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How to tick-proof your yard this summer

Experts weigh in on the best ways to keep your yard tick-free so you can enjoy a safe and worry-free summer outdoors.
Freshly manicured landscaping in a backyard.
Posted at 3:02 PM, May 05, 2024

There’s nothing better on a summer day than enjoying time outdoors in your backyard. Whether you like to garden, bask in the sun or simply read a good book on your patio, your backyard can be like an extra room in your home. However, there may be something lurking out there — a tiny but formidable foe: the tick. These minuscule pets may be small, but their potential impact on your health and well-being looms large.

We spoke with Scot Hodges, a pest control expert with Arrow Exterminators and Tom Dobrinska, a board-certified entomologist and Technical Service Manager for Terminix to find out the right strategies to tick proof your yard.

Lone star tick on a leaf.

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Keep your yard tidy
Dobrinska says that it’s important to understand how ticks behave before you can address the problem,

“Ticks are only after two things — a welcoming habitat and blood meals,” he explains.

By keeping your yard clean and tidy you can prevent them from making their home on your property.

“The best way to prevent an infestation is to make your yard less attractive to these parasites by mowing the lawn regularly, keeping vegetation trimmed, and removing any piles of leaves or debris where ticks and their hosts can hide,” Dobrinska says.

Keep animals out
Ticks can hitch a ride on animals like mice, stray dogs and others. Keep ticks from traveling into your yard with fences.

“Constructing a fence along the perimeter of your yard will help keep out other unwelcomed critters such as deer and rodents, who are known carriers of ticks,” says Dobrinska.

Stay away from the edges
If you live near woods or areas with a lot of brush and tall grass, make sure to keep your most-used outdoor areas, like playsets, seating areas and patios away from the outer edges of your property.

Dobrinska says you can “add a barrier of mulch or gravel between your manicured lawn and the woods. We recommend a barrier at least three feet wide, which can serve as a transition area preventing ticks traveling from the woods from entering straight into your yard.”

Female deer tick on human skin.

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Natural tick deterrents
To get rid of pests, you could also use an all-natural spray like Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray, which contains peppermint oil and clove extract (eugenol) and attached to your hose for quick application.

If you’re looking for more natural tick deterrents, you could consider adding these plants to your garden. They have a reputation for turning ticks away.

  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon Balm
  • Garlic
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Marigolds
  • Sage
  • Mint

If you’re comfortable using pesticides around your house and in your recreational areas, it can help reduce the number of ticks. But you shouldn’t rely on this method alone to protect yourself. Also, make sure to check with local officials about any rules or regulations concerning the use of pesticides and tick spray for yards and consider using a professional tick control company.

“Pesticides should be applied to areas where ticks are commonly found, such as the border of woodland areas, yard ornaments and stonewalls,” Dobrinska says. “Treatment methods may vary based on the type of tick. For example, treatment for nymphal black-legged ticks may be the most effective during mid-May and mid-June, before populations reach their peaks.”

Tick bait boxes
These tick bait boxes, sometimes also called tick tubes, are a great option for getting rid of deer ticks in your yard. They lower the number of ticks around your outdoor space by treating their preferred hosts, like chipmunks and mice, with insecticide (it does not harm them). If you’re not thrilled with the idea of spraying your yard with pesticides, this may be a better, more targeted option.

Get a preventative treatment for your dog
Talk to your vet about preventive treatments for your dogs and cats. Dogs are more prone to tick bites and diseases because they typically spend more time outdoors.

“Bathe and groom pets often and visit a veterinarian for professional tick treatments. Also, inspect pets daily, especially the front shoulders, back and ears,” says Hodges.

A deer tick rests on a plant

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Think ahead in the fall
Dobrinska says preventative care before the summer arrives is also important to keep tick populations under control.

“To combat adult ticks, have a tick control professional treat your yard in the fall, as well,” he says. “This is because some species of ticks can be active anytime when temperatures are above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Bring in the professionals
Hodges says if you detect ticks, it’s best to hand the problem over to the professionals.

“If a tick infestation is suspected, a pest professional should be contacted immediately to eradicate the problem,” he says.

Creating a tick-proof yard is not only achievable, but essential for enjoying a safe and worry-free summer outdoors. By incorporating tick-repelling plants, practicing regular yard maintenance, and using additional preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering ticks in your outdoor space.

This story was originally published by Fiona Tapp at

@scrippsnews Experts expect this summer to be a busy tick season. So how can you prevent them from infiltrating your yard? Here are a few tips to make your outdoor space tick-proof. #tickseason #news #backyard ♬ original sound - Scripps News