, including fruit rot, leaf blight, leaf spots, brown rot, and powdery mildew, infect plants, and it is considered a preventive measure to minimize germination of spores. Sulfur is used as a pesticide as well — and has been since Ancient Rome.

Advertisement

So what kinds of pests can sulfur eliminate? It can be used to get rid of fungi, insects, and even rodents. When insects come into contact with sulfur or eat it, the way their bodies function is affected, as it changes their ability to generate energy. Ticks aren't insects; rather, they are classified as arachnids, along with spiders. Sulfur is also used to minimize or kill thrips and psyllids, in addition to mites, which are part of the arachnid class as well.

Advertisement

Because ticks are part of the arachnid class, it's possible that sulfur will kill ticks too. However, thus far there isn't sufficient scientific evidence to show that sulfur is an effective measure against ticks. If it's not effective, you'll need to escalate to a pesticide or powerful chemical product to get rid of these pests from your yard.

Advertisement

Warning

Before deciding whether you want to try using sulfur, know that it's at your own risk; it may also affect the pH level of the soil in your yard.

Protect Yourself Before You Use Sulfur

Sulfur is sold in different forms, including wettable powder, liquid, and dust. Sulfur in dust form is usually applied to kill mites and chiggers. Although it's considered nontoxic to humans and other mammals, it's known to be an irritant, so it's important to protect your eyes by wearing goggles. Also wear gloves to protect your skin.

Before applying sulfur to your yard, it's important to consider the weather and temperature. Sulfur shouldn't be sprayed or applied during dry or hot weather, especially if temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit after application. If any plants have been sprayed with an oil, it's recommended that you don't apply sulfur for a month.

Advertisement