How to Repel Ticks Naturally

Avoiding run-ins with pesky ticks is an important (and challenging) task, especially during the summer months. Keep your yard and home tick-free without the use of chemical-laden commercial repellents. Here's how to repel ticks naturally.

  • 01 of 05

    Apply Diatomaceous Earth

    Diatomaceous earth
    Diane Macdonald / Getty Images

    Pick up a bag of food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) from a farm store or hardware store, and apply it in the areas that you'd like to rid of ticks—around the house, near the shed, etc. It's a white powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae, and while it poses no risk to humans, it's deadly for bugs. It damages their exoskeleton and causes them to die of dehydration. Since DE isn't a poison, ticks can't grow immune to it, so it remains effective year after year.

    Warning

    Diatomaceous earth will kill both bad bugs and good bugs, so it's best to limit its use to areas with known pest problems.

  • 02 of 05

    Buy Nematodes

    Father And Son Gardening
    Annie Otzen / Getty Images

    Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live in the soil and kill problem bugs like ticks, ants, termites, grubs and other garden pests. They cause no harm to humans, pets, earthworms or beneficial bugs, like ladybugs, so they're a great form of chemical-free pest control, and they're readily available online. Just choose the right nematode for the job (S. Feltiae is the one that'll take care of ticks), and apply it to your yard.

  • 03 of 05

    Get Chickens

    Group of free-range hens foraging for food

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    Free-range chickens are a great addition to any pest management system. They'll eat grubs, grasshoppers, flies, and yes, ticks too. Set them loose in your yard, and they'll go to work eating all those pest bugs for you. Pick a breed with good foraging abilities. To help your chickens do their best tick-hunting work, keep the grass clipped short so they can reach all the way to the ground.

  • 04 of 05

    Stay on Top of Your Yard Work

    Woman mowing backyard lawn
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    Ticks are attracted to areas with tall grass, moisture, and shade, so keep your grass cut short, your shrubs trimmed and your leaves raked up. The ideal height for grass is about 2 ½ inches. It's especially important that the grasses and brush on the edge of your property be cut or cleared, as that kind of thick foliage is home to ticks and the deer and mice that carry them. The shrubs and grasses near your patio, yard furniture, or pool should also be cared for attentively.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Keep Mice and Deer Out of Your Yard

    Curious deer looking grazing in the morning

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    Deer and mice are known carriers of ticks and diseases, so work to keep both out of your yard. To keep deer out of your yard, you can use a scent repellant or a motion or sound repellent. Even something as simple as wind chimes could do the trick. A fence or keeping an active dog outside (temperature permitting) are also good options. Discourage mice from visiting your yard by encouraging larger predators (but not deer) like owls to come, setting traps, or removing the temptations that make your yard a destination for area mice.