What to Do When You Find a Tick in Your House
Tick in the house? Here’s what to do to get rid of a tick in the house and tips on how to avoid having a tick in the house again.
A tick in your home is unsettling, to say the least.
An innocent walk through the woods with your pup can result in ticks entering your home. While many varieties of ticks aren’t prone to making a home indoors (deer ticks typically die within 24 hours, and can only survive short periods in places where moisture content is less than around 90 percent, and many species of ticks prefer to lay eggs on the soil surface and don’t reproduce indoors), brown dog ticks, for example, do. So, if you find a tick in your house, of course you should get rid of it and then keep these things in mind. First, double check to ensure it’s a tick and not a strawberry root weevil, as these two are often confused.
How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Home
1. Check yourself and your family.
A long walk in the woods with Fido and the family on a beautiful fall day can result in ticks hitchhiking their way into your home via your clothing and the dog’s fur. Be sure everyone wears clothing that covers their skin. Also, be sure to carefully check your hair and your pet’s fur! Comb through your dog’s fur, and check for any bumps. Also, check your pet’s feet (including between the toes), inside their ears, and around the face and neck. Have an outdoor cat? You’ll want to check them every time they come in!
2. Repair and seal any crevices or gaps.
Most ticks have no interest in coming indoors. However, brown dog ticks can be enticed indoors through small cracks and crevices in homes that aren’t well maintained. If this happens and ticks start laying eggs, you could have a full-blown infestation on your hands. So, this is one more reason to be diligent with your efforts to seal up any and all cracks and openings in your home’s exterior.
3. Use tick treatments.
For an extra dose of safety, be sure to prevent ticks from clinging to your animals in the first place by using tick collars and spot-on treatments.
4. Modify your landscape.
To keep ticks out of your home, you’ll want to keep them out of your yard. The Verona (NJ) Environmental Commission suggests keeping your lawn mowed to a height of 3 inches, getting rid of brush, weeds, leaf litter and other debris, raking up leaf litter and cutting down underbrush for several feet into the woods, if your yard ends at a woods. Also, eliminate densely planted beds near your house. The commission also suggest using wood chips or gravel to create a barrier between wooded areas where ticks are common and your lawn and moving woodpiles, bird feeders and birdbaths far from your home to keep mice and chipmunks, which are hosts for ticks, away.
5. Vacuum like you mean it!
Suck up any ticks in your home with a vacuum. The device will not only pick up the ones you see, but ticks in all life stages. Use it especially in places frequented by your outdoor animals, as well as your carpets, rugs and furniture.
6. Scatter diatomaceous earth.
According to the Verona Environmental Commission, diatomaceous earth (DE) is a safe alternative to boric acid, which, if ingested, is toxic! Rake DE into the carpet, and get the dust into the corners of any uncarpeted floors. Remove after a week. DE is made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms that pierce the tick’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder, dehydrating the tick without using toxic pesticides.
7. Dry clothes, then wash them.
According to the AARP, after coming indoors after spending time outside, immediately take off your clothes and throw them in the dryer first. This will dry them out and kill any ticks that are on the clothes. Leave the clothes in the dryer on high for 15 minutes, and then wash them.