Hot Topics: How to Prevent Ticks in the House

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Original Post: ticks in house

tevil Member

We have no pets and rarely venture outside, though this weekend we did do some yard work, myself in multiple places. Within the last couple days I’ve found what I believe are two adult dog ticks IN MY HOUSE!! One I found in my washing machine before I even put my work clothes in it. It was literally crawling around the inside on the top of the drum. I flushed him after spraying it with perimeter poison. This morning, I found one crawling on the floor in my hall in front of the washer/dryer. I picked him up and flushed him.

The proximity of them makes me think they were on clothes in the washer I had soaking in water. Are ticks even bothered by a soaking tub of water or will they crawl right out? I’ve recently read to put any clothes in a dryer for a few minutes to kill them before washing.

Is two in three days something to be concerned with? I’ve read dog ticks are one of the very few species that can infest rather than just dying indoors. We do not even have pets! I don’t know where these two ticks came from. Would a normal perimeter spray that I use for ants work with ticks? I was thinking of getting a new pump sprayer and just going nuts as I did once before when we had a concrete ant problem.

Dixie2012 Forum Topic Moderator

@PABUGMAN will be along to give you some professional advice.

In the meantime, I suspect they did come in on your clothes after yard work. But for me, that wouldn't be the primary concern. You and anyone else who worked outside need to be looked over very good, top to bottom, and in private areas. Check under arms, on the back, buttocks, etc. Have someone check you over really well in places you can’t see. If they were on your clothes, they are most likely on you. They got on your clothes trying to get to you.

If you find any, put them in a jar with alcohol and save them for a month or so in case you get sick. Show them to your doctor so he will know what kind of tick it is and how to treat the situation.

As for ticks in the house and outside, I'd recommend calling a pest control guy and having him come out and spray both inside and outside. I can not answer your question on whether ant spray will work for ticks; I just don’t know.

marksr Forum Topic Moderator

When I lived in Florida, my house would get fleas more years than not and I had no pets in the house! I assume they came in on my pant legs. I've always thought crushing the tick was the best way to get rid of them. Keeping the yard trimmed helps.

Shadeladie Super Moderator

They sit on bushes and plants and wait for someone (animal or person) to walk by so they can jump on them. Not just dogs, and you don't have to have pets. They're not sitting in the house. They're outside and you're bringing them in. When I see them, I put them in a piece of Scotch tape and close them up and toss them in the trash. They're hard to kill otherwise.

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

All good advice above. Here in the Northeast it is rare, and I don't think I've ever seen ticks reproduce indoors, so relax on that one, at least for now. Not impossible, though.

Ticks will latch on like Shadeladie said. Possibly, they weren't on your skin but on clothing and got/fell off when they didn't find the environment they wanted. I'd check thoroughly though, especially hairlines, belt lines, where the sun don't-shine, etc.

This time of year, ticks are the most active. It won't be like this when the hot weather is here consistently. I can't say that I understand why, but it happens that way.

Consider using a Deet-based spray on lower legs, shoes, etc. at least this time of year. I've read that 30% active ingredient is maximum, unless you're in a jungle environment. The 9% to 15% should be fine. There's some military surplus out there that's up in the 90%s!

When you mention perimeter spray, I'm assuming you're talking about exterior? Focus your spray at the "edges," meaning where short vegetation meets tall. Where grass meets field. Where field meets woods. Animals/people walk along edges and the ticks like to be elevated so they can latch on to the body of the animal rather than trying to latch on to the moving, narrow diameter legs of the animal.

If you find ticks on people, save them in a jar for future identification in the event that someone gets symptoms. The medical profession likes to see evidence. Now, I don't know this to be a fact, but I read once that we shouldn't save them in alcohol as that may sanitize the tick. This was in reference to a deer tick and Lyme disease. This particular lab wanted to test the tick for Lyme, not just identify the species of tick. I've not heard this theory reinforced, but on the occasion that I've saved ticks, I sprayed a tiny amount of insect spray into a jar and saved the tick inside. That way it dies so there’s no escape, and it won’t ruin a test. A tiny amount of any insecticide is all you need. Spray inside the jar first, letting it dry a little or swabbing out the excess, and then put the tick inside. If you put the tick inside before you spray, the spray may blow the tick right out of there. Another way would be to put the tick inside first and spray a cotton ball / paper towel and insert it into the jar.

I don't know how water affects them or how long and what temperature a clothes dryer would have to be to kill them.

tevil Member

Thanks, guys. We check ourselves thoroughly after being outside. I was in some tall brush that day, but it was odd that one was in the washer before we put clothes in there so that freaked me out. Spraying the yard is a tough one because I beekeep and I don’t want to kill my bees. I usually spray my perimeter inside and out.

czizzi Forum Topic Moderator

I am a tick magnet. If you have just one on your property, it will find me. I rarely go out to do lawn work without spraying my shoes, socks, a ring of skin above my socks, and then a ring around my pants once they’re back down. We also do regular tick checks in areas that I can not see such as the back of the head and private areas.

I am allergic to the saliva of ticks and welt up tremendously when bit and it usually leaves a scar. You can imagine what my legs look like. Currently, I have one bite on my lower shin above the sock line and two on my inner thigh, apparently from the same tick as there was only one to remove that time.

We put our clothes in the dryer at high heat to sanitize against any additional critters. I also spray my yard every year. I never thought of saving them. I always monitor and if any sign of a bullseye rash shows, I immediately contact my doctor for antibiotics.

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