A tick\’s abdomen swells as it drinks blood.Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
Your yard is home to an entire ecology of insects. Most of these insects will spend their lives avoiding you and your pets. Others, including mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, will seek you out as a source of food. Of these parasites, both fleas and ticks are vulnerable to borax, a naturally occurring salt.
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Ticks are eight-legged arachnids. Like spiders, they sustain themselves by drinking blood. Unlike spiders, they do not kill their prey. Instead, they latch on and steadily drink from larger animals, such as dogs, deer and humans. When they bite their host, they won't let go until they're fully satiated. Even if you pinch or probe the tick, it will stubbornly cling to you. Tick bites can transmit diseases to people, including Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to neurological damage.
Borax is a naturally occurring salt. Its scientific name is sodium borate. It has household utility, and it's become a common ingredient in green cleaning and pest-control products. When sprinkled around the home, it can kill fleas and roaches. It can also take out ticks. As with diatomaceous earth, it kills by abrading insects' protective wax coating. This wax coat keeps moisture in a bug's body. Without it, the bug rapidly dehydrates and dies.
Borax in the Yard
Ticks prefer to live in dense foliage, such as under bushes or in piles of leaf meal. The trick to killing ticks with borax is to get them where they live. Sprinkle it under shrubs. Mix it into leaf piles. Border your fence with it. Be aware that borax will kill more than just ticks. Many insects are beneficial to your garden. They aerate the soil, decompose dead plant matter and hunt pest species. Many will die from borax exposure.
Although borax is a natural salt, it isn't entirely safe. If you come in direct contact with it, it can irritate your eyes and skin, and prolonged exposure can lead to dermatitis and hormonal imbalances. If you treat a vegetable garden with borax, be certain to wash your produce before eating it.
Other Tick Control Methods
Rather than applying a poison to your yard, you can control ticks by tending to your property. Keep your lawn trim, as ticks are drawn to tall grass and shrubs. Build solid fences to discourage deer from entering your property, as ticks often hitch a ride on stags and fawns. Regularly inspect your pets for parasites. Kill ticks as they appear to discourage a growing population.