How to Protect Your Home from a Tick InvasionReading time: 7 minutes
Ticks are a common problem in western Canada. These tiny, bloodsucking arachnids can transmit severe diseases with their bite, including anaplasmosis and Lyme disease. Protecting your home and yard from ticks is essential, especially as winter approaches and warm-season insects start looking for shelter.
Below, learn ways to protect your home from a tick invasion and how to know when you should get help from a pest control professional.
Top Tick Prevention Strategies for Your Home and Yard
Ticks are mainly active during the summer but don’t go away once winter hits. Tick season can be incredibly long if the fall and winter start (or stay) on the mild side. That’s why it’s important to act proactively to keep them out of your yard and away from your home. Here are our top tick prevention strategies:
Treat Pets for Fleas and Ticks
Ticks are attracted to warm-blooded animals and wait in the grass to hop on. They can even drop onto them from the trees above. Animals that spend time outside or go in and out are often prone to attracting ticks, which can burrow into their fur, where they latch on and stay hidden for a long time.
Treating your pets and livestock with tick-preventative is essential in controlling ticks on your property. This is especially true for cats, dogs, and other animals that spend time inside your house. While these compounds don’t prevent ticks from being attracted to your pet or even from biting them, they do act quickly to kill them once the tick comes in contact with the animal’s protective barrier.
Keep Wildlife and Nuisance Animals Out of Your Yard
Wildlife and nuisance animals will also attract ticks to your yard. Ticks are more likely to breed in areas where their food source is abundant, and keeping these animals off your property also helps keep the ticks at bay naturally.
Here are some ways you can do this:
- Keep trash secured in chew-proof containers with tight lids.
- Install a fence around the outside of your property.
- Put motion-activated sprinklers and lights in your yard to startle animals away.
- Put scarecrows, reflective tape, and other items that “scare” animals around your property.
- Plant native species near your home that deter animals like deer, raccoons, and rabbits.
- Remove possible shelters for animals to hide, like old tires and empty crates or boxes.
Cut Back Overgrown Foliage
Foliage around your home, like trees, bushes, and other vegetation, is the most common place for ticks to nest and lay eggs. They can wait here for animals or humans to pass by, where they can drop or crawl onto them until they come into contact with skin they can successfully bite.
Cut back this vegetation to make it harder for ticks to cross the distance between the shrubs and your house, including tree branches hovering over your roof or near windows. You can also plant species that deter ticks around your home, like citronella or rosemary.
Keeping leaf litter and grass clippings picked up is also a good idea. While trimming vegetation around your yard or putting in tick-repelling plants is unlikely to eradicate a full-scale tick infestation, it can be a critical component of a complete tick prevention strategy.
Rodent Control is Essential
Rodents are also carriers of ticks and are much more challenging to keep away than larger animals like raccoons or deer. Controlling mice and rats outside the home will limit their impact and lower the chances of ticks getting into your home via these pests.
Effective rodent control methods can use bait, traps, and exclusion strategies to keep most of them out and eradicate the ones that get in sustainably and in an eco-friendly way. This is also helpful for reducing flea populations and lowers the risk of rodent-transmitted diseases like hantavirus, monkeypox, and leptospirosis.
Signs It’s Time to Contact a Professional Exterminator
Unfortunately, ticks can still become a problem even if you take the necessary steps to prevent them. If you’ve used the tips above and are still seeing ticks on your property, you may need the support of a pest control specialist.
Here are some signs it may be time to contact a professional tick exterminator:
- You regularly find ticks or tick bites on your pets, children, or yourself – Tick bites are the most serious sign of an infestation since this is how ticks transmit harmful diseases. If you’re finding these arachnids on your family or pets at a high rate, it’s time to chat with a professional.
- You see ticks in your yard or on objects brought in from outside – If you don’t see bites or ticks on people or pets but you are seeing them around your home, you may still want to reach out to a specialist. Ticks tend to hide in tall grasses, so if they’re readily visible, you may face an infestation.
- You come across areas in your home where ticks have laid their eggs – You may see areas around your home where ticks have laid eggs, like cracks between your walls or around your floor. Tick eggs are incredibly small but look like a clump of tiny, bronze caviar.
Understanding the signs of a tick infestation is critical to knowing when to call for professional extermination support. While DIY prevention strategies are an excellent way for you to add a line of defence against ticks, it may only be possible to eradicate multiple nests of ticks with professional intervention and chemicals. A pest control specialist can work with you to create a multi-pronged strategy with different methods that deter ticks.
What to Expect During Your Tick Control Treatment
When your pest control technician arrives, they will assess your property to determine where the perimeter is and what barriers may need to be put up. This inspection will reveal any problem areas and help them decide on a plan of action to control ticks (and other pests) in your yard.
Often, this plan will include chemical treatments meant to target pests like ticks without causing harm to your property, family, or pets. At Buzz Boss, we’ve developed applications that can be fully customized while staying eco-friendly to the other plants and wildlife around your yard.
Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has only approved five compounds for use against mosquitos and ticks: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2% soybean oil, and citronella oil. These active ingredients are used in various products, from professional tick applications to over-the-counter creams and sprays that can be applied topically to deter ticks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tick Prevention
Where are ticks the most common?
Ticks are frequently found in grassy, wooded areas and places with a lot of foliage and vegetation. This allows them to hide undetected until a human or animal passes by and attach to their fur, skin, or clothing.
What should I do if I find an embedded tick?
Ticks should be removed as soon as possible after they are detected. The longer a tick remains attached, the higher the risk of disease transmission. If any of the tick’s head or body remains embedded in the skin, the risk of disease is increased, and the bite could potentially even become infected.
Use tweezers or a special tick removal tool that grasps the tick right at the skin's surface when removing the tick. Instead of dislodging the body from the head and only pulling part of the tick out, you can get as close as possible to the tick’s head to remove it in one swift motion. This helps prevent the head from staying inside the skin when the rest of the tick comes out.
Are there any vaccines I can get to prevent tick-borne diseases?
No vaccines currently exist for any tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Dogs can get vaccinated for Lyme disease. However, these immunizations are not approved for human use.
Buzz Boss Is Your Trusted Partner for Effective Tick Control
If you notice an abundance of ticks around your property or want to get ahead of the curve with prevention, start by connecting with a professional. At Buzz Boss, our experienced and qualified pest control technicians can determine the level of your infestation and pest control strategies will be the most effective for your specific circumstances.
Book today to schedule with one of our pest control experts and defend your home from disease-carrying ticks!