Here’s a hard truth: By the time you’re wondering how to get rid of ticks in the house, you already have a tick infestation on your hands.
It probably started small, with just a few ticks hitchhiking into your home on your pet or your clothes. They then dropped off somewhere in your house and crawled off to hunt for the next suitable host for a blood meal. Which, if your lucky, is where it ends…
Can Ticks Live Indoors?
Oftentimes, ticks entering your house isn’t a huge problem because most species of ticks don’t survive indoors.
Deer ticks, for example, are prone to drying out and can only survive short periods in places where the atmospheric moisture content is less than around 90%. And if they don’t find a blood meal, unfed deer ticks aren’t even likely to survive 24 hours.
Many species of ticks also prefer to lay eggs on the soil surface and don’t reproduce indoors so if an American dog tick or a lone star tick – both of which have white markings on their back – snuck into your home, the chance of having your home overtaken with tick babies is low.
So if the “right” type of tick got into your home, a full-blown infestation is unlikely since they’ll die off on their own.
All that being said, there are exceptions: mainly, the brown dog tick, which can survive and reproduce very well on the inside and is the only tick species that can complete its entire lifecycle inside the house, as well as soft ticks, which sometimes invade homes in search of a host.
And if you’re dealing with these indoor-living tick species, you want to start getting rid of them as soon as possible because if the infestation is allowed to spread, it can become difficult to wipe out.
How Do Ticks Get In the House?
Here’s how the situation escalates: A few brown dog ticks make their way into your home, most likely on your dog since dogs are their favorite hosts – this is why it’s essential to consistently check your dog for ticks after a walk in the woods or a return from the kennel.
Left unchecked, the ticks are free to drop off and set up home in your home. Brown dog ticks are “cryptobiotic,” meaning they like to hide in nooks and crannies where you’re least likely to find them, so when the infestation is in its early stages, the few ticks will go largely unnoticed.
But the situation can change rapidly, since the adult female tick can lay up to 5,000 eggs in a single go before she dies! Within a few months, ticks of various sizes are biting pets, sometimes humans and even seen crawling around like they own the place.
Obviously, the best way to get rid of ticks in the house is to make sure the few invaders that sneak in and caught and eliminated immediately.
But if it’s already come to a full-blown tick infestation in your home, there are still ways to wipe them out. Here’s how to get rid of ticks in the house!
How to Get Rid of Ticks in the House
If you’re dealing with an infestation of ticks in the house, the solution is not as simple as setting off a fogger or spritzing a tick spray on the walls. To eliminate the problem, it’ll take a multi-pronged approach so instead of choosing just one of the tick killers below, combine them for the best results.
Okay, here are your best options to get rid of ticks in the house!
Seal it up
So much of pest control is about making it impossible for the pesky buggers to get inside your home. This includes checking for stray ticks on your dog – and on your clothes – when you return from walks to flea-ridden areas.
But it also includes physically sealing off your home from potential tick invasions.
Soft ticks, in particular, can invade old, poorly constructed and maintained homes in search of a host. Once inside, they’ll spend the majority of their time in sheltered, private areas like cracks and crevices. So the first step in getting rid of ticks in your home is to repair and seal any crevices or gaps that ticks are using as entryways and hiding places.
Treat your pets
The most common way for ticks to get in the house is via your dog so one of the first things you want to do is treat your dog for ticks. But keep in mind that this is not a one-time thing. Every time you take your dog to the woods or through dense vegetation can be a chance for ticks to climb aboard your unsuspecting pooch and journey back home with you.
To prevent dealing with a potential tick infestation after every walk, it’s not enough to just check for ticks, you also need to take measures to prevent ticks from getting on your dog in the first place. The most effective tick treatments for dogs are those that kill the existing ticks on your dog and repel new ones. The best treatment options? Both tick collars and spot-on treatments are highly effective, long-lasting and easy to use.
A good tick shampoo used along with a tick spray before each walk can also be an effective combination to kill and repel fleas.
Vacuum like you mean it
Even after you’ve killed all the ticks on your dog, it doesn’t mean that the bloodsuckers are truly gone since a tick spends close to 95% of its time away from its host. They don’t typically wander too far, though, so you’ll want to get the vacuum and start with the areas where your dog spends the most time.
A simple vacuum is a surprisingly effective, all natural way to suck up ticks in all life stages and is going to be your best friend in the battle against ticks. Use it often and use it everywhere – the places frequented by your pooch, the carpets and rugs, and furniture. It’s also handy to have a set of universal vacuum attachments so you can get into the nooks and crannies where ticks like to hide as well as the baseboards, window frames and door casings where ticks like to lay their eggs.
Another tip? Grab a long attachment so you can vacuum the corners of ceilings. All ticks tend to crawl up and indoors, ticks often migrate up the walls to congregate in the corners of ceilings so don’t confine your vacuuming to the floors.
Vacuum at least once a day until all signs of ticks are gone.
Scatter Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Vacuuming alone is an effective way to get rid of ticks in the house – but it’s even more effective when combined with Diatomaceous Earth (DE). Diatomaceous Earth is one of the most effective natural remedies for ticks. Actually, this in innocuous looking white powder is lethal for pretty much all insects and arachnids with an exoskeleton.
The powder is made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms and it works by by piercing the tick’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. It contains no toxic pesticides – it simply dehydrates the blood suckers from the inside out.
The downside is that DE is not an immediate solution. To work, the ticks must first make contact with it, which is why it should be spread evenly over the carpet and in places where ticks reside and undisturbed for at least a week.
For best results, vacuum first and then evenly apply the DE to your carpets using a duster. Leave the DE alone for around a week before vacuuming it up – along with the dead ticks – and then repeat.
Use tick killers
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a great option for killing tick life on your carpets, but what about other places that may be harboring ticks? This is where other tick killers come in – and you have several options.
The easiest, of course, is a tick spray. Sprays offer a convenient, effective way to instantly kill ticks on contact. These are perfect for the buggers hiding out in awkward, hard-to-reach places like the walls and ceilings.
The best tick spray is Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea & Tick Home Spray, which kills ticks on contact – as well as fleas, roaches, silverfish, ants and other creepy crawlies. The downside is that it’s a contact spray, not a residual, so they work now and then are gone within a fairly short time.
If you’d like something more long-lasting, a residual tick pesticide is a great option to kill off a tick infestation. The best tick pesticide is Talstar Pro – it’s exactly the sort of product used by professional exterminators and has been shown to provide 100% kill rates even after two weeks.
It’s also easy to use – simply dissolve it in water using the recommended ratio. You’ll want to pick up a pesticide sprayer so you can thoroughly distribute the pesticide inside cracks and crevices on the walls, behind baseboards, around window and door frames, corners of ceilings, as well as the areas more frequented by your pets.
Turn up your dryer
Good, old trusty heat can be relied on to kill ticks, which is great news since we all have access to a washer and dryer. So one of the easiest ways to immediately kill ticks on clothing, bedding and other fabrics is to toss it in the dryer.
The dryer is handier than the washer when it comes to ticks since dry heat kills all ticks much quicker than wet heat. When already dry clothes are dried on high heat setting 54-85°C (129-185°F)], all adult and nymphal ticks died within 6 minutes.
Combine the above treatments and tactics and you’ll be well on your way to a tick-free home. But don’t forget – if you never again want to deal with ticks in your home, you’ll also want to treat your yard. Here’s how to keep ticks out of your yard!