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What can I do to reduce ticks in my yard?

Photo by: CLyDRN

There are many practical measures you can take to reduce the chance of tick exposure in your yard. Each measure provides an additional layer of protection, and by implementing multiple measures you can significantly reduce the presence of ticks on your property.

Keep in mind that engaging in yard work and outdoor activities is associated with an increased risk of acquiring a tick bite and a disease transmitted by ticks. So, while working on your property, remember to protect yourself and your pets and to perform a tick check when you have finished!

Based on a recent synthesis of the scientific literature, the illustration below provides information on measures you can take to reduce your risk of tick exposure on your property. Click on the icons to learn about each measure:

Artwork by Molly Wells

You do not need to implement everything!

No-one can implement all of the suggested measures, in part due to time, cost, effort required or size of the project. Choose measures that you are comfortable with and that are realistic for your situation.

For more advice on things you can do to reduce ticks around your home, you can consult this video, produced by the Government of Canada:


It is important for me that I manage my property in way that supports insects, pollinators, and wildlife. Won’t some of these tick prevention measures conflict with this?

Many people are concerned that practices such as removal of brush and leaf litter or keeping the grass short can disrupt local ecosystems. Unfortunately, some habitats which are favourable for insects are also favourable for ticks. Instead of choosing an ‘all or nothing’ approach, you can instead implement preventive measures in the area(s) of your property in which you spend the most time. For example, you could keep the grass short where children play, or where you sit, and find one or more patches elsewhere on your property to keep long and less maintained.

I love nature, and I don’t want to intervene by changing anything on my property.

Understandably, many people choose to live in areas which are wooded or grassy because they love nature. Whether or not you choose to implement any of the suggested behaviours comes down to personal choice and risk tolerance. If you choose not to make any modifications, it is important that you focus on other preventive methods such as using bug repellent, wearing long layers of clothing, and performing regular tick checks.

I have heard that there is a chemical which can be sprayed onto the property to reduce ticks. Is this true?

The use of acaricides is not a commonly used preventive measure, however people living in areas which are highly endemic for ticks may think about this option. The major considerations include the potential for resistance to develop in ticks, harmful effects on insects and pollinators, and varying availability across provinces. It is best to contact your municipality to find out if this is permitted, and who is authorised to implement these measures.

I can’t afford to put up deer fencing around my entire property. Is this necessary?

Installing fencing is expensive, and it is unlikely that most people would choose to fence their entire property. Instead, you could consider fencing an area of your property which you use frequently. An added benefit is that deer will not be able to eat plants in your garden!

I have heard of other tick prevention options, such as garlic sprays and keeping guinea fowl. Do these options work?

There is no clear evidence demonstrating how the use of garlic sprays and guinea fowl can effectively reduce numbers of adult and nymphal stage ticks in the medium to long term, or which demonstrate a reduced risk of infection with a disease transmitted by ticks.

Do devices which target rodents in the yard help to reduce ticks?

At the time of writing, there are two devices on the market which apply an acaricide to rodents. It is not clear in which contexts these are most effective and some of these must be used by licensed pest management professionals. Therefore, there is not enough evidence to recommend widespread use of these methods.

What does hardscaping or xeriscaping have to do with tick prevention?

Hardscaping is the addition of man-made materials to a property, such as concrete. This is usually done by converting green spaces, and therefore reduces the amount of habitat suitable for ticks. If you are considering hardscaping your property, remember that green spaces can provide many benefits such as flood protection, temperature moderation and habitat for wildlife. Xeriscaping is the use of plants which tolerate very dry conditions so that the property can be kept drier and less favourable for ticks, which tend to prefer more humid environments.


Fischhoff, I. R., Keesing, F., & Ostfeld, R. S. (2019). Risk Factors for Bites and Diseases Associated With Black-Legged Ticks: A Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 188(9), 1742–1750.

Preventing ticks in the yard – CDC