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Even if there is always a warning not to go into the forest without socks, long clothes and sturdy shoes in summer to protect yourself from ticks, the animals can also be found in your own garden.

In a nutshell

  • Different types of plants distributed in the garden beds can keep the ticks away through smell and essential oils
  • Lemon water for spraying the areas on the garden beds, shrubs, flowers and the lawn can be made by yourself
  • Fight the arachnids directly on the host, in this case the mice, with commercially available tick rolls
  • Only tidy, well-kept, sunlit and therefore dry and warm gardens can be safe from tick infestation
  • If an infestation is suspected, check the garden with white sheets or cloth

tick info

The annoying arachnids, which are dangerous for us humans and pets, are not only to be found in the forest, they are often carried into our gardens as well. This is mainly due to the native birds, squirrels, rabbits, mice, hedgehogs and foxes, but also to our own pets. Because the ticks let themselves fall off as soon as they have sucked enough blood, look for a suitable place and can wait here for a long time before they can be stripped off again. The following tick information is also interesting:

  • survive temperatures down to -15° Celsius for weeks
  • love a humid environment
  • about 50% of these arachnids are infected with Lyme disease
  • pass them on to us humans
  • especially the infected animals are more active
  • 40% of all tick bites occur in the garden
  • greatest spreader of diseases
  • Lyme disease and TBE
  • can survive in water for three weeks
Source: H. Krisp, Common wood tick Ixodes ricinus 2, edited from Plantopedia, CC BY 3.0

For these reasons, it is also very difficult to reduce the arachnids in the gardens. Keeping away is therefore often impossible.

Identify and reduce infestation

A little trick is good for recognizing whether the arachnids are in your own environment and then taking appropriate measures to reduce them:

  • white sheet
  • alternatively large white cloth
  • over shrubs, grass and flower beds

The arachnids react to the touch and stick to the sheet or cloth. All black dots should be examined. A tick can be easily recognized by its small black body with six legs, it has a very small head and moves only moderately.

Plants that keep ticks away

There are definitely plants that emit a smell or something else that the annoying arachnids don't like. If these plants are cultivated in places throughout the garden, the risk of ticks nesting here should be reduced considerably. In addition, all plants are those that like it dry, warm and sunny. So exactly the opposite of the places where the arachnids feel comfortable:

Dalmatian insect flower (Tanacetum cinerariifolium)

  • daisy-like flowers
  • contain pyrethrum
  • oldest known pesticide
  • already known in Roman times
  • is used in medicine as an insect spray
  • also against head lice and animal fleas
  • plant is poisonous
Source: そらみみ, Flowers of Tanacetum cinerariifolium 20220430, edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

Catnip (Nepeta)

  • deciduous perennial
  • intense fragrance
  • beautiful, bright blue-purple flowers
  • dry soil preferred
  • sunny location
Catnip, cat balm, Nepeta faassenii

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

  • also known as wormweed or rain field flowers
  • belongs to the daisy family
  • Leaves resemble the fern
  • yellow bloom
  • has toxic ingredients
  • can cause allergies when touched
  • also keeps mosquitoes and other insects away
Tansy - Tanacetum vulgare

Notice: Due to its toxicity, the tansy should only be consumed with caution, as small children and pets are also at risk. Nevertheless, it is a universal means of reducing and keeping away all kinds of harmful and unwelcome insects and vermin.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

  • subshrub
  • strongly scented
  • sunny location
  • grows up to 1.50 meters high
  • is avoided by the arachnids

Narrow-leaved Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • also real lavender
  • gives off a strong scent
  • is avoided by the arachnids
  • also from different host animals
  • also the surrounding area
  • wants a sunny location
  • perennial
  • hardy
  • non-toxic
true lavender, Lavandula angustifolia

Notice: When doing any gardening work, you should not only protect yourself with long-sleeved tops, gardening gloves, socks, long trousers and sturdy shoes if you suspect the annoying insects in your area. Spraying or rubbing Autan on the skin can also help prevent ticks from attaching themselves.

lemon water

There is a home remedy that can help against ticks. You can easily make this yourself from a variety of simple ingredients. This is not a chemical agent, but a repellent made from lemon water and therefore it does not harm other insects or small creatures that are here. This is mixed as follows:

  • Bring 500ml of water to a boil
  • Cut up two lemons and add them to the water
  • boil for a minute
  • Add peppermint leaves or other essential oils
  • then simmer for about an hour
  • let cool down
  • put in spray bottle
  • alternatively use a pressure sprayer
  • spray all over the flower beds and lawn
  • Don't forget shrubs either

The lemon water is distributed from April to October, and in order for it to be effective, it should be sprayed again after each rain. Moist, dark and cool places in particular should preferably be sprayed.

Notice: A tick can gain 100 times its body weight by sucking blood. There are even species that are up to 600 times heavier.

clean up

In addition to the means of control and the appropriate plants, there are other measures to keep the annoying pests away from the immediate environment. A tidy and sun-drenched garden is very helpful here. Therefore, tidying up comes first here:

  • Prune trees and shrubs regularly
  • also thoroughly illuminate
  • Always keep the lawn short
  • especially when playing here
  • Always store wood in a light and dry place
  • don't leave piles of leaves
  • Also remove leaves from the ground

Ticks can also be found in abandoned bird nests. Therefore, in the fall, all old nests should be removed, if permitted. NABU provides information on this.

Tip: Even when you create a new garden, you should make sure that it is as tick-proof as possible. A close-meshed fence also helps here, making it impossible for many host animals to get in and spread the arachnids here.

frequently asked Questions

Can you attract a tick to fight it?

Unfortunately, this is not possible, because the arachnids are very lazy. They don't move more than about one to two meters throughout their lives. Otherwise, they place themselves in a suitable spot, such as on a blade of grass in tall grass, and wait for a host to walk by and strip them off. No means are suitable for attracting ticks.

How often can a tick bite?

The animals actually get by with little blood in their lives. They often only sting three times in total in order to really attach themselves and take in enough blood. The first time as a larva before moulting, the second time as a nymph after moulting, and the third time the adult females before oviposition.

Can I reconcile a near-natural garden with tick avoidance?

Unfortunately, avoiding arachnids and gardens that are close to nature are counterproductive. Gardens that are laid out close to nature have everything that annoying insects need to survive. A tidy garden that offers little shelter, on the other hand, is usually tick-free.

Is a tick roll from the trade also helpful?

A tick roll contains nesting material, such as that used by mice, that has been soaked in a substance used to control the arachnids. Mice get this nesting material from the roll to fill their own nest. The animals come into contact with the agent without being harmed themselves and thus destroy the ticks that are attached to them.

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