Ridding your yard of ticks is important because the little parasites spread dangerous diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Once they attach themselves to a host, ticks are notoriously difficult to remove without breaking off the head under the skin—and a head that’s left behind can cause infection. (They also damage skin when they burrow into it, embedding almost their entire bodies while feeding on blood.) The longer ticks are attached to a host’s skin, the more likely it is that the host will contract Lyme disease or another tick-borne illness. A quality tick spray can reduce, if not eliminate, the number of these arachnids in your yard and allow you to enjoy your outdoor space without worry.
The best tick spray for the yard is one that multitasks and treats the entire yard for ticks as well as other nuisance pests, like ants and mosquitoes. Most yard tick sprays are packaged in containers that can be attached to a garden hose, diluted, and then sprayed. Make sure to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), like gloves, a mask, and long pants and long sleeves, when using pesticides. Shoppers looking for ways to reduce infestations on their property should consider these top picks for the best tick spray.
- BEST OVERALL: Black Flag HG-11108 Flea & Tick Killer Concentrate
- RUNNER-UP: BAYER CROP SCIENCE 700280B Complete Insect Killer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape
- BEST NATURAL SPRAY: Wondercide – Ready to Use Flea, Tick, and Mosquito
- BEST FOR PETS: Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Yard and Kennel Spray
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tick Spray for Yards
Not every tick spray is right for every property. There are several different types of spray from which to choose—some are derived from natural ingredients and others contain pesticides, for example. Some sprays are sold in concentrate and others are ready to use, but the differences between products don’t stop there. There’s also the spray’s application method and coverage area to consider, as well as its specific active ingredients. Keep these features in mind as you choose the best tick spray for yard infestations. Finally, remember that these sprays are poison. Protect yourself and others while applying these products.
Types of Tick Sprays
When shopping for tick sprays, you’ll typically find three different types on the shelves: concentrated tick sprays, premixed tick sprays, and natural sprays. The first two differ by formula; the last type differs by its ingredients.
- Concentrated tick sprays are generally packaged in a large container and are meant to be diluted with water, either manually or by connecting the container to a garden hose to disperse the spray. This type of tick spray is the most common option for treating yards because it can be sprayed over a large area.
- Premixed tick sprays come ready to use in a spray bottle. Just put on proper protective gear—a mask, gloves, and long pants—and start spraying problem areas around the yard. The drawback to premixed sprays is that they are really only useful for small gardens, smaller yards, and targeted spot treatments.
- Natural tick sprays are necessary for homes with pets and kids. Instead of relying on powerful chemical poisons like permethrin or DEET to kill ticks, these sprays take advantage of essential oils’ natural tick-repellent properties. In concentrated amounts, these essential oils—among them, peppermint and cedarwood—kill ticks and other insects while creating a scent barrier that drives these pests away. The downside of these natural solutions is that they’re not as effective as the chemical treatments.
Application and Coverage Area
There are two primary methods by which tick spray is applied to a yard: via a garden hose sprayer, or with a spray bottle.
- Garden hose sprayers connect directly to a hose. Water from the hose mixes with the concentrated tick spray and distributes the spray evenly over the yard. One 32-ounce bottle of concentrate can treat up to 5,000 square feet (0.11 acres), so two bottles would easily cover a medium-size yard.
- Spray bottles contain a natural or a premixed chemical formula that is ready to use simply by squeezing the trigger to apply the tick spray to targeted areas around the yard. The disadvantage of using tick treatment in a ready-to-use spray bottle is that it doesn’t cover much area—only around 500 square feet. Connecting a spray wand to the bottle can increase the spray range, but there’s only so much spray in the bottle. Coverage range for point-and-spray bottles maxes out at about 1,000 square feet.
Safety should always be top priority when using pesticides, herbicides, and other poison treatments for the yard. Many tick sprays contain dangerous active ingredients such as permethrin, lambda-cyhalothrin, zeta-cypermethrin, and bifenthrin, all of which are synthetic pyrethroids. Imidacloprid, beta-cyfluthrin, and DEET are other common ingredients in tick spray. Even the concentrated essential oils in natural tick sprays can be harmful if the spray isn’t properly applied and package instructions are not followed.
When spraying a yard with tick treatment, make sure people and pets avoid the treated area for at least 2 hours after the treatment is applied. This allows ample time for the spray to settle on the ground and in the foliage, and it reduces the likelihood that it’ll be inhaled or transferred from the grass onto a person or an animal. Though it has already been said, it bears repeating: Always wear appropriate protective gear when using tick treatments. Gloves, a mask, long pants, long sleeves, and eye protection will go a long way in protecting you from these harsh chemicals.
Tips for Using Tick Spray in Your Yard
Before spraying the yard, always check the manufacturer’s directions to make sure that you know how to use the product properly. For best results, users should avoid spraying the yard during or shortly after rainfall because water can dilute the poison and reduce its efficacy. Begin treating your yard in the spring after any snow has melted, and continue treating it regularly throughout the summer months.
Ticks are found primarily in wooded areas, deep foliage, gardens, tall grass, and under piles of mulch. For this reason it’s important to keep the yard well maintained, and rake up grass mulch after mowing. Take away their favorite spots, and you’ll have fewer ticks to deal with. These pests also like piles of brush and wood because they prey on mice and other rodents that live in these cool locations.
It’s important to remember that some tick sprays contain dangerous active ingredients that are strictly regulated by local and state laws. Before choosing the best tick spray for yard infestations, always check local and state laws in your region to make sure that the product is approved for use.
- For best results, begin spraying the yard after any snow has melted and the ground has dried out.
- Use tick spray in wooded areas, gardens, dense foliage, tall grass, and other areas where ticks are likely to live and feed.
- Local and state regulations for tick spray products vary. Always check regulations in your area before choosing a tick spray.
Our Top Picks
These top tick sprays were selected based on overall efficacy; type of treatment, ease of application, and the amount of coverage they provide were also considered. Whether you’re treating a large lawn or a small area of your garden, you’ll likely find some good options here to suit your needs.
This flea and tick killer from Black Flag contains 32 ounces of concentrated pesticide, and it’s applied by attaching the container to the end of a garden hose and turning the hose on. This process mixes the solution, eliminating any worry about getting the proper mixture ratio before beginning treatment.
With lambda-cyhalothrin as its active ingredient, this product is effective for resolving infestations of arachnids like ticks and spiders, and it also kills insects such as mosquitoes, ants, fleas, crickets, beetles, and earwigs. The full bottle of Black Flag Flea & Tick Killer treats up to 5,000 square feet of lawn and garden, and it kills fleas for up to 12 weeks. Apply it as needed to control tick infestations.
With imidacloprid and beta-cyfluthrin as its active ingredients, BioAdvanced’s Complete Insect Killer means business. These two active ingredients kill affected ticks by binding to the acetylcholine receptors, creating an increasing accumulation of acetylcholine in the body that leads to convulsions, paralysis, and death.
This BioAdvanced product is a highly versatile approach to yard treatment. It comes in a 32-ounce bottle with a garden hose connection for easy DIY application, and its contents cover up to 5,334 square feet of yard. What’s more, this insect killer spray is effective for up to 3 months after treatment, and it eradicates mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, and more than 500 additional insect species.
With a total coverage of 5,300 square feet, this inexpensive Ortho tick spray is an effective option for treating decks, patios, picnic areas, and backyard spaces. The spray contains two common synthetic pyrethrins, bifenthrin and zeta-cypermethrin. These pyrethrins kill adult and larval arachnids by damaging the nervous system, so infestations are destroyed at all maturation levels.
Ortho Home Defense’s 32-ounce concentrate treats infestations of ticks, spiders, and fleas for up to 6 months. It also can be used to kill ants, mosquitoes, and 235 other species of nuisance pests. Treat the yard or garden by attaching the bottle of concentrate to the end of a garden hose. The flow of water will mix with the concentrated tick spray and dispense a potent treatment to kill and repel ticks.
Wondercide’s natural tick spray for yard infestations is made with three different active ingredients, including cedarwood oil, sesame oil, and sodium lauryl sulfate. The combination of these three ingredients kills ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas, and repels nuisance pests for up to 2 weeks. The solution is concentrated and is dispersed by connecting a garden hose to the hose-end sprayer.
This 32-ounce tick spray is effective at treating up to 5,000 square feet of property when used according to the manufacturer’s directions. Whereas other tick treatments require users to wait hours for the product to dry before entering the area, that’s not the case with Wondercide—spray, and enjoy the yard right away. This natural tick spray is safe to use around kids and pets, making it a great option for parents, pet owners, and others who are reluctant about applying chemicals to their yards.
Vet’s Best tick spray is a plant-based formula that’s designed for use around pets and kids, making it a great option for treating outdoor kennels or household areas where pets like to lay and play. This treatment’s three natural active ingredients, peppermint oil, eugenol (clove extract), and sodium lauryl sulfate, can kill and repel ticks, fleas, spiders, flies, and mosquitoes.
This 32-ounce concentrated formula needs to be mixed with water, and it’s easily applied by connecting the bottle to a garden hose. Vet’s Best kills adults, larvae, and eggs on up to 5,000 square feet of yard, yet it isn’t harmful to trees, shrubs, or flowers. It’s effective for up to 2 weeks, but heavy rain can reduce the length of the efficacy period. This product is made in the USA.
FAQs About Tick Sprays
After clearing the yard of brush and other areas where ticks congregate, it’s a good idea to protect your family and pets from these parasitic arachnids by spraying any lingering tick populations. To learn more about why ticks are invading your yard and how effective the best tick sprays are for the yard, read on.
Q. Why do I have ticks in my yard?
Ticks are attracted to wood piles, wooded areas, piled sticks, and brush, as well as grass that is over 4 inches high. These types of areas allow ticks to prey on mice, latch onto passing pets, and stay safely away from hot, dry locations. To reduce tick habitat and the tick population, be sure to remove any garbage, wood, and sticks that have been piled in the yard and keep the grass and foliage neatly trimmed.
Q. Are yard treatments effective for eliminating ticks?
The use of tick spray treatments for the yard can greatly reduce the number of ticks. For lasting results, it’s important to keep the lawn and foliage neatly trimmed to avoid creating a dense, moist, breeding ground for these pests.
Q. Are there any residual effects of using tick sprays on lawns?
Overuse of pesticides can cause phytotoxicity in plants, which leads to symptoms like stunted or distorted growth, damage to plants’ leaves and flowers, and death. To avoid poisoning plants while treating a tick problem, always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.