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It's springtime, which means tick season is here.
Some might say mosquitoes are the bane of their existence when it comes to the outdoors, but if you've ever encountered ticks — then you might think mosquitoes are a walk in the park. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention usually addresses tick season each year to let people know how to protect themselves and their pets, depending on your area and what tick-borne diseases are prevalent there. Tick bites can be dangerous, leading to illnesses like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and untreated they can cause headaches, nerve pain, numbness, and more. To protect yourself, be wary of wooded areas and tall grass — and when you enter them, use tick repellant and protective clothing. If you spend lots of time outdoors or live in states susceptible to tick seasons (states across the east coast), you should also practice the same precautions and make sure you protect your pets as well.
You should also become acquainted with how to properly remove a tick. Keeping a pair of tweezers in your First Aid kit essential, but the best way to prevent tick bites is to be proactive. You can use tick repellent for yourself and your backyard with our recommendations for best tick repellant (we've gathered options for your lawn, humans, and dogs in this list), and here's our top picks below:
1. Best Yard Treatment
Ortho Home Defense 32Oz Rts Hd Insect Killer, 32 oz - Amazon, $12.15
Here's a home insect killer to consider if you want something powerful, aren't happy with the results of a natural yard treatment, and don't have pets, a garden, or children to worry about (the brand claims the chemical is safe once dried, but we like to be cautious when it comes to potentially harmful chemicals). The spray kills over 235 insects, including ticks, fleas, spiders, ants, and mosquitoes thanks to the main active ingredient, bifenthrin, which attacks an insect's nervous system. Using it is simple: just attach it to your garden hose and treat a lawn up to 5,300 square feet in size. It starts working in minutes, and customers are impressed with how effective it is. You know if Texans are raving about it, it's the real deal. The bugs are crazy there!
2. Best Natural Yard Treatment
Wondercide - Flea and Tick Spray Concentrate for Yard - Amazon, $39.99
Going all-natural to protect children, the ecosystem, and pets? Consider this plant-derived treatment spray. The repellent is made with essential oils like cedar and sesame oil and is free of artificial colors, fragrances, and harsh pesticides. It's also a made in the USA product! Using this year-round spray is simple — the natural preventative can be applied through a dial-hose end sprayer. For active problems, apply twice within two to 10 days to your lawn — you'll especially want to apply this in shaded areas and anytime after a heavy rain. It'll cover areas up to 10,000 square feet. It's not just limited to your yard, either. It's safe to use in vegetable and flower gardens and on brick, paint, and siding. Those pesky adult ticks are probably laying eggs right now. Kill and repel them as soon as possible.
3. Best Tick Treatment for Clothing & Gear
Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent - Amazon, $29.99
Another way to protect yourself from bites is to wear clothing that covers your skin, but we recommend using this treatment that's specifically made for your outdoor clothing, gear, and tents — it will reduce the likelihood of a tick bite by 73.6 times. Made with an active ingredient of permethrin, treating your gear is easy — just spray your clothing with a slow sweeping motion. Be sure to keep the bottle about six to eight inches away from your clothing, and let it dry on each side for about 30 seconds before spraying the opposite side. Also, be sure to treat your gear outdoors. If you have asthma, consider having someone treat your clothing for you. You can use this on lots of fabrics, including waterproof fabric. However, it'll bond easier on cotton, wool, and synthetic blends. One single application lasts up to six weeks, or six cycles in the washing machine.
4. Best Tick Repellent for the Body
SPECTRUM BRANDS Repel - Amazon, $4.97
This spray is not organic, as it contains picaridin. Picaridin repels ticks for up to 10 hours and is very effective — and if you want to use chemicals, many prefer it over DEET since it's odorless and feels clean on skin. While we love organic products, sometimes an active ingredient like picaridin is a must-have if you'll be spending lots of time outdoors, but we do have to note that it can be harmful to the environment. You can apply this effective spray to clothing as well, just be sure to check if your fabric is made of cotton, wool, nylon, acetate, or spandex. Check here for the full list. It also repels mosquitoes that may transmit Chikungunya, Zika, Dengue, and West Nile.
5. Best Natural Tick Repellent for the Body
TICK BAN Yaya Organics All Natural Extra Strength - Amazon, $11.99
DEET is extremely effective. However, going chemical-free is a great idea. (DEET can affect the ecosystem when washed into waterways.) This repellent is organic, made with natural ingredients like cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary, geranium, lemongrass, and thyme. It's safe to use on gear and clothing as well. The made in the USA spray is also safe for children, dogs, and horses. Just avoid spraying it on faces. Not only is it an effective tick repellent, but it'll also keep flies, gnats, and other annoying bugs away. One reviewer writes: "We treated ourselves, the dog, and the clothes we were wearing for 3 days of yard work and NO TICKS AT ALL."
6. Best Natural Pet Repellant
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray - Amazon, $10.49
This natural tick and flea spray is made for your dog — and the plant-based formula uses a mix of peppermint oil and eugenol to kill ticks, fleas, flea eggs, and mosquitoes. Apply directly to any dogs or puppies 12 weeks or older, and add even more protection by spraying their beds, blankets, collars, and more. Talk to your vet if your dog needs additional flea protection, especially if your dog is outside a lot, but this is a great additional option. Many reviewers write the results were instantaneous.
This piece was last updated on May 6, 2020 and was added to by Alida Nugent