How to Get Rid of Ticks

Tick Treatment Guide

  Print Article By DoMyOwn staff


The Secret to Getting Rid of Ticks

*The following steps are for treating all types of ticks, including: American Dog Ticks, Brown Dog Ticks, Lone Star Ticks, Gulf Coast Ticks, Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks, Blacklegged Ticks, and Western Blacklegged Ticks.

Eliminating a tick infestation will mean treating all the places that can be infested including your pet, your home and your yard. Failing to treat all of the areas will likely lead to treatment failure. We recommend starting with your pets and then treating the home and yard. The treatments should be done around the same time for the best results.

Step 1

Start With Your Pets

Getting rid of ticks will usually start with pets that live in the home or on your property. When choosing a pet tick treatment it is important to take your pet's species, age and health into consideration. Always read the product label of the tick treatment to be sure you can use it on your pet. There are three main options to treat your pet: flea and tick drops, flea and tick sprays for pets, and insecticide baths. The best tick treatment for pets depends on the animal, but will usually include the use of at least one of the following three options:


Spot-On Pet Tick Drops

Spot-on products or flea and tick drops are a popular choice because they are quick and convenient to use and they do not cause much stress or disruption to pets. Most spot-on products offer one product for cats and another for dogs and they cannot be used on animals younger than 12 weeks old.

It is very important that you get the product directly on the animal's skin for it to work properly. Most Spot-on treatments direct the user to part the pet's hair between the shoulder blades and squeeze out the entire contents directly onto the skin. Applying the product between the animal's shoulder blades will usually stop the animal from licking the application spot.

Ticks will start to die within 24 hours of the spot on product application. Some ticks may die while still attached to your animal. It is very important that you follow your veterinarian's instruction on how to remove a tick using tweezers. Most spot-on treatments should be re-applied every 4-6 weeks to maintain control.

Products needed for Step 1A


Pet Tick Bath

A flea and tick bath with medicated shampoo will offer immediate kill of the ticks. Be sure to read the product label of the shampoo you use as many have species or age restrictions that must be followed to insure your pet's safety.

The downside to using flea and tick shampoos is that most cats and many dogs do not like to get bathed and can become stressed out during bath time. It is important to note that most flea and tick shampoos only offer an immediate contact kill to the ticks that are present on the animal at the time of the bath but will not stop the animal from becoming re-infested.

Some ticks may die while still attached to your animal. It is very important that you follow your veterinarian's instruction on how to remove a tick using tweezers.


Pet Tick Spray

There are many tick sprays on the market to help eliminate ticks on your pets. Most sprays offer a quick kill of the live adults and short term protection against reinfestation. Like most other tick treatments, it is important to read thoroughly the spray label before application to check for species and age restrictions.

Pet tick sprays come in both aerosol cans and squirt bottles. Tick sprays are typically fast to apply but most do have a strong odor which some pet owners may find offensive. The odor typically disappears within a few hours.

Products needed for Step 1C

Step 2

Indoor Tick Treatment

If any ticks have been found indoors crawling around we strongly recommend that you treat indoors for ticks. One female tick can lay thousands of eggs at a time so proactively treating your home or structure can stop an infestation before it grows out of control. Tick elimination indoors can take 2-8 weeks depending on the level of infestation. Getting rid of ticks indoors will require you to use a mix of insecticides.


Use Insecticide Tick Spray With IGRs

There are a variety of indoor tick spray products to choose from and they come in several different formulations including liquid insecticides, aerosol insecticides and tick dusts. We recommend using at least 2 products to control ticks; an insecticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR). You can usually find an insecticide and an insect growth regulator together in an aerosol flea and tick control product. Another option is to use a concentrated insecticide and a concentrated insect growth regulator that are labeled for indoor and outdoor use if both indoors and outdoors need to be treated. The addition of a dust to your indoor tick treatment program can help eliminate ticks more quickly and help prevent re-infestations.

Do My Own Pest Control has put together an Indoor only Flea and Tick Kit and also an Indoor/Outdoor Flea and Tick Kit to help make product selection easy. If you decide not to purchase one of the kits it is very important that you select products that can be sprayed in multiple tick infested areas for tick elimination indoors.

Following the product label instructions, apply the tick spray of choice as a spot treatment to areas such as:

  • pet beds and resting areas
  • nearby cracks and crevices
  • along and behind baseboards
  • window and door frames
  • localized areas of floor and floor coverings where ticks may be present.
  • Spray around the bottom of furniture and under furniture

Apply a dust that is labeled to control ticks:

  • After all areas are dry, apply a very light dusting of a tick dust to cracks and crevices around baseboards, door frames, window frames and other crevices where ticks can hide.

Repeat your liquid applications:

  • After 14 days, you should reapply the aerosol or liquid products to the areas listed above to control any newly hatched ticks.
  • Severely infested areas may require a 3rd or even a 4th treatment in 14 day intervals.
Pro Tip

The addition of an insect growth regulator is important. Insect growth regulators help stop newly emerged and juvenile ticks from reaching sexual maturity. By preventing this new generation of ticks from reaching sexual maturity, you are in turn breaking the infestation cycle.
Ticks are biologically programmed to crawl up on surfaces so they can find their next host. Keep this in mind when doing your liquid treatments so that you can spray around the bottom of items ticks may use to climb.

Step 3

Outdoor Tick Treatment

A complete yard tick treatment will include some yard sanitation and maintenance as well as treating those outdoor areas that may be infested with ticks. In this treatment you must consider not only those areas where your pet spends time resting, playing or walking, but also those places where wild or stray animals may spend time.

In the tick treatment process it is recommended that you use two products together to get the expected results, a liquid insecticide to kill exposed ticks and an insect growth regulator to stop immature ticks from reaching sexual maturity. We have put together an Outdoor Flea and Tick kit to make picking the right products easy for you.


Treat Entire Infested Area With Insecticide & IGRs

Mix the concentrated liquid insecticide and insect growth regulator as recommended on the product label in a back sprayer or a hand pump sprayer. Tick infested areas can include rock or brick retaining walls, tall or dense brush and piles of yard debris. Since ticks often hide in tall or dense brush, higher application treatment volumes may be needed to treat the entire plant, not just the top side of the plant where it is easiest to spray. You should try to get the application on the underside of leaves and all the way to the bottom of the plant. We recommend treating the entire infested area (no spot treating). When you are dealing with an area that has a high tick population you may be required to treat once a month from spring through to the first frost, no matter what product you use.
Pro Tip

By identifying the type of ticks you have on your property you can better understand what type of animals may be bringing them to your property and you can modify the environment to make it less favorable for that host animal. You can contact your local cooperative extension office to request an insect identification.
You can help determine if you have a tick infestation in your yard by doing a quick test. Attach a white towel to a dowel or rod and dragging it over suspected areas. Ticks will usually climb onto the towel and will help you locate infestations.


Repeat Every 30 Days

Tick treatments do not work overnight. Over the next couple of weeks you should start to see a reduction in the tick population. We recommend a repeat treatments every 30 days to help get rid of any of the stragglers that may have been missed with the first treatment and to prevent a new infestation from occurring.

Tick Treatment Infographic

(Click to View Full Graphic)

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