The Importance of Tick Repellents and Natural Alternatives

Four bottles of essential oils in a row with a dropper

Throughout North America, various tick populations are rising and expanding their territories. The little bloodsuckers carry disease, and it’s not just our pets that need protection. It’s also essential to check for ticks at home and to use a tick-repellent when you visit the great outdoors to protect your family’s health and well-being. Not a fan of putting chemicals on your skin? Consider using essential oils to repel ticks.

Are Ticks Dangerous?

Ticks are highly efficient at transmitting diseases from animals to humans. It’s not just that they feed on blood like mosquitoes do. When a tick bites, it uses microscopic hooks in its mouthparts to grab ahold, then inserts its barbed tongue into its host’s flesh. Once attached, the tick continues to feed for three to six days. While drinking blood, it injects its saliva and the germs, bacteria, and pathogens it carries into the host’s bloodstream.

Ticks can carry a wide range of diseases, bacteria, and parasites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ticks in the United States carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia, and Powassan encephalitis, among others. The CDC urges using tick repellents outdoors in wooded or grassy areas.

Ticks are indeed dangerous to your pets and your family. Whether you are exploring the great outdoors or simply playing fetch in the backyard with your furry friend, it’s important to be watchful for ticks. While professional tick control services can help keep your property bite-free, you should use tick repellent when you visit the beach or go camping. Learn how to remove a tick properly once it bites — just in case.

Natural Ingredients for Tick Repellent

If you are looking for a natural tick repellent, essential oils can offer significant protection. Plant-derived essential oils can be applied to clothing or directly on the skin to help keep ticks at bay. And essential oils for ticks are not the only natural tick repellent. You might have a couple of ingredients for your own tick-prevention solution right in your cupboard. Here are some essential oils and other natural remedies to consider:

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Lemon eucalyptus is a pleasant-smelling essential oil that can repel ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests. Due to its potency, use it sparingly with pets or select a different natural tick repellent around furry friends.

Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood is toxic to ticks and their larvae, making it a prime essential oil for ticks. It can be used on people and dogs, making it one of the best options for an essential oil repellent.

Geranium Oil

Geranium essential oil is a potent and effective tick repellent. Dilute with a carrier oil and apply to your skin or spray on your dog’s coat to deter ticks.

Garlic Oil

Useful beyond seasoning a savory dish, garlic also makes a potent natural tick repellent. Mix minced garlic with mineral oil and allow it to soak overnight. Then, put the mixture in a spray bottle. It can be sprayed directly on your skin, pets, or plants to repel ticks naturally.

Lavender Oil

Versatile and virulent to insects, lavender can be a fantastic addition to your bug-fighting arsenal. This essential oil can be used on people of all ages, including infants, and it is lethal to ticks and their eggs.

Pennyroyal Oil

A powerful member of the mint family, pennyroyal can serve as an excellent tick deterrent. Pennyroyal is best applied under cushions, rugs, and fabrics in the home as a natural tick repellent in case pets bring ticks into the home. CAUTION: It should not be used on your skin or pets.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Is there anything that apple cider vinegar can’t do? It is excellent for natural tick prevention, and the entire family can use it. Mix a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water to spray your pet’s coat or your skin before hitting the hiking trails.

Tips for Using Natural Tick Repellents

Just because a tick repellent is made from natural ingredients doesn’t mean it is okay for use on people or pets. Please take great care in selecting natural tick repellents that are appropriate for your needs. Some essential oils are toxic to pets, and some are harmful to cats but not dogs.

Proper Application Techniques

To avoid skin irritation, dilute any essential oil for ticks with a carrier oil before using it directly on your skin. Good choices include coconut, avocado, jojoba, grapeseed, or olive oil. For adults, a 5% dilution rate, or 30 drops of the essential oil per one ounce of carrier oil, makes an effective natural tick repellent. Another option is to mix 5 to 10 drops of the essential oil with 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Shake well, then spray on your skin, your pet’s coat (choose an essential oil that is okay for pets), or your clothing, hat, and shoes.

Be sure to do a patch test before using the tick repellent. If it irritates the skin or stains the fabric, choose another option. Then, apply the repellent generously and evenly, covering all exposed skin. To apply to your pet’s coat, spray lightly and evenly.

Frequency of Reapplication

Natural tick repellents, like those discussed here, can be as effective as their chemical counterparts. However, they do not last as long. For optimal protection, reapply every 2-4 hours. Hot and humid weather will require more frequent application. Reapply after swimming or sweating.

Using Essential Oil as Tick Repellant on Pets and Children

Although essential oils are natural, don’t forget that they can be toxic. Not all essential oils are safe for humans to use topically, and many can be harmful to pets. For children two years and older, dilute human-safe essential oils to a 1 to 2% solution, which translates to 6 to 12 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil. For use on your pet, consult your vet for the best essential oils for ticks. Then, add 5 to 10 drops of pet-safe essential oil to 8 ounces of water. Shake well before spraying lightly on your pet’s coat.

Enhancing Effectiveness with Yard Treatments

Essential oils and other natural tick repellents are great choices when visiting tick country, the woodsy, grassy, or brushy outdoor areas where ticks thrive. These include the mountains, the woods, grasslands, and beaches. But when you live in tick country, professional tick control will be necessary to stay ahead of the little suckers. Mosquito Joe® offers natural tick pest control powered by essential oils and garlic. As wildlife passes through your property, hitchhiking ticks can drop off, ready to latch onto your pet or child. Our natural tick control can protect your property and family from the pests and the diseases they carry.

Combining with Other Pest Control Methods

Protecting your family and pets from ticks is critical, requiring the broad-based approach of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This involves the use of pest control services targeting ticks, personal tick repellent, manipulation of local habitat, and cultural practices. There are several approaches to ridding your property of ticks naturally. But whether you hire professional tick control or do it on your own, you’ll have far greater success if you also disrupt tick habitats in your yard.

When you need professional help to stay ahead of ticks, call on your locally owned and operated Mosquito Joe. We’re your local tick experts, and our natural tick control protects your family from ticks without using the harsh chemicals you want to avoid. We know you’ll be pleased with our work because the Neighborly Done Right Promise™ and our Mosquito Joe Satisfaction Guarantee back everything we do.

Request a free quote today. Let’s kick ticks for good and make your outdoor spaces fun again!