How to Repel Ticks Naturally

Keep your family and pets tick-free without the use of chemical-laden commercial repellents. Here's how to repel ticks naturally: 

Use Essential Oils

Tick. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Many fragrances that smell wonderful to humans are highly repellent to ticks. Lavender, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass, cedar, rose geranium and citrus have all been shown to keep ticks away. So, buy soaps and shampoos that are naturally fragranced with these ingredients.

Then, purchase essential oils (try Plant Therapy's Insect Shield Synergy Blend or Rose Geranium oil), and make your own bug repellent. Just start with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or olive oil, and add 12 drops of essential oil per fluid ounce to create a natural repellent that you can spray or rub into your skin.

Note: Essential oils need to be diluted before they're applied to the skin, so don't skip the step of mixing them with a carrier oil. You should also check with a vet before using essential oils on your pets.

Apply Diatomaceous Earth

Pick up a bag of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) from a farm store or hardware store, and apply it in the areas that you'd like to rid of ticks -- around the house, near your dog house, etc. It's a white powder made from the fossilized remains of little aquatic organisms called diatoms, and while it's completely safe for humans and animals to ingest, it's deadly for bugs. It damages their exoskeleton, and causes them to die of dehydration. Since DE isn't a poison, ticks can't grow immune to it, so it remains effective year after year.

Warning: Diatomaceous Earth will kill both bad bugs and good bugs, so it's best to limit its use to areas with known pest problems.

Buy Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that live in the soil, and kill problem bugs like ticks, ants, termites, grubs and other garden pests. They cause no harm to humans, pets, earth worms or beneficial bugs, like lady bugs, so they're a great form of chemical-free pest control, and they're readily available online. Just choose the right nematode for the job (S. Feltiae is the one that'll take care of ticks), and apply it to your yard.

Get Chickens

Free-range chickens are a great addition to any pest management system. They'll eat grubs, grasshoppers, flies, and yes, ticks too. Set them loose in your yard, and they'll go to work eating all those pest bugs for you.

Eat Garlic

When you eat garlic your skin emits an odor that many bugs, including ticks don't like. So, make it a regular part of your diet. It's easy enough to add it to your meals.

Stay on Top of Your Yard Work

Ticks are attracted to areas with tall grass, moisture and shade, so keep your grass cut short, your shrubs trimmed and your leaves raked up. 

Keep Mice and Deer Out of Your Yard

Mice and deer are known carriers of ticks and Lyme Disease, so work to keep both out of your yard. Here are some ideas to get you started: