The Clock Is Ticking! Get Rid of Ticks Quick
Ticks aren't just incredibly gross. They can also pose a serious health risk to humans. Ick.
While it's practically impossible to reduce the risk of tick bites to zero without becoming a hermit, there are some simple methods you can use to exterminate ticks, both inside the home and outdoors.
Ticks are a type of arachnid related to spiders. Like spiders, they have eight legs and small oval bodies. Ticks usually live in overgrown, woody areas, and you may find them in leaf piles, bushes or long grass in your yard.
Ticks have adapted mouthparts that allow them to attach to the skin of animals or humans and feed on their blood. Although an unfed adult tick is usually around the size of an apple seed, it can become significantly larger when engorged with blood. Typically, a tick remains attached to its host for 3 to 5 days.
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Ticks can pose a risk to humans when they carry blood-borne infections. Outdoor workers have a greater chance of developing health problems caused by tick bites because of their working environment, but they affect anyone who spends time in their yard or other outdoor areas. Diseases commonly carried by ticks in the United States include:
- Lyme disease
- Colorado tick fever
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
The longer the tick remains attached to your skin, the greater the risk of contracting a disease. For that reason, it's essential to remove the tick as quickly as possible.
Avoid bursting the removed tick. Instead, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet or in a sealed bag with your household waste. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a rash or fever in the weeks following a tick bite.
Unless you or your pet gets bitten, inspecting your yard is the only reliable way to identify a tick problem. You can look for ticks using a flashlight or by dragging a light-colored sheet over grass and other surfaces to see if ticks cling on. Pay particular attention to the following areas:
- Along walls
- Leaf piles
- Piles of firewood or debris
- Long grass
- Places where pets or wild animals tend to spend time
There are multiple options for exterminating ticks in your yard. These include:
Cedar oil is a natural tick deterrent, and eucalyptus and neem oils can actually kill ticks. Try mixing the oils with purified water in a spray bottle and spraying the mixture liberally over problem areas. Using essential oils can be a good option if you have pets or young children.
Diatomaceous earth is another pet- and kid-friendly option for killing ticks. It comes in powder form and dehydrates pests, such as ticks, on contact, killing them within a few hours. You can use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ticks by spreading it around your yard and reapplying it after heavy rain.
Tick foggers release pesticides into your yard. While some foggers claim to eliminate a wide range of pests, it's best to choose one formulated to tackle tick infestations. However, the ingredients in tick foggers may be dangerous for children and pets.
Permethrin is a type of pesticide that's highly effective for eradicating ticks. However, it can damage plants and surfaces, so checking the usage guidelines before using permethrin sprays in your yard is essential. You should also wear protective clothing and eyewear while applying permethrin.
Aracicide chemicals won't eliminate ticks, but they can make the above methods more effective. These substances can be highly toxic to humans and animals, so it's best to hire a tick extermination company to apply them for you.
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The average cost of a single tick extermination treatment is $125, and most people pay between $50 and $100. You could pay as little as $40 to treat a minor infestation in a small yard. However, treating a larger or inaccessible area could cost up to $1,250.
You can reduce the risk of a tick infestation in your yard by making the area as unfriendly to ticks as possible. Ticks prefer to inhabit covered areas, so removing brush and mowing your grass can give them fewer places to hide. Pick up leaf litter as quickly as possible, and store firewood instead of leaving it in stacks outside your home.
Wildlife can sometimes introduce ticks to your yard. Therefore, it's wise to deter animals, such as deer and raccoons, from entering by erecting fences.
An indoor tick infestation is relatively unlikely because modern HVAC systems create inhospitable conditions, causing the ticks to dry out and perish. Therefore, ticks can rarely survive inside your home long enough to lay eggs.
Although the chances of an indoor infestation are tiny, it's still important to kill any ticks you see inside to reduce the risk further. You can also clean the areas where you've seen ticks with bleach or rubbing alcohol and sprinkle them with table salt to eradicate any eggs or larvae. Alternatively, you could try spraying a solution of eucalyptus oil and water around your home to kill ticks.
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