No Pets, Lots of Ticks.
March 18, 2008 2:39 PM   Subscribe

My backyard (all concrete) has become infested with ticks and whatever the exterminator is using is worthless.

I haven't had a dog or any pets back there in months. The landlord finally called out the pest control service they use (been here twice so far) but their spray has only made a small dent in the population and it's rebounded with a vengeance.
I think the big problem here is the fact that new siding was put on three months ago and it gave them all a nice new home inside of my walls. They're now starting to make it inside en masse. The poison spray I'm using inside ( methoprene .01% permethrin .28%) did a great job at first, but as it warms up outside they seem to either become more immune or just live longer through it. How do I get rid of these bastards for good inside and out (or at least until my lease is up) ? I don't have pets anymore and no kids here this week, so I'm willing to use anything short of nuclear waste or torching the place.
posted by IronLizard to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
Find a product with Dursban (chlorpyrifos). Or, if you want to do the environmentally sound thing, borrow some chickens or guinea hens for the week. They'll take care of them. Ticks like high humidity and are usually around grass, so this is a little odd.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:48 PM on March 18, 2008

Are you sure that the bugs have been correctly identified?
posted by winston at 4:17 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: I'll get pictures, hold on.
posted by IronLizard at 4:22 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: The top photo is where they're concentrated. Flickr
posted by IronLizard at 4:53 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: Oh and that's just one, they come in several shades or black/brown/red.
posted by IronLizard at 4:58 PM on March 18, 2008

jeez, I wouldnt get within a hundred miles of there, get some chickens or a flame thrower.
posted by BobbyDigital at 5:26 PM on March 18, 2008

Demand CS

I just ordered it for the first time but everyone I know speaks highly of it for all kinds of crawlies.
posted by M Edward at 5:42 PM on March 18, 2008

This is what i would recommend
posted by tke248 at 5:46 PM on March 18, 2008

Response by poster: Bobby, what if I get chickens AND a flamethrower, does that qualify for the KFC Special discount?
posted by IronLizard at 6:38 PM on March 18, 2008

Best answer: This happened to me once in Phoenix - we had them inside & out. Back when you could get the REAL stuff (1975) we A-bombed the outside with spray & they came out of the siding by the thousands. We set off about 20 bug bombs in the 3-Br. house after removing all clothes & anything washable, which we proceeded to wash in HOT water (38 loads). Seemed to work but the stuff you can get may not cut it, as it seems you're finding out - you need help from a pro with an EPA license and access to the Zyklon-B.
posted by Pressed Rat at 8:05 PM on March 18, 2008

Talk to the landlord, bring them to your place to show them the infestation. Tell them they might want to reconsider their choice in pest control professionals. I work for a mosquito control agency in the summers, and for (mosquito) adulticiding we use permethrin for a lot of applications. The label indicates that it's meant to treat many different insects, similar to Demand CS as noted above. It surprises me that your permethrin solution isn't working, considering it usually has a pretty good residual effect, lasting for a few days in dry conditions. It could be that you aren't using it on grass/shrubs, maybe there's something that the solution doesn't like about the concrete. I suggest getting a new pest control service to help you out. Good luck!
posted by whiskey point at 6:55 AM on March 19, 2008

Best answer: Easier, cheaper, and possibly more effective than all chemicals mentioned so far: try a 50% bleach /water solution in a hand-pumped insecticide herbacide container. Wet EVERY DAMN INCH, and make sure the cracks between blocks are wet. Wear bleachable clothes, long sleeves, gloves, a disposable knit cap containing all your hair, and goggles. Work from the down-wind side of your yard, moving upwind (but always spraying downwind, of course).

Very little will live through that. Waterbears, perhaps, but they're harmless.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:59 PM on March 19, 2008

Response by poster: That is an excellent idea. Mad bleaching followed up by more poison. I settled on Sevin Dust since I don't have to wait for it to show up in the mail. I'd completely forgotten this stuff existed until someone mentioned it this morning. Thank you for your answers.
posted by IronLizard at 4:25 PM on March 19, 2008

The photo in the upper left is filled with ants, and the one to the right is a ladybug.
I assume it's ants you're talking about since the large colonies of ladybugs usually don't occur until later in the warmer seasons.

One thing that works well against pests with an exoskeleton are products that contain diatomaceous earth. There are a slew of products out there that advertise it; your local garden/lawn store probably has some.

Another thing to consider is eliminating their food source. They're obviously not eating anything the soil is producing the backyard since it's all concrete. If it's something that you can easily modify so they can't get to it, try that as well.

Ants follow other ants via a scent trail they leave behind them when they travel. If you see them consistently heading to a regular food source, scour the path they take there with the bleach/water or a detergent/water solution for quite a ways in both directions.

If it is ants and the nest/s are outside, I imagine unless your landlord wants to tear up the patio it's tough luck.
posted by ZaneJ. at 8:33 PM on March 25, 2008

Response by poster: Sorry, I removed the tick photos a few days ago. The ants are something entirely different. After comparing the photos to others online it turns out they are (were?), in fact, mostly deer ticks with the reddish fringe to their carapace. There's no obvious food source anywhere in my yard, btw.
Just to update: They're mostly dead now, though I do still find them in areas I didn't dust very well. The landlord is dragging their feet but promising some more drastic pest control action soon, as even the neighbors have now had them for a month or so and they seem to be spreading.
posted by IronLizard at 9:15 AM on March 30, 2008

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