Perimeter treatments

The single most effective way to reduce blacklegged (deer) ticks in your yard is by insecticide applications that are applied mainly to the yard perimeter, shady perennial beds, or along trails and paths in woods. In most situations, treatment is not needed on open or sunny lawns.

In the two years since the first coordinated tick treatments… there has not been one family stating that they have found a tick on their children or pets.
Lee Jeans, President, Shady Lea Woods, North Kingstown, RI

Perimeter treatments can be either liquid or granular applications. Products with bifenthrin or permethrin as the active ingredients work well. Spray treatments should be applied using high-pressure sprayers. To best accomplish this, TERC highly recommends hiring a licensed Professional Pest Control Applicator trained to kill ticks in the environment.

Perimeter spray treatments are eco-friendly by limiting the amount of pesticide being applied, and targeting the areas where people most frequently come into contact with deer ticks. The chemicals used today for tick control are much less toxic than in the past, and are used in very low concentrations. Additionally, bifenthrin and permethrin do not leach through soil. These chemicals are degraded by soil microorganisms within the top 4 cm of the soil surface. Note that pyrethroid products should not be applied around fish-containing ponds or streams.

Helpful hint #1: Ask your professional where they will be applying the product. If they say over the entire yard, then they don’t really know that blacklegged tick nymphs require exceptionally high humidity and typically are only found in shady, leaf-covered areas. Treat the perimeter and a little further out in the yard if the ticks you need to kill are lone star or American dog ticks.

Helpful hint #2: Two applications usually work best, and should be done in mid-May and again in mid-June throughout the northeast and upper mid-western portions of the United States. It may be helpful to add one fall application, timed after the emergence of adult-stage blacklegged ticks – typically in mid-October.