Ticks are bloodsucking little parasites that like to attach themselves stealthily to human and animal hosts. They are also the source of Lyme disease, a potentially debilitating disease transmitted through tick bites. Your front lawn is not the most likely place for a tick infestation, but in this day and age you can never be too sure, or too safe. Several simple, natural compounds have been proven to deter ticks and can make a repellent for your lawn.
Neem can be an effective natural tick killer. Mix one part neem oil with nine parts water in a spray bottle and spray your grass. In an article published in the journal Veterinary Parasitology in May 2002, by S. Abdel-Shafy and A. A. Zayed, researchers in Egypt tested a neem extract on tick eggs as well as immature and adult ticks. They found that the neem induced mortality on all three stages of tick growth in a dose-dependent manner, meaning the higher the neem concentration, the higher the rate of mortality -- up to 100 percent in the study. Neem pesticide products can also be purchased from organic farming supply companies and many nurseries.
Using Cedar Oil
Cedar oil has long been used as a natural insecticide and deterrent. Make your lawn tick-free by spraying, or simply scatter cedar shavings around your yard. A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology in May 2005 by Nicholas A. Panella and a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the essential oil present in Alaskan cedar, even at relatively low concentrations, killed ticks and other disease-carrying insects. The essential oil in cedar is responsible for its strong, aromatic scent, so any natural cedar product you use against ticks should be strong-smelling.
Using Essential Oils
One of the most efficient ways of naturally getting rid of any ticks is making your own high-potency mixture of essential oils. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine in January 2006, by W. Thorsella, A. Mikivera and H. Tunón, three essential oils -- clove, citronella and lily of the valley -- were shown to have tick-repelling properties to the same degree as DEET, a banned chemical insecticide. Find clove and citronella essential oils at most health food stores and mix your own anti-tick spray by adding 10 drops of each essential oil per half cup of water and then spraying directly on your lawn.
Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.