Ticks in the yard not only cause painful bites and blood loss from humans and pets, but they can also carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Many people think that only serious chemical insecticides can kill these garden pests, but several organic alternatives can rid your yard of ticks, including herbal and all-natural products.
Diatomaceous earth, sometimes called DE, is a white powder made from the bodies of tiny sea invertebrates called diatoms. This powder is like fiberglass to the exoskeletons of hard-bodied insects such as ticks and fleas, and it cuts at their exoskeletons and dries the bugs out. To use DE for tick removal in the yard, spread the powder over infested areas. Also pour a line of powder around the foundations of your house and near steps where ticks might enter the house. You can also spread diatomaceous earth directly onto pet's fur to keep away fleas and ticks, but always keep the powder out of your eyes because it can cause irritation.
Pyrethrin is a naturally occurring insecticidal chemical derived from chrysanthemum flowers that is used in many organic flea and tick shampoos, and lawn sprays. Most organic commercial sprays will contain this chemical, so look for pyrethrin or pyrethrum on the label. Pyrethrin shampoos can also help control ticks carried by mice. You can make deer tick traps by soaking cotton balls or dryer lint in organic flea and tick pet shampoo, then placing the cotton inside empty toilet paper rolls. Mice that carry ticks into the yard will take the shampoo-soaked cotton back to their nests and the ticks will die.
Organic Tick Spray Recipe
One recipe for organic tick spray for the yard includes all-natural insecticidal soap and alcohol. Mix 1 tbsp. pure liquid soap like Ivory or plain unscented dish soap with 2 cups rubbing alcohol and 1 gallon soft tap water or rainwater. Mix soap in water in a garden sprayer, then add alcohol. Spray in the evening so alcohol and sunlight doesn't burn plants.
Mentholatum found in chest rubs for colds can also repel ticks, so you can spread it over arms and legs before going outside, paying special attention to lower legs that will come in contact with grass. You can also make an organic tick repellent by mixing a carrier oil such as almond oil with essential oils of insect-repelling oils like chrysanthemum flower, rosemary, mint, pennyroyal and tansy.
As a writing tutor since 2007, Amanda Gaddis has experience in explaining complex subjects simply. She is excited to write articles on education and literature. Gaddis holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Stephen F. Austin State University, and had her creative writing published in their literary magazine.