About flea & tick yard sprays
Nowadays the variety in tick and flea killer yard sprays is almost as great as the variety in insects. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are indeed a lot of sprays on the market right now. What’s even more interesting is how much they can differ from one another too. Tick and flea killer sprays today employ dozens of different chemical formulas to combat insect infestations. Some include more natural ingredients derived from herbs and other plants, while others are entirely made out of artificial chemicals.
Some are meant for high sun exposure, others are intended just for shady outdoor areas, others claim to work both indoors and outdoors, while even more variations are meant for different types of soils, different kinds of flora and weather, and so on.
For example, tick and flea sprays that contain Methoprene are very powerful but work only on shady outdoor places. Even a little sunlight can render this chemical useless as it breaks the Methoprene down. The end result is that a lot of homeowners that weren’t aware of this can be left disappointed and feeling like the product is subpar. Instead, the product works great at its intended usage but was simply applied incorrectly.
Generally speaking, the flea and tick yard killer sprays that are usually considered “best” by professionals are the ones that contain pyrethrins and insect growth regulators (IGRs). They work by disturbing the growth cycle of the insects and effectively preventing them from growing. This results in the almost instant deaths of eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult insects alike. Some such IGRs to look for are pyriproxyfen and fenoxycarb.
Pyrethrins, in particular, is one of the most popular chemicals in a lot of tick and flea killer products. It is derived from the chrysanthemum flower and it attacks the nervous system of hundreds of different insect species.
How about organic and natural flea and tick treatments?
Natural and eco-friendly flea and tick killer sprays are preferred by a lot of homeowners. They are much better for the environment in general, for your yard and its flora, as well as for you, your family, your kids and your pets. However, they are also generally less powerful than the heavy duty chemical sprays they compete with. This doesn’t mean that they are not powerful enough, however, it is advisable to pick such a spray with more attention to its power. There are a lot of “natural” products that are simply not powerful enough and don’t do much more than just deodorizing your yard.
Those natural and eco-friendly tick and flea killer sprays that do have enough effective power are a great find and are beloved by their customers and users. Even they need to be applied carefully and adequately, however, and most of them are meant for lighter and less-serious situations.
The best natural tick and flea killer sprays you should look for are the ones that contain peppermint oil and/or clove extract. Eugenol is the name of the natural chemical found inside clove extract. It has very potent pesticidal properties and instantly kills most types of fleas and ticks upon contact with them. Additionally, both peppermint and clove extract can help a lot with the elimination and repelling of mosquitoes.
Nematodes is another one of the best natural treatments against ticks and fleas, and it’s available in spray form. They are beneficial worms that are invisible to the naked eye. They release a toxic substance in the air that is deadly to ticks and fleas. Fortunately, that same substance is 100% safe for humans and animals so it’s harmless to us. Thus, the exterminating potential of nematodes often outclasses other natural and even chemical products.
Where should tick and flea garden killer sprays be applied?
We mentioned several times already that a lot of the problems homeowners face with tick and flea killer sprays is that they are not applying them correctly. A lot of times when reading user reviews under tick and flea sprays online (which we had to do a lot of for this article), you’ll see people saying things such as: “I used to use product X which did a great job, but now I used product Y in the same way and sprayed it all over my yard, but it did nothing. I’m really disappointed, 1 star!” This is a normal reaction – after all, we can’t all be chemists. However, that’s why it’s important to read the products’ labels carefully and research what their ingredients mean. As we have a couple of examples above, some products are designed just for sunny areas, others are designed just for shady places. There are products that work only in dry weather, and others that are best suited to a moist climate. To know how best to use your tick and flea yard killer spray you should carefully research each individual product.
However, to give you some general guidelines here’s one thing that you should also consider – ticks and fleas don’t just invade your entire yard. They don’t just walk around the grass like ants. Instead, both ticks and fleas are known to avoid direct sunlight and short grass that has a lot of movement over it. It is true that both ticks and fleas live in areas with a significant animal presence (which they can live off of), but when it comes to their breeding habits, they lay their eggs in places where there is a lot of shade and little movement.
So, with that in mind, it’s often wasteful and unnecessary to spray against ticks and fleas in the entire yard. Instead, it’s much more effective and efficient to just target the specific areas you know are most likely to house tick and flea larvae and eggs. Shaded places such as underneath decks or sheds, along the foundation of your home, dog houses or dog kennels, high grass and shrubberies, and so on.
Also, it’s worth considering that dampness is also attractive to both fleas and ticks, as well as a lot of other insects. That is why damp coastal areas with a mild Mediterranean climate are typically prone to significantly larger infestations of ticks and fleas. For your yard, this means that places with underground moisture or places where rainwater gathers are much more probable to house tick or flea larvae and eggs.
What are some of the alternative products that you can use instead of a flea and tick garden spray?
We already briefly mentioned nematodes, but they do deserve their separate mention. These tiny worm-like critters love to feed on fleas and ticks, and are completely harmless to people and animals. They are also very easy and simple to apply – just water the target area first, spray the beneficial nematodes, and water the area again. That’s it!
Tick tubes should also be considered as a valid prevention method and they are rather ingenious too. Tick tubes are essentially just tubes filled with cotton. The cotton itself, in turn, is tipped with a pesticide, usually the Permethrin we already mentioned. The interesting thing is that the tick tubes don’t actually attract fleas or ticks themselves, but instead attract small mammals like mice or squirrels. Such mammals love to use the cotton tubes for building their nests, so they are usually quick to grab them. In doing so, they inadvertently get Permethrin all over their fur – don’t worry, it’s harmless for mammals of any size – and they effectively turn their fur and themselves into a mobile tick and flea killing stations. Simply put, every flea or tick that makes the mistake of jumping on such a squirrel or mouse eat its last meal. It should be mentioned, however, that will cute and effective, tick tubes shouldn’t be solely relied on to deal with a full-blown tick or flea infestation on their own.
Plants. Yes, plants. Just as essential oils and clover extract can be effective natural flea or tick repellents, so can a lot of the plants they are extracted from. Plants like the Chrysanthemums are often cited as a great horticultural weapon in the arsenal of any homeowner that’s battling ticks and fleas. Other plants to consider are lavender plants, peppermint, garlic, sage, eucalyptus, and others.
Flea and tick yard spray buying guide
Making a purchase like that is obviously ill-advised. As we’ve already mentioned, tick and flea garden killer sprays come in a large variety and can include dozens of different ingredients and chemicals. It’s a good idea to start by looking at high rated products or products from famous and trust-worthy brands, sure, but always follow that up with an extensive look at their ingredients and researching what each and every one of them does.
Most homeowners that read every ingredient of their flea and tick killer sprays usually do it out of fear that they might pose health risks. The other important reason to check all ingredients, however, is to see whether they are really well-suited for your home, garden, and general situations.
No flea and tick killer spray is “perfect” for every situation – some are better in some cases, others are better in others. The quickest path to success is to match the strengths of the product with the needs of your yard. This is going to take a lot of time and research, but it will save you much more time and money in buying and spraying with the wrong product.
When it comes to the price, it should also obviously be a consideration. Flea and tick garden killer sprays, unfortunately, aren’t one-time-products. Some last longer than others, but they are all meant to be repeatedly applied. So, when considering the spray’s price you should also calculate it’s volume, how many square feet it covers, how many square feet in your yard you’ll need to spray, how long the spray lasts, and how often you’re going to need to reapply it. By factoring all these into your considerations you’ll eventually figure out the exact yearly cost of each product and you’ll be able to compare those costs instead of the initial purchase cost of each spray.
And alas, internet reviews should be mentioned as well. We tend to go through hundreds of online reviews for each article we write so that we can give you objective and adequate information, so we know first-hand how frustrating, subjective and lacking context online customer reviews can be. But the reviews for most flea and tick yard sprays were truly impressive even for us. Virtually every product had a large number of reviewers that had blasted it for “not working at all”, and from every second word in their reviews, it was clear that they had just misused the sprays.
So, with that in mind, we are not saying that you shouldn’t read online customer reviews, but we would definitely advise you to consider each review’s context carefully and to read multiple reviews from multiple different sites and sources for each product.
And lastly, there are different brands out there. As with any other product group, some brands are well-known for their quality and it’s reflected in their prices, other brands are known for their poor quality and that’s also usually reflected in their prices. And then, there are the brands that are of impressively high quality but are quite budget-friendly too because they are not too well-known yet, and there are those that offer awfully low-quality products at ridiculously high prices. So, if you are new to flea and tick garden killer sprays, all this may seem confusing at first, but it’s really no different than it is for any other product group.
Other useful information on tick and flea yard sprays
Ticks come in over 800 different species spread across the globe. They are a blood-feeding parasite that preys on mammals, birds and reptiles alike. As such, you can find them in grassy areas that such animals pass through, but don’t frequently trample on. As a persistent blood-sucking parasite, ticks transmit a wide range of diseases and pathogens. In certain areas of the world, including in a lot of First World countries, ticks are known to have over 40% contagious rate.
This means that you should not only effectively spray your yard, garden and lawn against them, but that you should frequently inspect your own body against them.
Adult ticks are usually half a centimeter long, they have eight legs, and they have a reddish – brownish coloring. Females are slightly larger than females and can grow to over a centimeter after they have fed. To lessen the chances of getting bitten by a tick you should always wear well-covered shoes and long trousers when walking through grass. Long sleeved shirts are also advisable.
Another good idea is to always wear bright colors. They don’t repel ticks or anything like that (how easy would that be?) but they do make them easier to spot. If you are bitten by a tick, never try to remove them with your bare hands. Use tweezers or rubber gloves, grab the tick close to your skin and pull it straight out with steady pressure.
Don’t twist or jerk the tick as its mouth parts can remain in your skin. Also, be careful not to squeeze the tick as its fluids can e infectious. After you remove the tick, disinfect the whole area and wash your hands with soap. Also, it’s strongly advisable to visit a doctor soon after that.
Fleas commonly torment dog and cat owners, but they are indiscriminate parasites that will happily munch on human blood of the opportunity and need arise. Fleas have a very flexible life cycle and can wait for weeks before going between their different stages (egg, larvae, pupa, and adult). This makes them very adaptable to their environment and very easy to get rid of. Additionally, while a lot of flea and tick killer sprays are well designed to target the life cycle of fleas by stopping their eggs from popping, some fail to target the pupae, while others fail to kill the larvae. This means that while a tick and flea killer spray can effectively exterminate all adult fleas from your yard, it can often leave the next generation unaffected.
Fleas can also last a long time without eating. Flea pupae can last up to a year without feeding and adult fleas can survive for up to two weeks without any blood. This is another reason why they are so hard to get rid of. Add the fact that females lay up to 50 eggs at a time and you can see how even a single flea left alive can easily spark a whole new infestation extremely fast.
Tips for using yard spray for fleas & ticks
When you’re applying a flea and tick garden killer spray, whether it’s organic or chemical, it’s advisable to be cautious and restrict your pets’ and kids’ access to the yard. A lot of sprays, particularly organic ones say that they are completely safe for children or that ones they have dried off, they are safe. And while that’s typically true and can be trusted, most health experts advise that pets and kids should stay away from the treated area for anywhere between 24 and 48 hours. The heavier and stronger the spray is, as well as the calmer and windless the weather it, the more you should wait.
Pet owners, in particular, should carefully observe their pets’ behavior and physical conditions after running in a freshly sprayed garden. Even if the spray has dried off and enough time has passed, some dogs can sometimes have allergic reactions to the chemicals in the spray.
Even natural sprays are known to give such reactions from time to time. Things like reddish rashes on the dog’s paws or a slight swelling on its muzzle can be tell-tale signs that your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction.
Most flea and tick garden killer sprays may be safe for people, but they are still generally not something that you want on your skin or clothes. And with a lot of them having faulty spraying nozzles that tend to splash back and quickly soak your clothes, caution is obviously advised. Simple things such as rubber gloves, a protective frontal mantle, or even a face mask are always recommended when using a flea and tick killer spray. Also, if you have a nice garden hose and it can be attached to the spray’s container, it’s usually better to use it, since it probably has a better nozzle.
Keep your home’s windows closed after you’ve sprayed your garden or lawn with a tick and flea garden killer spray.
What are some of the preventive measures that can be taken so that you don’t get ticks or fleas in the first place?
A lot of tick and flea garden killer sprays are advertised as not just treatment tools but as long-term prevention tools as well. That’s rarely accurate and such sprays usually require frequent re-applying to effectively prevent future insect infestations. However, it is worth considering that there are other things you can do for your yard, garden or lawn to make sure that no fleas, ticks or other insects will take residence in it.
- For starters, it’s always advisable to mow your lawn as short as possible. As we said, fleas and ticks don’t do well under direct sunlight and are almost guaranteed not to lay eggs in a freshly cut grass. Additionally, they tend to avoid loud and busy locations, and if you frequently go over your whole yard with a lawn mower, well, that makes your yard a rather noisy and busy place.
- Clear your yard or garden of any garbage and old stuff that needs to be thrown out. Old and unused sheds, car tiles, piles of metal plates from a recent home renovation, or any such thing that a lot of homeowners tend to keep in their backyard, can create a suitable environment for a flea or tick infestation. Such items end up throwing shade and restricting the human or animal movement beneath them. If you don’t need them, you can simply throw them away. If you do need them, consider arranging them in a different manner or storing them in a basement or a garage.
- Wash the edges of your home’s foundations frequently and thoroughly. Not only is this a good hygienic thing to do for your yard space, but it will also make a lot of flea and tick-friendly areas intolerable for these insects. If you simply grab the garden hose once per week and blast-wash the edges of your hose with soapy water, you can go a long way in making sure that there won’t be that many ticks and fleas in your yard.
- If you live next to a wooded area or your neighbor has let his yard’s bushes to overgrow, consider putting a fence around your yard. Simply cut down your side of the bushes and shrubberies and create a gravel or wood-chip border that’s at least 3 foot wide. This will have a significant effect by making it much harder for ticks and fleas to cross into your property. The reason this works is that both fleas and ticks avoid dry materials such as wood chips and pebbles at all cost. Moving through such materials dries them out too quickly and effectively kills them. You should be careful as to what you put in a wood-chip border, however, as mulch or other natural animals can actually attract fleas and ticks. Also, you can lace the gravel or wood-chip border with pesticides or natural insect repellents to further increase their effectiveness. If you do it right, you can have a nice garden border that’s both beautiful and serves a useful purpose.
That’s why sincerely we hope that this article has been of assistance to you. If we’ve helped you find the right tick and flea spray for yards that your home needs, then we’ve done our job well. Don’t be disheartened if one product or another disappoint you, however. It’s unfortunate, but even the best flea spray for yards can have a varying performance in different weather and climates, as well as on different soils. That’s we also expanded our Top 3 list with the 7 runner-up products – so that we can help you find the ideal tick and flea spray for your home.
So, to wrap things up, here are our flea and tick yard spray suggestions:
The Wondercide Flea Tick Yard Spray is an eco-friendly natural product that will not hurt your plants, vegetables, pets or kids even when it’s still wet. It’s 100% safe and leaves a pleasant aroma behind it while repelling insects and pests. It is a bit pricey and it doesn’t last too long, so frequent reapplying is needed for a good effect.
The Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer for Soil and Turf is a very strong tick and flea killer spray that utilizes a two-way formula for dealing with insects. It attacks all stages of the insects’ development, from larvae and eggs to pupae and adults. It also exterminates insects both below and above ground.
And the Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer For Lawns & Landscapes is another powerful tick and flea treatment spray that uses a dual approach. Attacking insects in the soil and on the surface, the Spetracide Triazicide is great for creating a powerful barrier effect around your home and property.