Insects

How to Get Rid of Ticks

Types of Ticks

Ticks are small blood sucking parasites that belong to the arachnid family. They have eight legs and come in two types; one with a hard outer shell and one with a soft outer shell. Soft shelled ticks live in crevices and will only come out to feed, while hard shelled ticks spend long periods of time attached to their host. Ticks feed on blood, which is a great source of proteins and lipids. They feed on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and as such are often found on domestic pets and even on humans.

Ticks typically live in tall grass where they will sit at the very tip of a blade of grass waiting for a suitable host to brush by it. Although many people think that ticks actually jump onto you, this is not true. You must actually brush up against the tick in order for it to attach itself. Ticks use a structure in their mouth called a hypostome which resembles a harpoon to firmly attach themselves to their host and begin feeding. They typically will stay attached until they become full of blood and then drop off.

Tick Bite Prevention

The first step in getting rid of ticks is avoiding getting bitten in the first place. You will need to take some precautions if you are going to be in the woods, or passing through tall grass. The first is to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts. You should tuck your pant legs into your socks and your shirt into your pants. Ticks will typically attach low onto your body and crawl upwards so if you can eliminate patches of exposed skin then they are less likely to bite you. When you are in a place that you might be bitten by a tick, wear a tick repellent. These lotions and bug sprays can be purchased in any drug store and there are also repellents which you can treat your clothing and gear with.

In North America, ticks are most active from spring to November. If you find that you have a tick problem in your neighborhood, there are a few things you can do to try to reduce the population and lessen your chance of being bitten.

An insecticide called permethrin kills ticks and can be found either online or at most sporting goods and gardening centers. Take cotton, treat it with the permethrin, and put it in biodegradable cardboard tubes. The tubes are placed outside, where mice collect it for their nests. The permethrin kills any ticks that feed on the mice. This system will not harm the mice, but will kill the ticks.

Many people also choose to keep guinea fowl on their property. Guinea fowl, a type of bird, can eat very large quantities of ticks and can often keep your property clear of them.

The best way to protect your pets from tick bites is to keep them indoors. If this is not desired or practical, then you should consider using tick medication. If you take this route, be very careful about what you choose. There have been multiple animal deaths, as well as serious illness, as a result of over the counter tick medication. Consult your veterinarian about possible medications for your pet.

You should brush your dog or cat regularly with a special brush made to remove fleas and ticks (Tips on how to get rid of fleas naturally). It’s also good practice to manually inspect their fur, not only for their own safety, but because they can spread to your family. Washing their bedding, grooming them on a regular basis, and keeping your grass mowed short will help reduce a tick problem.

When planning an excursion into areas where you suspect ticks could be hiding, you should designate a “tick buddy” to check your body. Pick someone that you trust, as you will need them to examine your body thoroughly. Ticks can hide anywhere so you need to do a very solid tick check. You should also remember to check your hair, especially if it is long or thick. Remember that ticks like to hide in crevices, so don’t neglect places like the back of your knees, underarms and groin.

Tick Diseases

Ticks are one of the largest carriers of disease in the world, second only to mosquitoes. Many people who become sick after a tick bite have been infected by tick-borne illnesses. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever as well as many others. Treatment by antibiotics should be started if there are any signs of a tick borne illness. The types of diseases carried by a tick can vary greatly depending on the geographical area in which the tick bite occurs.

Tick Removal

When a tick attaches itself to it’s host it actually buries its head under the surface of your skin, so it is very important that you do not just try to yank it out. This could leave is mouth parts and head under your skin which can lead to infection.

Once you have found a tick, you will want to take a pair of tweezers and put them around the tick, as close to the surface of your skin as possible. Grab onto the tick and pull straight back. You might have to wiggle the tweezers a bit to get the tick to come out. Pull slowly but firmly. Once it is out, you can either burn it, or wrap it up in tissue and flush it down the toilet. Don’t simply throw it in the trash, as it will likely climb out and bite you again. You also do not want to crush it with your hand or feet as that can release any toxins present inside the ticks body. Once the tick is removed, carefully wash the site of the bite with soap and water. You should also clean it with some alcohol or betadine and consider placing it into a sealed container and storing it in your refrigerator for a month in case you develop any symptoms. Having the tick that bit you could help doctors diagnose your disorder.

Although there are many home remedies for removing ticks such a putting petroleum jelly, nail polish, alcohol or a hot match on the tick’s body, there are NOT recommended. While they are usually successful in removing the tick, it will be under a great amount of stress and is more likely release toxins into your body before it’s removed. Using one of these methods can increase your chances of getting a tick borne illness.

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About the author

Nicole Harding

40 Comments

  • yes i have a tick problem to what i do in my yard is i pet borax laundry soap and put it in the grass and what it does is it drys them up and kills them

  • I have a really bad tick problem in my house!! I think they were there before we moved in, but we have 2 dogs and they have picked them up as well. The dogs live outside mainly and we have treated them with Frontline.

    However, we have lots of ticks in the house which we find crawling up the walls and I have found attached to my clothes too!!

    I am not very paranoid and want to clear my house out as I dont know where the little cretins are hiding and its makign me feel very uncomfortable.

    Any suggestions on what I can do for my house?!

  • my porch was crawling with them yesterday. i was getting a litte mad about it and dumped a half bottle of bleach all over the porch. 30 minutes later i didnt see 1 tick and today there still is none.

  • hello
    i also started having a tick problem, my husband went to a job sight and while he was working he got bit. i found out that night that he was bit by a tick well i had bought some natures guardian product by sergeant’s(found at walmart) ABOUT A YR ago and i sprayed it on my furniture and bed it looks like its working best of all i they even have some that can be put on dogs please be very carefull dont use the wroung spray on the dogs or the funiture…… also you can by this product on the companys web site

  • Take a cotton ball and soak with liquid soap and then place on a tick that has bitten and attached to you or your pet. Leave it in place for about 45 seconds pull it away and the tick will be attached to the cotton ball thus removing safely and easily.

  • The bleach really works. the other day I took some in an old spray bottle and sprayed it along the cracks of my backyard. I haven’t seen many of them around lately when I walk outside now!

  • i live near the woods and im 12 so yea but i want to move because i HATE bugs they creep me out. i need help cause i want to move cause the tick problem and we cant put bleach anywhere outside cause we have 4 dogs and a bunny. my mom just found a tick full of blood on the stairs from one of my dogs and its still alive!!! i need help now on something i can do to keep them away FOREVER!!!!

  • I have found ticks on the floor every day recently. I have no dogs or pets here – so where do they come from and will they harm my baby? I can only seem to kill them by cutting them in half with knife, just squashing them doesnt work as they look dead but aren’t!! Yuk. How can I get rif of them? Pelase help LUBY

  • welll you see about in the spring time my family and i start seeing some ticks around the house so we started checking my dog and cat! and guess what my dog picks them up then drops them back off in the house!!! They really scare me but the thing that works is K9 ADVANTIX or something like that! also soap and bleach or just throwing them in the toilet then flushing works too! well im tuffy hope you enjoyed that little documentary or whatever that was!!! ticks are rotten little boogers and nobody likes them at all if they harm anyone or their pets!

  • i recently moved from the city to the country and i woke up this morning with a tick on my stomach. I have never seen one before and didn’t really recognise it, but the funny thing is that i was no wheres near tall grass, or any grass for that matter and i have no idea how it got into my house. does anyone know who they can get into houses and how i can prevent them getting in?

  • My son, Billy Bob Joe Joe Jr. had a tick on his neck. He got it off and said that it was not moving. He threw it on the floor without knowing. How do I know his room is safe????

    Love,
    Billllllllllllly Bobbbbbbbbb Joeeeeeeeeee

  • If you rub rubbing liquid on you dishes then the ticks will stay away from your food. I did it when my Dog, hoppy, got a bad tick. I really works!

  • we have atick problem im 11 and i have a 1yr old sister and a dog
    we bought this big thin called real kil;at home depot
    it works and kills em on your dog u can buy at petsmart flea control for dogs and cats onlyand pet beddings

    hope it helps

  • i just returned from vacation and found my dogs with ticks.. im around them all of the time and have not gotten a tick yet.. i dont think ticks are that scary all you have to do is pull them out..

  • When you find a tick take a tweezer as close as you can to the skin and pull straight out. Put it directly in a zip loc bag.. Close tight. Put it in the refrigerator for 1 month in case you have to go to the doctors. They (the doctors) can better tell how to treat you if they have the tick.

  • I never ever get ticks on me, but when my dog gets them, I put vaseline on them. This suffocates them, so they loose their grip and fall out. You should never ever yank them out because the head will stay in and cause infection.

  • My neighbors had a tick problem and when they got rid of them they came over to my house and the rest of the houses. The best way to get rid of them is to pick them up with a tissue and flush them. They don’t die if you squish them and will often play dead.

  • our dog had major tic probs and we got rid of them but the prob is there all overe the house any advice post a comment and ill read it

  • remove the ticks from your pets carefully and dump them in a bottle of water. they will drown quickly! my pets have tick problems, cuz we live in the tropics, so i remove them everyday. i havent tried the bleach thing though, is it safe to use around pets?

  • Hey everyone,
    My dog decided to jump in a pond and got a tick on her. I found it on her after I gave her a bath at the end of the day. I didnt let her walk around the apt because she smelled terrible from the pond water. I put her in her Cage or “Room”. But I am curious how to kill any ticks that could have decided to travel. Can anyone let me know the best ways home remedies to get rid of ticks in a home. I hear bleach, hot water, boric acid and borax are all good.

  • We recently moved to Arkansas, and I took my dog outside to use the restroom and later that night I found a tick on my side. Then a few days later I put a blanket down outside and took my kids out for a picnic. I just happend to glance down and saw a red tick making its way to my babies. I need to get rid of them from our yard. Anyone who knows a remedy, it would be greatly appreciated!!!

  • I saw on the Discovery Channel that ticks can grow three times as big as there normal body, and if you don’t pull the head out and just the body it can grow back a new body.

  • WE HAVE TO DOGS & WE HAVE A BAD CASE OF TICKS I HAVE TRY EVERYTHING .LIKE PEOPLE SAY THE they come & we treat them they go next thing u know they r back please help

  • My dogs were at my grandma’s house and they got infested with ticks
    you can usually find them (on a dog):
    under dog’s arms
    their butt crack
    tail, under it?
    under neck
    ears
    face
    practically anywhere JUST LOOK

  • When my dog gets ticks, I heat the end of tweezers (very hot) with lighter as to kill the tick before I pull it out. I give it a very slight pull as close to the head as possible. The tick slowly releases. The best part is flushing them down the toilet.

  • My question is, i have an outdoor dog that doesn’t come in our home and an indoor/outdoor cat. now our rooms have ticks and we have tried fumigating at least once a month for the past 6 months, but the ticks STILL keep popping out in of the middle night. What Do I do from here???? PLEASE HELP

  • My dog has ticks. We find them on her and on the floor. We encountered them a year ago and battled.for a couple months. Then they went away. There back again and its such a pain. We’ve sprayed the grass and bathed her. What else can we do to get rid of them for good?

  • MY dog (rex) had a tick. we wern’t quite sure what to do. first we tried placing glowing splints on it, that didnt do much help. Next we put salt and a small amount of water on the tick and around the wound, then tried to take it out with tweezers . When we placed the tweezers near the tick it simply came out, we think it was because of the salt. however it worked for us ad i hope it works for you. gd luck!

  • My Grandmother used to say that if you put nail polish on a tick it will suffocate and then come off! I suggest clear nail polish because you can see what happens to the tick! I hope this helps!

  • I have a cat that got bit from a tick, I pulled it out but I think a barb stayed partially inside him, will this infect him, any help would be greatly appreciated thanks……..I poured hydrogen peroxide on him to help disinfect him as well to help, its just, over the next couple of days, I would like to know if anyone knows if their are any signs to if they are getting sick, (vomiting, sleepy, temper, etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks

  • My cat zeebeez haz a tick near her neck and i have got it out but im not sure about the head of the tick.The area were the tick has bitten is a little bit swollen and im not sure what to do next. plzzzzzzz HELLLLPPPPP

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