Fleas and ticks are common pests that infest pets and spread diseases like the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and Lyme disease. While fleas don't typically live on humans, they do bite. Ticks will feed happily on humans and are often tracked inside on the fur of a pet only to embed themselves in the pet's human owners. Sulfur is a safe and effective treatment for both fleas and ticks in the yard and presents a non-toxic option for eradicating these pests.
Sulfur interferes with insect eggs, preventing hatching in many cases, according to Better Grow Hydro. Sulfur also repels fleas. Treating the yard with sulfur will kill off the next generation by preventing the hatching of flea and tick eggs while driving away the adult population of fleas with a two-pronged approach to eradication.
Applying the Sulfur
Sulfur is available in a powder and a liquid. Use the powder for the lawn and the liquid for covering cracks and crevices. You can use the liquid directly on your plants, too, for removing other garden pests like black mold or scab. Use a sifter for applying the powder. Make sure you can see the color of the ground through the powder to avoid killing grass or other plants.
Eradicating fleas and ticks is an indoor and outdoor project. If you have an infestation in your yard, chances are good you have them inside, too. A flea and tick comb is a completely non-toxic, manual method for removing adults, eggs and larvae from your pet. Follow up with a sulfur shampoo treatment to kill any remaining organisms, but be sure to thoroughly rinse your pet to prevent any skin irritation from the sulfur.
You should not use sulfur if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees, according to the Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program at the University of California, Davis. Some plants may be particularly sensitive to sulfur, especially plants that require a high pH soil. Always cover your nose and mouth with a protective mask when applying sulfur to your yard, since it is an eye and skin irritant.
Ann Murray has been writing since 1990, with her work now appearing on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing and history from Bard College and is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy in biology.