According to Nathan Riggs of the Texas Cooperative Extension, adult female ticks lay from 1,000 to 5,000 eggs in the debris of fields and forests in late spring and early summer. Seed ticks—the larvae of any tick species—emerge in swarms in late summer. After hatching, seed ticks quickly locate a host animal and feed for four to six days before progressing to the nymph stage. Nymph ticks repeat this feeding process before graduating to adulthood, feeding again and laying eggs. There are many ways to get rid of seed ticks, but poison will be the most effective.
Use a lawnmower to keep the lawn free of debris. Any cover provides a place for adult female ticks to hide and lay their many thousands of eggs. Short grass becomes inhospitable, with temperatures and humidity levels that deter or kill ticks.
Trim the edges of yards and gardens with a string trimmer to eliminate tall weeds and overhanging grasses. Ticks migrate to tall plants along the edges of clearings, using the plants as ambush platforms for latching onto animals and people. Pushing back the cover moves many ticks away from heavily used areas.
Treat the borders of lawns with a dry powdered insecticide. Tick control poisons or acaricides in a granulated form will settle to the bottom of debris where ticks lay eggs or hide while digesting blood meals.
Attack the many possible hiding places of ticks—cracks in foundations, the edges of sidewalks and stepping stones, and any wooden structures, such as garden fences or gazebos—with liquid insecticide in a manual pump sprayer. Only liquid spray penetrates crevices deeply enough to reach areas that are sheltering ticks. Spray infestations of ticks twice, four weeks apart, to break the reproductive cycle.
Clean up any old bird seed or pet food left in the yard. Waste food attracts wild animals, including mice and rats—preferred hosts for seed ticks. Wild animals taking advantage of food sources in the yard may drop adult ticks at the egg-laying stage, reinfesting the area.
Things You Will Need
- String trimmer
- Liquid insecticide
- Manual pump sprayer
- Inspect pet dogs and cats regularly for ticks. Flea and tick baths remove parasites owners might otherwise miss. Flea and tick collars provide effective long-term control.
- Border lawns with 2- to 3-foot-wide beds of gravel or bark mulch. The higher temperatures and dry conditions in these materials provide a natural barrier to ticks on the move.
- Insecticides effective against ticks are equally deadly to beneficial insects and may harm wildlife or fish. Apply acaricides only if necessary, and stop using the poisons when tick numbers decline.