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Ticks Everywhere
August 16, 2010 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Brown Dog Ticks: Disgusting and everywhere.

Our house has a ridiculous infestation of Brown Dog Ticks -- not disease-spreading, but disgusting and awful. We have had an exterminator come six times in the past two months. On Friday, they came and gassed the house, but we have seen numerous living ticks everyday since then.

We have two dogs that wear tick/flea collars, use frontline, and have regular baths. Getting rid of the dogs is not an option. They go out in the yard (which has been treated every time that the exterminator comes), but we have restricted their access to other locations while we deal with this problem.

We have a baby in the house, so we are not happy about continuing to use toxic chemicals in the house, but we can't be overrun with these horrible little parasites, either.

Has anyone dealt with this successfully? We've had small issues in the past that were easily eradicated, but this is several orders of magnitude worse. We are in southeast Texas if that matters.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are the exterminators applying pesticide dust as well? You need something that will affect the ticks once they come out of the hiding places in your home. Make sure you've done everything recommended on this page.

Does your vet recommend using both Frontline and a flea collar? My vet does not, since they consider Frontline to be effective and flea collars toxic overkill. Double check, just in case.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:38 AM on August 16, 2010


(Um, and I just realized that for some reason, this is an anon post, so you can't answer my questions. )
posted by oneirodynia at 11:39 AM on August 16, 2010


Are you using Frontline monthly? When I lived in a high-tick area with three dogs, we had to apply Frontline monthly for tick control (it lasts longer for flea control).

I'm not sure baths work for ticks, but regular brushing/hand combing can. You know, where you are pretending you are petting the dog but really you are looking for ticks.

Could you get your dogs a haircut? Might help a bit in the interim.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:53 AM on August 16, 2010


Use Advantix instead of Frontline. Changing up the flea/tick preventative might help.
posted by bolognius maximus at 12:22 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beneficial Nematodes are AWESOME! They took a few days to become effective in my case, for fleas, but a month later there are no fleas left. Period.
posted by snsranch at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2010


You might have some luck with diatomaceous earth. I've heard good things about it being able to get rid of all sorts of insect infestations. It's supposed to work by getting caught in the joints of the exoskeletons which causes the bug to effectively bleed out. It's something that could be a much less toxic solution to your problem, you can rub it into your dogs' fur to kill the ticks before they come into the house... Some basic info here...
posted by ganzhimself at 1:09 PM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


My wife and I battled with this, and unfortunately your in for a ride. A true tick infestation is very difficult to deal with, much worse than fleas. It's going to take a couple of tick life cycles for the problem to completely disappear. The extermination will kill all the live ticks, and you'll think it's gone, but like clockwork all the eggs that were laid will hatch and begin to climb the walls.

The key to getting rid of the infestation is to nip it at the source - your animals. The ticks can only reproduce if they've got their fill of a host's blood. If you cut off their blood supply, they'll die out. As you've probably noticed they rarely attach to humans, so that's not a real issue. Just make sure to kill the ones that do show an interest in your (human) family members.

Here's what worked for us:

-Pick all the ticks off of the dogs that you can with a pair of tweezers. Get right down to the skin and make sure you get the head out.
-There is only one brand of flea/tick collar that really works: Preventic Get them on the dogs immediately. Change them every 30 days in the beginning.
-Have a professional extermination, which you've already done.
-Get a bottle of Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea and Tick Spray. It kills ticks instantly on contact. You can use this for the live ticks for find on walls. Keep it off the floors and furniture with little ones around.

Your exterminator should have done this, but flip over every wall-mounted picture frame. Ticks love to get behind them and lay their eggs. Check the corners of your ceilings. Make sure you kill any ticks here. The ticks instinctually climb the walls to the highest point they can and wait to jump down on their hosts. Also, check the underside of all your furniture. Flip your box spring over and cut off the fabric that covers the wooden frame. Check for ticks there.

It's going to take a few months, but you'll get them gone. Good luck!
posted by Capa at 3:49 PM on August 16, 2010


Sorry for not giving up more info earlier, I was busy at work.

The reason I suggest nematodes is that for you to have that kind of infestation indoors, after repeated spraying, it must be hundreds of times worse out in your yard and surrounding area where your dogs go...even if they are in contained areas that won't keep the ticks off of your dogs. That's exactly what the nematodes are for, to kill those things at the source and make the yard dog-safe again.

They are totally safe for animals other than bugs. They're 100% natural and pretty inexpensive compared to having a pro come out to spray. I spent about $45 for my pack that had roughly 50 million nematodes. I used a garden hose spray bottle to spread them out and covered about 1500 sq ft. Three days into it the fleas were already decreasing in number. After a month they were completely eradicated indoors and out.

When the first couple of fleas showed up we DID dose up the animals with Advantage, and kept them on it until it was over, but the real infestation and source was in our yard.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
posted by snsranch at 4:31 PM on August 16, 2010


Orrr you might have a nest with thousands of the little buggers (pause for recovering from skin-crawling sensations) somewhere in the house. That's how it went with someone I know who had that problem. They eventually found it in a cabinet they rarely opened.

Once they found it and eradicated it, everything was fine.

I seem to recall that they had the exterminator do a really, really in-depth examination of the house, and he found the nest. Probably better that way.
posted by galadriel at 6:59 PM on August 16, 2010


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