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How Do I Choose the Best Tick Killer?

By Marty Paule
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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Choosing the right tick killer to deal with these potentially dangerous pests depends on where the ticks are located. Controlling ticks in your outdoor environment is a first line of defense and requires different tactics than those used indoors to rid your pets and home of ticks. Killing ticks that are already attached to your pets requires a different course of action from preventing future infestations by using repellents. Conventional tick control measures that employ toxic substances are quite effective, but have potential risks, while some natural tick products are available that pose fewer health risks to animals.

The first step in controlling ticks outdoors is to eliminate or treat their habitat when possible. There are a number of chemical tick killer sprays and powders available made for outdoor use, most of which employ permethrin, a substance toxic to cats. Before applying these agents, eliminate tall grasses and brush as well as abandoned bird and rodent nests, which often harbor ticks and fleas. Then apply the tick killer to those places most likely to harbor ticks, working outward from your home to prevent them from taking shelter there. Spring is usually the best time to apply these anti-tick preparations.

To eliminate ticks inside your home, look for a permethrin-based tick killer intended for that use. Most of these products are sold in liquid form and are harmless to furnishings, floors, and carpeting. Some insecticide powders intended to kill ticks contain both permethrin and drione dust, a dessicant. The permethrin kills ticks on contact, while the drione applied to cracks and crevices will continue killing ticks for several weeks by drying them out. Follow all manufacturer's directions, being sure to keep these insecticides away from food.

Two of the most popular types of tick-repellant products are topical preparations and tick and flea collars. Note that there are cat-specific versions of these products containing ingredients safe for felines. Topical tick killer preparations are usually placed on the animal's back at a point between the shoulder blades and most require reapplication every 30 days. A tick and flea collar, although considered somewhat less effective than topical treatments, can also be a valuable flea killer. Hunters and hikers who venture into tick habitats can repel them by applying an insect repellant containing DEET (dimethyl-meta-toulamide)to skin and clothing.

The animal will absorb some toxins from these products into its system. There is concern over the negative effects on the animal's immune system and general health. A number of tick killer products are now available that use non-toxic substances such as silicon and diatomaceous earth that kill ticks by attacking their exoskeleton.

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Discussion Comments
By Drentel — On Jun 04, 2014

I agree with the section of the article that talks about attacking the tick in obvious places, like abandoned bird nests and other similar places. The average flea and tick killers can be pretty strong, so by concentrating on particular and smaller areas you are more likely to kill more of the pests and less likely to poison other bugs and animals.

I would also suggest that you buy a general bug killer in the early spring and spray it around the perimeter of you house. Directions will come with the product, but basically you spray the liquid along the foundation of your house. You need to be certain to get the entire perimeter.

This type of spray will discourage most bugs and kill some. You can also spray around all the walls inside the house if you feel it is necessary. I wouldn't advise you to let your animals near the spray when you are applying it, but once it settles for a while there isn't too much chance of them being harmed from the poison.

By Animandel — On Jun 04, 2014

My kids and pets play outside in the yard and the wooded areas nearby. I am always concerned about them getting tick bites. I check the kids and the pets closely each night, and I have found ticks. Several times they were firmly attached. This really scares me because of all the diseases that these pests can carry and give to humans and pets.

I have considered using some of the tick control products that are designed to be spread in the yard. Some of the tick killer for lawns products say that they are harmless to pets and humans, but I have my doubts. If something is strong enough to kill ticks when I simply apply it to my lawn then it seems that it would be harmful to other living things, too. I don't want to kill every ant and bug in the yard, only the ticks. I definitely don't want to make my pets and children ill.

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