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Remedies for Tick Infestation

by
author image Matthew Busse
Matthew Busse has pursued professional health and science writing since 2007, writing for national publications including "Science Magazine," "New Scientist" and "The Scientist." Busse holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the University of California-San Diego.
Remedies for Tick Infestation
A close-up of a tick in a grassy field. Photo Credit Risto0/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Ticks live in many areas of the world, waiting to drop from trees to bite unsuspecting people and animals. Tick bites are not only annoying and painful, but they can also cause inflammation, secondary infections or transmit microorganisms capable of causing fatal diseases. Left unchecked, ticks can enter a home, leading to an infestation that is difficult to remove. Catching a tick infestation early and taking the proper steps to treat it are essential to preventing severe health risks.

Remove Ticks From People

Extra care should be taken when removing ticks to prevent the mouth-parts of the tick from breaking off and remaining in the skin, which greatly increases the risk of infection. Using fine-point tweezers, grab the mouth of the tick just above the surface of the skin and pull with gentle, smooth pressure. Take care not to puncture or crush the body of the tick, which raises the risk of infection. After removal, thoroughly wash the site of the bite with soap and water.

Removal Alternatives

Some experts, such as the Urban Integrated Pest Management Center, recommend touching the tick with a hot needle, alcohol, turpentine or kerosene to relax the mouth of the tick before removal with tweezers. Other experts, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, discount those methods as ineffective and potentially harmful.

Remove Ticks Fom Pets

Tweezers also work well for removing ticks from pets. Heavily infested pets may be best treated with chemical products. Different species of ticks live in different parts of the United States, so check with a veterinarian to find the appropriate product for a specific area. Pet collars that slowly release tick pesticides are a good option for controlling ticks in areas with large tick populations, according to the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Remove Ticks From the Home

Ticks may lay eggs in small cracks, under carpeting and inside furniture, making it a challenge to completely rid a home of ticks. Spray these hatching areas with carbaryl or cyflurin. Treat rugs and carpets with a pesticide dust. Use a tick pesticide fogger, containing methoprene or permethrin, to thoroughly disinfect the rest of the home, the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources recommends. To prevent re-infestation, remove ticks from the home at the same time they are removed from people and pets.

Control Ticks Outside the Home

To limit contact with ticks, closely trim shrubs, grass and other low-lying plants around the house. Then spray a residual insecticide around the perimeter of the house. It is almost impossible to completely eradicate ticks outside, so always wear proper clothing and thoroughly check for ticks after spending time outside in areas where ticks are a risk.

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