Our Entomology Expert Explains How To Prepare For Ticks & Deal With Them In Your Yard

Warm days are for spending time in nature, but if you venture outdoors without taking the right precautions, you may be the perfect target for ticks. These arachnids are the size of a poppy seed, but don't be fooled — ticks are mighty predators. Often found lurking in tall grasses, bushes, wooded areas, and even backyards, ticks can attach themselves to their hosts completely unnoticed. Several species of ticks, such as the Lone Star Tick and American Dog Tick, can carry and transmit bacteria that cause serious illnesses in humans and pets. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from these potentially harmful bugs.

In an exclusive interview with House Blog, Procter & Gamble entomologist Daniel Perry shared with us the most effective ways to reduce the risk of ticks in your environment. Overall, according to Perry, the best way to keep these insects at bay is to be prepared before stepping out into their territory. Homeowners can also fortify their yards against ticks for a more carefree summer in the great outdoors.

The most effective ways to deter and kill ticks

Speaking exclusively with House Blog, entomologist Daniel Perry says that the best way to stay safe from ticks is to be well-equipped when venturing into their habitat. "Preparing for ticks before you enter their environment is the most important thing you can do," says Perry. 

How can you prepare? First off is dressing for it. "If you are going on a hike or otherwise need to enter a high tick habitat, be sure to wear long pants tucked into your socks and long sleeves to keep ticks from finding bitable areas. Then, apply a tick repellent to any exposed skin while following usage directions." Tick repellents containing active ingredients such as DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 are the most effective. Perry recommends Zevo On-Body Mosquito + Tick Repellent, which he says can provide protection from ticks for up to eight hours.

As for how to rid your clothing of pesky ticks, well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends throwing your clothes in the dryer on high heat for 10 minutes. Conducting a full-body check and showering within two hours of coming indoors can significantly reduce your risk of tick-borne illnesses, says the CDC. Remember to thoroughly check your children and pets for ticks as well.

How to keep ticks out of your yard for good

When it comes to keeping ticks out of your yard, sadly, Daniel Perry told House Blog in our exclusive interview that there is no surefire solution to eliminate them completely. However, there are ways to make your outdoor space a less appealing environment for them. "Unfortunately, ticks live outside our spaces and there is no easy way to get rid of them outdoors," says Perry. "The next best thing to do is keep ticks from living in your yard. Keeping grass trimmed and getting rid of tall bushes will prevent your yard from becoming a tick paradise." If your yard is overgrown, Perry recommends enlisting the help of a professional landscaping service to get it back into good shape.

What can one accomplish on their own? To create a tick-safe zone in your backyard, the CDC suggests cleaning up leaf litter and using gravel or wood chips to separate your lawn from leafy areas where ticks may be found. Remove vegetation that may attract deer, as these animals tend to be carriers of ticks. Another option is to treat your yard with a chemical control agent. With these precautions, you and your family will be well-protected from ticks this season.