Battle Ticks with Non-Toxic Spray ... and Chickens

By ecoRI News staff

There's no need to buy a jug of pesticide to repel ticks around the home. Plenty of safer and organic alternatives are available.

Lawn treatment. Organic lawn expert and author Paul Tukey of North Kingstown notes that ticks don't like direct sunlight and heat, so they tend to avoid open lawns and instead prefer grass 8 inches to 2 feet tall. 

He recommends the non-toxic pesticide spray ecoSMART to apply on outdoor landscaped and recreational areas. The bug-and-tick repellent is applied with a hose. ecoSMART also offers a kid-safe bug-repellent lotion. Both are available online and sold at major retailers in Rhode Island.

A powder-based lawn, garden and tree treatment called AzaSol, made in Woburn, Mass., also is an effective and safe natural pesticide, Tukey said.

Get rid of mice. If having a lawn company apply a tick repellent is preferable, Simply Safer Premium Lawn Care offers an organic anti-tick spray treatment. The company claims that mice, not deer, spread Lyme disease. Thus, they also suggest using biodegradable cardboard tubes that release a tick repellent on visiting mice.

Chickens. Another reason to raise chickens is their love of insects. They eat ticks and mosquitoes, even mice.

Body search. Tukey recommends checking for ticks while showering soon after spending time in a tick habitat. "Otherwise, my advice is everyone's advice: keep tall grass mowed; wear full-body clothing when hiking or outside; and check yourself or, better still, have your partner check you," he said.