Organic Pesticides for Ticks

Ticks can be more than annoying---several species of ticks can cause Lyme disease, a bacterial disease that affects skin, the heart, joints and the nervous system of not only humans but other animals as well, according to Carnegie Mellon University. Ticks can also cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Several organic products are effective in keeping ticks away from you, your pets and your property.

Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil

The Centers for Disease Control lists this organic product as an effective repellent for the deer ticks that can cause Lyme disease. A commercial product called Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent, from Spectrum Brands, contains this essential oil, so you can purchase a product like this or mix your own lemon eucalyptus oil with a carrier lotion and apply it to your skin. Essential oils are strong, and can irritate the skin if you use them undiluted, so always combine them with a lotion or oil that is appropriate for the skin: 1 to 2 tsp. of essential oil to 16 oz. of lotion is a good blend. For pets, mix 1 tsp. of lemon eucalyptus oil with 2 to 3 cups of water and then apply it as a spray.


Sprays that are made with garlic have proved effective in repelling certain insects, including ticks, from yards, people and pets. A commercial product called Mosquito Barrier is available: mix it with soybean oil and water and then spray the mixture around your yard four times during spring and summer for control of ticks. Or make your own garlic spray by combining a full head of garlic cloves with 1 qt. of water in a blender. Strain it, add 2 tbsp. of soybean oil, and spray it as you would the commercial product.

Citronella Oil

Candles and many other products are available that contain this essential oil. They are popularly believed to repel insects such as ticks and mosquitoes. Entomologists from the United States Department of Agriculture tested citronella's effectiveness in 2004, and concluded that three products containing this oil kept insects away from the body for up to five hours. The Environmental Protection Agency lists citronella oil as a "minimum risk pesticide."


Several products are available that use this natural substance that comes from chrysanthemums and other types of flowers. As with other organic tick repellents, you must reapply permethrin-based products more often than you would apply chemical pesticides. Permethrins are included in the products called Permanon and Duranon. Although they are considered organic, it is wise to avoid applying them to your face. Never ingest any organic pesticides, and avoid inhaling the vapors.

Keywords: organic pesticides, ticks mosquitoes, Lyme disease

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.