How to Get Rid of Ticks In Your Yard and Keep Them Away (2023)

There are lots of beneficial bugs that visit your yard. Unfortunately, ticks aren't one of them, and they do more than just make your skin crawl. These tiny creatures carry a host of nasty diseases, and their numbers and ranges are on the rise. If you are being overrun, learning how to get rid of ticks in your yard should be a top priority.

Thankfully, you can reduce the risk of an infestation of these tiny terrors by adopting an integrated pest management system. This guide explains the various control measures you can put in place so you and your pets can continue to enjoy your outdoor spaces.

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are tiny, wingless, blood-sucking parasites. Hundreds of tick species are found worldwide, with around 90 of those in North America. Thankfully, not all of these species threaten humans, pets, or wildlife. However, ticks are responsible for almost 95% of vector-borne diseases (illnesses transmitted by pests such as ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas) reported annually in the United States.

The most common disease-spreading tick species in the United States include the black-legged tick (deer tick), the lone star tick, and the American dog tick (wood tick). Their ranges vary, as do the diseases they spread, but some tickborne illnesses include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, spotted fever rickettsiosis, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis.

What Attracts Ticks to Your Yard?

Whether your yard is attractive to ticks depends on the species, but most love shady, moist, warm spots. If your property is on the edge of woodland and you have lots of tall grass, low shrubs, or fallen leaves, it will likely be a haven for ticks. If you have many wildlife visitors, such as deer, foxes, and rodents, these meal tickets will be attractive to ticks too.

Signs of a Tick Infestation in Your Yard

Ticks are tiny and tricky to spot, but regular inspections (especially during their most active periods from April to October) can help you be proactive with preventative measures. Some options for finding ticks include:

  • Take a flashlight and search those shady spots on your yard perimeter.
  • Regularly check your family and pets for ticks after they spend time in the yard.
  • Drag a one-meter piece of fabric through potential tick areas in your yard. Tick dragging can pick up around 10% to 15% of ticks in an area.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard

Adopting an integrated pest management strategy is your best defense against a tick invasion. It's not usually as simple as just spraying some pesticides. Considering a combination of the tactics below (along with adopting good preventative strategies) can help to significantly reduce, rather than eliminate, tick numbers and keep them at bay longer term.

1. Apply Pesticides

Spraying your yard with a tick pesticide can effectively reduce tick populations. When done correctly, studies show they can kill 68% to 100% of ticks present.

Some guidelines for safe and successful application include:

  • Select EPA-approved aracide-specific products containing active ingredients such as carbaryl, permethrin, pyrethrin, or bifenthrin.
  • Always check state regulations for any rules on using these types of pesticides.
  • Targeted barrier application along wooded, shady perimeters is usually sufficient. Blanket spraying is not recommended, especially on large, sunny lawns.
  • Two applications tend to be most effective. One in mid-May, one in mid-June, and/or in fall when adult black-legged ticks emerge.
  • Always carefully read the manufacturer's instructions and safety precautions for application and take appropriate precautions.
  • You may need protective clothing, goggles, and a mask.
  • Ensure pets and kids are kept inside during and immediately after treatment.

Because of the risks posed by improper use, when in doubt, seek the assistance of a professional pest management company to apply treatments. They have access to the right equipment and products and know how to apply pesticides safely and most effectively. There are even some products that only licensed commercial applicators can use.

2. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

If chemical treatment doesn't appeal or isn't appropriate, a non-toxic alternative is to apply a layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) around your yard perimeter. Classed as a mechanical insecticide, this natural barrier is safe to use around pets and wildlife visiting your yard. The high silicone content in the abrasive rock powder effectively sucks the moisture out of ticks coming into contact with it, leading to their death.

Try a bi-monthly treatment during active tick season and reapply after heavy rainfall. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for safe application.

3. Treat Tick Hosts

Another effective strategy is to treat common tick hosts, such as deer or mice. There are various options, including the following:

  • Tick tubes: Cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls. Mice and other rodents will use them as nesting materials, and the chemicals will kill the ticks on them.
  • Tick box control systems: These boxes typically contain non-toxic food bait and the active ingredient fipronil, which kills the ticks as the mice or other rodents feed.
  • Deer feeding station: If you have a lot of deer visiting your yard and want to continue to welcome them, you could set up a 'four-poster' feeding station with rolling posts covered in tick-killing permethrin. However, this is a pricey project with lots of labor involved, and these types of stations sometimes need special municipal permits.

4. Use Nematodes

Beneficial entomopathogenic nematodesare a group of microscopic roundworms that kill off insects. There are commercially available nematodes designed to target ticks through a spray application. While studies suggest they work best on engorged adult females, they are regarded as an effective, environmentally friendly, pet-safe alternative to chemical pesticides.

5. Introduce Free Range Chickens

Keeping a flock of free-range chickens doesn't just mean you'll get tasty eggs daily; they can also help keep ticks at bay.

Insects are a favorite snack for chickens, and they will set to work snapping up any ticks they find in your yard. Foraging breeds, like the Rhode Island Red, are the most effective tick-hunters. Although, you shouldn't rely on these birds as your only precaution against ticks in your yard.

How to Prevent Ticks From Entering Your Yard

Yard management and maintenance are effective means for keeping tick-carrying hosts and ticks out of your yard. Try adopting these savvy strategies:

  • Install barriers, such as deer fencing, to keep tick-carrying wildlife out.
  • Make your yard unattractive to rodents by securing trash cans, removing or relocating damp piles of wood, and binning or better managing bird feeders (use them in winter only or regularly clean up spilled seed).
  • Prune shrubs and branches overhanging your lawn—the sunnier your yard is, the less attractive it will be to shade-loving ticks.
  • Regularly mow your lawn to 3 inches or less.
  • Remove leaf litter and other debris.
  • Install a 3-foot wide mulch or stone border to separate wooded borders from the main yard space. This can help restrict tick access and deter kids from entering tick-heavy areas.
  • Regularly treat pets with appropriate tick treatments.
  • Steer clear of fast-spreading ground covers and tick-loving invasive shrubs. If they are already in your yard, consider replacing them with native species.
  • Try planting deer-resistant species. Fewer deer visiting your yard means fewer ticks.
  • Hardscaping and xeriscaping are effective forms of landscaping for reducing tick populations.

When working on clearing up prime tick areas (wooded, damp spots), weartick-repellant, light-colored clothing to more easily spot any crawling ticks, and long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks. Keep swing sets, fire pit areas, and other outdoor entertaining spaces away from wooded yard perimeters


  • What kills ticks in the yard?

    The strongest, most effective killers of ticks in yards are aracide pesticides. However, they can be risky when used improperly and aren't particularly environmentally friendly. A combination of gentler techniques to get rid of ticks in your yard and good landscaping practices can be an effective and safe integrated pest management strategy.

  • What do ticks hate the most?

    Ticks hate sunny, dry locations. Your yard will be a less welcoming space if you minimize the shady, moist spots they love to set up their home. Keep up a regular schedule of shrub pruning, lawn mowing, and leaf litter removal to make the space less inviting for these pests.

  • Is it normal to have ticks in your yard?

    Yes, it's very normal. These prolific pests are easily carried in by passing wildlife, so new arrivals are inevitable. But by keeping up a diligent integrated pest management strategy, you will reduce the chances of a population explosion.

How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your House

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nicola Considine CPA

Last Updated: 28/09/2023

Views: 5777

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nicola Considine CPA

Birthday: 1993-02-26

Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

Phone: +2681424145499

Job: Government Technician

Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.