Ticks in the House? Here are the Steps You Should Take ASAP, Bob Vila

Solved! What to Do When You Find Ticks in the House


Whether you find ticks in the house or out back, use this game plan to reduce your health risk and prevent an infestation on your property.

Q: Just yesterday I spotted a tick on my bathroom floor and last week I found one on my clothing. Is it possible that I have a tick infestation in my house? Or, maybe in my yard? I know tick bites are related to Lyme disease, so I’m eager to find the best way to keep them out.

A: One tick in the house is one too many. While it’s unlikely that you have a tick infestation inside your home, there’s a good chance that you’ve got some living nearby outdoors. Of the 90 species of ticks that exist in the United States, only a handful carry diseases; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides online maps that show the geographical distribution of the different disease-carrying ticks, so you can see which ticks are a health threat in your area. Because these pests can carry Lyme disease—a tick-borne disorder that has seen a recent surge in the Northwest—among other diseases, it’s always a good idea to protect your family and your pets when you know that ticks are in the vicinity.

To find out what to do when you find a tick—inside or out—keep reading. We’ll let you know how to reduce your risk of exposure and how to treat your house and yard to ensure that ticks won’t set up shop.

If you do find ticks in the house, don’t bother stepping on them.

A tick’s body is very hard and—despite your best efforts—it could survive. A better option is to pick it up with a piece of toilet paper and flush it down the commode. This is also the best way to dispose of ticks that are crawling on your body. If you find one biting you, however, use a pair of tweezers to grab it and pull it off, then flush it.


Tick infestations are rare indoors, though it never hurts to take precautions.

Ticks thrive in moist and humid conditions where the humidity is 90 percent or higher, and most cannot survive in a climate-controlled house for more than a few days. Indoors, they simply desiccate (dry out) and die. In fact, the University of Rhode Island’s Tick Encounter Resource Center (TERC) reports the results of a study where immature deer ticks that were exposed to indoor humidity levels of 75 percent died in about eight hours. While a tick might live a couple of days in a hamper with moist clothing, it won’t be long enough to reproduce.

In rustic vacation cabins, storage sheds, or doghouses, however, it’s a different story.

These structures—because they are not air-conditioned (which removes humidity from the air)—could potentially offer the right environment for ticks to breed. Fortunately, ticks are fairly easy to kill. You can use a non-toxic pesticide that’s safe for indoor use, such as Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray (available from Amazon). Spray liberally along baseboards and moldings, under cabinets, in corners, and on windowsills to kill all ticks.

A completely natural alternative treatment is to sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) in the above areas and even on carpets and pet bedding. Diatomaceous earth isn’t earth at all but rather the finely ground exoskeletons of fossilized sea organisms. When ticks come into contact with DE powder, it acts as a desiccant (drying agent) to dehydrate the ticks. Make sure to buy food-grade DE (yes, people may actually consume it). You can fill a talcum powder container with DE and sprinkle it on floors and in sheds and doghouses. You can also sprinkle it on carpeting and then use a broom to brush it in so it’s not noticeable—it’ll kill any ticks that might be crawling at the bottom of the carpet pile. Fear not, DE is harmless to animals and people.

By implementing outdoor tick prevention, you’ll reduce the risk of ticks in the house carried in on clothing or a pet’s fur coat.

Some spots in your landscape are more likely than others to play host to an infestation of ticks. By knowing where they’re most likely to live, you can treat your yard and reduce your risk. Keep an eye on the following for a family of ticks:

  • Overgrown shrubs
  • Woodpiles
  • Stacked stone walls
  • Storage sheds
  • Doghouses
  • Leaf piles
  • Tall grasses

Photo: amazon.com via Thermacell

…and try these tick-prevention tips in the outdoor areas:

  • Trim overgrown shrubs to allow light and air to circulate beneath their boughs; this will reduce the dampness of the ground beneath.
  • Restack wood piles in a dry spot, such as on top of used wood crates to allow air to circulate beneath.
  • Treat stacked stone walls by inserting tick-killing tubes such as Thermacell Tick Control Tubes (available from Amazon) into the gaps between the stones. The tubes contain permethrin, which kills ticks on contact. For safe use, follow manufacturer directions to the letter.
  • Place tick tubes in the corners of storage sheds, too, or sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the floor and in corners. You can also scatter DE along the outside perimeter of the shed, but water destroys the powder’s effectiveness. If it rains, you’ll have to reapply DE.
  • Remove leaf piles after raking.
  • Mow frequently to keep lawn grasses low, which will reduce moisture at ground level. Curtailing tall grasses (as well as treating woodpiles and other high-risk tick spots) cuts back places that are attractive to ticks as well as to your furry friends. This is especially important because, if you have pets that go outside and come back in, there’s a good chance they’re the ones bringing ticks into the house. Ticks sense when a warm body is in the vicinity, and they head straight for it; once burrowed beneath your pet’s fur, ticks can be hard to spot.
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Tick bites can transfer diseases to your animals, so it’s a good idea to protect them from ticks if you let them go outside.

A variety of tick-repellant shampoos are available for dogs, but don’t use them on cats that can be sensitive to the ingredients, unless directed to do so by your vet.

Topical tick repellants and medications that are taken orally are also available to treat your pets, so check in with the veterinarian for the most effective options. Even with treatment, though, which will protect your pet from bites, ticks can still hitch a ride indoors on thick fur and then crawl off on the carpeting. If your pets continue to bring ticks into the house, it’s a good idea to treat the house using treatments to speed up the elimination of ticks, such as sprinkling DE around.


Apply a tick repellent to yourself before heading outside to reduce the risk of bringing ticks back on your clothing.

Not all insect repellents will keep ticks away; some are effective only for repelling mosquitos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers an interactive site where you can get recommendations for repellants based on the insect you’d like to repel and how long you’ll be outdoors. One such repellent that protects against ticks and smells good while doing it is Avon’s Skin So Soft Bug Guard (available on Amazon). A word of caution: If you have a newborn in the house, be aware that the EPA warns against using insect repellents on infants younger than 2 months old.


The Gardening Cook

How to Get Rid of Ticks in The Yard – Steps to a Tick Free Garden

Summer is a time for being in the outdoors. But ticks also love the warm temperatures and can be bothersome in your yard and garden. These tips show how to get rid of ticks in the yard as well as a few natural treatment options.

Ticks are a nuisance and can be dangerous as well, since they carry numerous diseases such as Lyme Disease. The bugs are drawn to dark moist places so there are steps that we can take to control them.

How to get Rid of Ticks in the Yard

If you want to have a tick free yard, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps in limiting the places where they might live. Here are some tips and tricks to help with controlling ticks in the yard.

Ticks love darkness and moisture

Ticks are drawn to certain areas of a garden. You can help by limiting the areas where they might find a home.

They especially like darkness and moisture, so messy firewood piles can be a home to them if you are not careful.

If you leave the wood loose in an shady area where it will get rained on, it will become a tick magnet. Instead, keep your firewood neatly stacked in a dry location away from the rain if you can.

A nice bonus is that the wood will also be dry when it is time to use it next winter.

Ticks love shade. Damp and dark piles of brush and dead leaves are like tick heaven. Don’t let vegetation build up in your yard.

If you decide to compost garden refuse, use an enclosed tumbler, or keep the compost pile keep it away from play and pet areas and be sure to turn it often to keep it hot.

Keep Play areas Safe from Ticks

Locate swing sets, playhouses and other play areas in your yard away from the most densely wooded areas. If possible position them in sunny areas.

This will give children and pets more protection and keep ticks out of the play areas.

Use rocks or long cedar timbers as dividers from wooded areas. This will help to keep ticks away from areas most often used.

Regular Yard Maintenance Will Help to Repel Ticks in Yard

Mow your grass regularly so it won’t be a haven for ticks. If possible use a catcher on the mower that removes the grass clippings so they won’t attract ticks.

Remove garden refuse away from the most often used area of the yard. Trim trees of dead branches and remove piles of old leaves. Any untended areas of a yard can attract ticks.

Barriers such as a foot of bark chip or rocks around yard in common areas will make it harder for ticks to enter from the woody areas nearby.

Try not to have standing water near wooded areas. These will attract ticks. Remember to keep bird baths clean and free of refuse.

Avoid over watering

All gardeners love the look of a garden bed that is lush and beautiful because it has been watered well. But remember that ticks prefer moist environments.

If you have a tendency to over-water, and have poorly draining lawns this can act as an invitation to these insects. Water as much as your plants need, but be on the look out for areas that don’t drain well and take steps to aerate them.

Landscape to repel ticks

Ticks travel on deer, so choose plants wisely and stay away from those that are likely to attract them. It’s not uncommon to find tick nests in grass, so keep garden beds away from grassy areas.

Also install fences to keep deer out if you have a big tick problem in your yard.

Plants that keep ticks away from a yard

If you would like to try and control ticks without using chemicals, try planting Chrysanthemum cinerariae folium. This plant has a high level of natural pyrethrins and helps to dispel ticks naturally.

There are many other plants and herbs that are natural tick repellents. Try planting some of these:

Keep away rodents

If you see a lot of mice in your yard, be sure to find a way to control them. Mice are carriers of ticks. Where there are mice, there will be lots of ticks too!

Garbage cans attract host animals like rodents so be sure to store it away from areas of your year that you want to keep tick free. The first step in repelling ticks is simply to make sure your yard is nice and clean.

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The Gardening Cook is a participant in the Amazon Affiliate Program. This post may contain affiliate links. I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you purchase through an affiliate link.

Natural repellents to Kill Ticks in the Yard

What kills ticks in the yard? There are lots of repellents for sale but many of them contain harmful chemicals. I like to take a more natural attempt to keep them under control.

There are several natural repellents for controlling ticks in your garden. Some common ones are:

Make your own Tick Tubes. These are biodegradable, cardboard tubes filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls.

Mice will collect the cotton to build their nests; when the deer ticks that feed on the mice are exposed to the permeation, they die.

Create a citrus based repellent

One of the questions I am often asked is “How to get rid of ticks in yard naturally?” This citrus tick spray for yards (and people) is one way.

Ticks avoid all types of citrus plants, which makes citrus an effective weapon. Home remedies for ticks in yards often make use of natural ingredients. To make a citrus based repellent:

Boil 2 cups of water, and add two chopped lemons, limes, oranges, or grapefruit. Let it boil for a minute or so, then simmer for an hour.

Strain the fruit out, let it cool, pour into the sprayer, and squirt it on you, your kids, your pets, your yard and anywhere ticks might be found in your yard.

The main thing to keep in mind is that a clean yard, free of refuse and well tended is far less likely to have ticks become a big problem.

Admin Note: This post first appeared on the blog in July of 2014. I have updated the article to add new information, photos a printable check lists card and a video for you to enjoy.

Check List for Keeping Ticks out of Yard

Ticks love the warm days of summer too. This check list will help you keep your yard free of ticks this summer.


Best Plants for Repelling Ticks and Fleas Naturally

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Springtime is here and you know what that means: lots of sunshine, warmer weather, time for gardening and spending more time outside…but it also means its flea and tick season.

You could spray your yard with toxic pesticides or sprinkle it with poisonous granules that give off their poison for months; isn’t that a nice thought? Poison being spread throughout your yard– the yard where your children play and your pets live– for months at a time.

Or you could add some plants to your garden that will naturally repel fleas and ticks. A few plants put in the right places will minimize, and perhaps prevent all together, the invasion of these ugly, biting bugs. Plant these around the perimeter of your yard or around the lawn area where your children play, or around Fido’s dog house.

Many of these plants are really beautiful, too, most of them with a very pleasing fragrance to us. Some of these plants also repel flying insects such as gnats and mosquitoes as well, which means some of these plants work double duty against those annoying summertime bugs.

Keep reading so you can start making plans for your spring time garden now and avoid that summertime plague of fleas and ticks later. You have a beautiful garden to show for it as well.

1. Lavender

You might not know it, but lavender is a part of the mint family. Lavender smells so sweet in the garden and has beautiful flowers most of the year. It not only repels fleas and ticks, but also mosquitoes and moths. Who wouldn’t love a yard surrounded by beautiful lavender plants? Find out also how to make lavender bath bombs.

2. Rosemary

Another member of the mint family, rosemary grows into a small bush, so you can plant several around the perimeter of your yard. It has beautiful blue flowers in the late spring and most of summer and you can use the leaves in cooking or for a terrific tea. Rosemary gives off a wonderfully pleasing scent when the wind blows through it or when you brush up against it.

3. Feverfew

This is a great choice for the garden or to grow in pots around your patio as it not only repels fleas and ticks, but mosquitoes and other flying insects. This works best when used in conjunction with other plants such as lavender or citronella grass. You can also use feverfew to treat, you guessed it, fevers, headaches, feelings of anxiety, as well as bloating.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

4. Marigolds

Marigolds are absolutely beautiful flowering plants that are best used in conjunction with other plants. Marigolds are another plant that repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. If you have a vegetable garden, plant some marigolds in and around your vegetables. The roots have a compound called thiopenes, and repel cabbage maggots, white flies, aphids, and other bugs. Marigolds are great at protecting tomato plants from those ugly little bugs that suck the juice out of your veggies.

5. Citronella Grass

You’ve probably burned candles or tiki candles with citronella oil, but did you know that that oil comes from citronella grass? This is not only a great way to protect your family from fleas and ticks, but from mosquitoes as well. You can plant citronella grass around your garden and in-between other plants such as lavender or feverfew.

As a side note, many people report that citronella grass has a type of calming effect on their dogs, stopping them from excessive barking. Your neighbors might be grateful you planted some if you have a breed that likes to bark. Or you might want to offer that neighbor with the noisy pooch some citronella grass.

6. Catnip

If you own a cat, you can’t go wrong with this one. This is another member of the mint family that is great for repelling fleas and ticks, as well as making your cat super happy. Be careful where you plant this, however, as it will attract outside cats. Which means, don’t plant it anywhere that you don’t cats walking around or rolling around, such as on your prized flowerbeds.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

7. Chamomile

Another plant that does more than its share of work. Chamomile leaves and flowers can be dried for a calming cup of tea. It’s also great at repelling fleas and ticks, but flies as well. This plant has dainty, daisy like little flowers, so it’s cute to have around. If this were not enough, for some reason, chamomile keeps other plants in your garden healthy and happy. An old family remedy for a sick plant or tree is to plant chamomile next to the ailing plant or around the sick tree.

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8. Sage

Another beautiful plant that does double duty. With long spiky flowers in a velvety purple and white, this plant looks pretty and you can dry the leaves and use them to make tea or put them in your cooking dishes. It can grow up to three feet tall, but you can always trim it back if it gets too unruly. Oh, yes, it also repels those ugly fleas and ticks!

9. Lemon Grass

Another beautiful plant that you can place next to your lavender or citronella grass. It has many medicinal uses as well as naturally repelling fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes. Yes, it really does smell like lemon, which makes this heavenly when planted next to windows so you can enjoy the smell day and night.

10. Chrysanthemum

Sometimes simply referred to as mums, these beautifully flowering plants that come in a wide variety of styles and colors are perfect for the lazy gardener. Plant them once. They will bloom in the summer, and then die back in the fall. Trim them to the ground, cover them with mulch in late fall, and they will regrow in the spring. Mums are also great at protecting other plants from spider mites, harlequin bugs, leafhoppers, and aphids.

Realistically, none of these plants will actually kill bugs, but they will repel them. When it comes to fleas and ticks, we need all the help that we can get!


Dealing With a Pharaoh Ant Infestation – Getting Rid of Pharaoh Ants

Dealing With a Pharaoh Ant Infestation

Ants for the most part are an irritant in homes, unwelcome insects foraging for food to bring back to a colony. Interestingly, one of the most resilient, undesirable and invasive species is also one of the smallest. Pharaoh Ants are tiny even by ant standards, measuring only two millimeters on average. However despite their small stature they can pose serious problems for people all year round. Accustomed to warmer climates, pharaoh ants found in Canada usually live in heated structures. As such apartment buildings, condominiums, high rises, and nursing homes have become optimal breeding grounds for pharaoh ant colonies. Even in winter months they will be attracted to and breed near warm, humid areas indoors such as near drains, pipes, or wiring. Call The Exterminators for effective ant control treatments.

The pharaoh ant is problematic for homeowners, as the insect will rapidly assemble on unattended food sources and dirty dishes. They are typically unable to bite humans due to their size, however, the ants can pose still pose health risks for humans as they can carry and transmit many diseases, such as salmonella, staphylococcus, and clostridium, which can cause botulism. The pharaoh ant seeks warm, moist places, and as such hospitals are at risk of infestations as pharaoh ants may try to occupy injuries under used bandages on humans.

How to Get Rid of Pharaoh Ants in an Apartment

Pharaoh ants are small ants measuring about 2mm long and often considered a nuisance or minor pest. This miscalculation can prove costly in the long run since these ants multiply rapidly. They are also disease carriers and may also cause structural damage in case of a major invasion.

Only about 10-percent of worker ants go out foraging for food at a time. Spotting a trail of ants likely means that you are dealing with a much larger problem than you can see. Spraying pesticides worsens the problems so the best cause of action is to call in an expert pharaoh ant exterminator in Ontario.

Why You Need Professional Extermination

Pharaoh ants are notoriously difficult to get rid of even for seasoned professionals. There is also a good chance that you could make the infestation worse by attempting to exterminate the ants yourself.

Pharaoh ants are dreaded for their habit of ‘Budding’. Since most colonies have more than one queen, one or more queens may leave the colony, taking with it workers, pre-adults and eggs to form a new colony away from the original one. This budding often happens when there is overpopulation or when a nest has been disturbed such as by ineffective pest control methods.

Pharaoh ants may have multiple nesting and foraging sites including inaccessible areas such as ceilings, inside walls, electrical outlets, and floor voids. A typical extermination exercise may span several apartments and several rooms and areas in each apartment. Such an extensive extermination is out of reach for the average person with little or no knowledge on how to deal with pharaoh ants.

Baiting is the most effective method for pharaoh ant control in Ontario. The process involves using non-repellent bait (including hydramethylon, boric acid or sulfonamide) to lure worker ants. The worker ants carry the poisonous bait back into the nest (the slow acting poison doesn’t kill the ants on the spot) where the colony feeds on the poison and dies.

Baiting requires some technical knowledge including identifying trails, finding the best areas for bait placement and the choosing the most effective type of bait for the specific infestation. Over-the-counter baits are available but are often only a temporary solution. These products contain only a fraction of the active ingredients that the professionals use. The ants may disappear for a while but in reality could be organizing themselves into multiple new colonies if the bait was ineffective and disturbed the nest. The infestation soon reappears now worse than ever.

Contact a professional pharaoh ant exterminator in Ontario as soon as you spot pharaoh ants. Choose an exterminator who guarantees his work for the best outcome.

Exterminating pharaoh ants requires professional help. One of the most challenging aspects when dealing with an infestation is the fact that pharaoh ants have multiple queens in a nest. These nests reproduce and mature very rapidly, and queens are able to leave their existing settlements and establish colonies nearby. As such exterminating them is almost impossible for amateurs. The insects can sense danger and if ineffective retail products are used, and as such the queens will react by branching out throughout an area. This will only serve to worsen and spread the already existing infestation throughout a building, and new satellite colonies will be that much more difficult to locate.

The bottom line is call a professional. When foraging for food pharaoh ants will leave trails for others to follow, so if you see one in your home there’s more to come. Sighting one or several pharaoh ants indoors is an indication of an infestation which necessitates action. If you see these miniscule pests don’t hesitate, call The Exterminators and get the process started to get them out of home. We offer effective pharaoh ant treatments backed with warranty. Call: 647-496-2211


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