Natural Insect Repellent
Natural Flea Prevention
Is there a non-toxic product that would kill ticks on our property, but at the same time, be safe for our children and all of the wild animals? Every year, we are pulling off ticks. It's terrible. So is there something that we can do?
I live on the Texas Gulf Coast, and we have our share of bugs! Since we moved here, I have been spraying our yard with Neem Oil twice each summer. We have had minimal problem with mosquitoes, and very few roaches. I haven't had any trouble with ticks or fleas on my dog. Neem Oil is found on the Internet or at organic health stores, and should be mixed with water before spraying on the yard. It has a strong odor that dissipates after a few days, but it is totally worth the smell! It also helps as an anti-fungal for plants, and is non-toxic and safe around kids and pets. I feel better about using something that won't hurt the environment or my kids.
When we built our new house five years ago, I couldn't walk across the back yard without finding a half dozen ticks crawling all over my legs. I had heard that chickens were great for controlling the tick/insect population, but since we are inside the city limits farm animals were not an option.
As a desperate measure, I started throwing my birdseed all over my yard to lure the wild birds to eat on the ground and hopefully help with the tick problem. It worked! Since I did that, I have not picked up a single tick from our back yard. However, we did have several surprise sunflowers pop up in unexpected areas. We loved it, but if you wouldn't like the sunflowers, you could "bake" the birdseed in a 300-degree oven for about 30 minutes to stop the germination process.
According to our veterinarian, Sevin is an animal-friendly flea and tick control insecticide. Safe for use around children, pets, and wild animals up to and including birds. It can be found in any gardening store. Use it according to directions.
We dealt with a horrible tick problem on our seven acres a few years ago. The ticks were so bad. On the day we moved in, they were literally crawling all over the driveway towards the house. Our five kids, dogs, cats, and horses were constantly getting ticks.
We had the pest control people treat just the yard, and we put chemicals on the fields. It ended up costing us money without providing any apparent tick control.
We talked to some knowledgeable old-timers who have lived and farmed in the area for years. Their suggestion worked quickly and safely. They suggested that we purchase about 25 guinea hens! They were right!
Guinea hens are not pets. You can feed them, but they prefer to be left alone. They will do a great job of cleaning up pesky pests on your property. If you buy adults (we bought young ones), keep them penned up for about a week, so they know where their home is. By doing this, they won't fly away the first day.
Recently, the Washington Post or Times had an article about a new tick control method that was a huge success up in CT where Lyme Disease is such a problem. It is a small bait box that doesn't kill the small wild animals that pass through it, but coats their fur with a type of insecticide. This insecticide doesn't harm the animal, but kills any ticks on them. It has a residual effect, so that any ticks that land on them later also die. Perhaps the local (or CT) Agricultural Extension might have more information.
In the meantime, many military folk in the field use sulfur powder to repel bugs. It works better than any commercial product that I have ever tried. Go to your local pharmacy and ask for either sulfur powder or "flowers of sulfur". It is over the counter, but often is kept behind the counter. Put the powder in a large holed salt, pepper, or Parmesan cheese shaker. Military men will sometimes pour it into a sock and use it as a powder puff. One inexpensive bottle can last a family of four for more than a year. Put on as you would talcum powder. It will not stain or leave a sticky residue.
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