Are you going to buy/look for professional flea and tick yard treatment? Read this article carefully because what I share here is about the buying guide for you in selecting the best treatment products. So, hopefully, the products you buy later will not only be effective to kill those pests, but also safe for you and your pets.
Well, now, let us start it by discussing a bit of insight about how harmful those pests for humans and pets in the following passages (or you can skip it and go to the table of contents).
We all do know that fleas and ticks are the most common insect parasites that can invade your beautiful yard. They like to chill around the yard and waiting for the perfect time to invade the living creatures for the sole purpose of… food. And what I meant food here is they suck out blood, like nasty mini vampires.
Flea and tick infestation is a total nightmare because not only they are harmful to your pets, but they could also be harmful to humans! Those buggers can be a vector that causes various diseases, such as Lyme disease, tapeworm infestation, skin disorders, anemia, and the list goes on.
Because of the harms that they could cause, it is best to know the treatment options on how to maintain a flea-and-tick free yard. Usually, people use spray based drugs. The next problem is, what are the best substances to eradicate those bugs, yet contains the minimum side effects?
To answer the question, here are some recommended (and unrecommended) lists of flea and tick yard treatments.
Recommended Flea and Tick Yard Treatment
Neem Oil (Azadirachtin)
Neem oil is a yellow-brownish oil extracted from the neem tree. The oil contains an active chemical called azadirachtin. The reason I put neem oil in this list is this substance is not targeting beneficial insects and have very low toxicity towards mammals, earthworms, and plants.
The neem tree typically has gained popularity since its advantage as the source of phytochemicals has well known and spread around the world. Here, phytochemicals are the chemical substance found in plants as their self-defense in blocking the virus and bacteria. This tree can grow well even in high temperatures and degraded soil. So, no wonder why this tree is so popular.
But, now, let us focus on azadirachtin which gets a great reputation as pests terminator. Azadirachtin is one of the compounds that is contained in neem oil which is also known as limonoids. This compound is about 720g/mol that melt in 160°C. Here, the greatest source of azadirachtin comes from the extraction of the seed.
Then, the most popular benefit of azadirachtin lies in its ability in dealing with pests. In this case, the azadirachtin mechanism of actions includes disrupting the production of chitin, which inhibits the bug’s larvae to form the next stage of life cycles. Also, it is observed that this chemical substance has very low toxicity to humans and other beneficial organisms.
Here, some researches have observed the other pests that can be controlled by azadirachtin as follows:
- Anopheles stephensi
- Anopheles culicifacies
- Ceraeochrysa claveri
- Cnaphalocrocis medinalis
- Diaphorina citri
- Helicoverpa armigera
- Mamestra brassicae
- Nilaparvata lugens Stal
- Pieris brassicae
- Spodoptera frugiperda
On the other side, this chemical substance has a very great function in dealing with pests as follows:
- Inhibiting feeding
- Affecting hormone function in juvenile stages
- Reducing ecdysone
- Deregulating growth
- Altering development and reproduction
- Suppressing fertility
- Repelling oviposition
- Disrupting molting processes
Well, on the other researches, based on the insect groups, neem oil has a pattern in eliminating the pests as follows:
- Lepidoptera: it gives an antifeeding effect and makes larvae mortality increased.
- Hemiptera: it eliminates young nymphs by ecdysis defects and inhibiting the development.
- Hymenoptera: it disturbs the development of larval and pupal, decreases the food intake, and also eliminates the insects when the molting process happens.
- Neuroptera: it damages the cell of larvae.
Limonene is a natural substance that has a good effect in eliminating fleas. It has low oral and dermal toxicity towards humans, dogs, cats, fishes, and birds. They consider multifunction because, besides insecticidal and repellent, they are also capable to inhibit bacteria and fungal growth.
Let us discuss more about limonene.
Actually, limonene has two optical forms (+)-. So, this chemical substance can also be found in the fragrance and flavor industry. So, actually, this chemical substance is used in various industries. In this case, you can extract limonene citric peel or oil, lemon, fir, orange, and mint, etc.
Here, some products with citrus flavor such as soft drinks, candy, and fragrance use (+)- limonene as the ingredient. Well, this kind of limonene is the expensive one because the industries need very high-quality limonene. This expensive limonene is called R-limonene.
On the other side, the (-)- limonene or simply called S-limonene has a harsh odor. Usually, this kind of limonene is used in insecticide. Here, limonene works as neurotoxic, which over-stimulating the bug’s nerves, causes central nervous abnormality, paralysis, and death.
As additional information, people should know that this chemical has low-medium phytotoxic, meaning it may harm specific plants such as cabbages and carrots. Cover the plants safely before spraying the targeted area.
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Pyrethrin is a natural insecticidal made from daisy flowers. If you ever heard or consumed chrysanthemum tea, it is the same kind of flower! This substance alone has very low toxicity towards mammalians and they are safe to use near soon-to-be harvest crops or near the kitchen garden.
Pyrethrin has the same mechanism of action as limonene. They disrupt the nervous system and leads the buggers to death. I do suggest combining it with other matters such as neem oil or canola oil (when using this item) to increase effectiveness.
Permethrin is actually… pyrethrin, but manmade. Permethrin is a powerful and rapidly acting insecticidal that causes a knockdown over insects. These substances are not easily degraded by sun or heat, thus it is one of the best options to use around yards or tents. Permethrin also kid-friendly and can be used for scabies treatment.
Although they are considered as safe options to mammalians, they are toxic for aquatic animals (fish, frogs, etc.). Be sure not to spray them around ponds or aquariums!
Methoprene and Pyriproxyfen
The reason I mention two substances at once is that they are both categorized as Insect Growth Regulators (IGR). IGRs are photostable, meaning they withstand sun heat and can be used outdoors. IGRs are considered very safe for vertebrate animals.
Based on this study, IGR works by interferes with the development of insect eggs and inhibits the life cycle by disrupting chitin production. Specifically for methoprene, it could maintain 3-7 months of residual after use, meaning 3 to 4 times of use could prevent yards or closed areas from flea and ticks up to a year.
Unrecommended Flea and Tick Yard Treatment
Imidacloprid is a powerful insecticidal substance and works by disrupting the insect’s nervous system. Although they do a great job killing the pesky buggers, they also have their side effects, most likely major hazards.
This substance has already been categorized as a moderately toxic component. It has the LD50 of 450 mg/ kg for a rat, meaning 450 mg of this component could cause death to half population of rats.
Human intoxicated by imidacloprid has already been reported numerous times. The intoxication signs are fatigue, twitching, cramps, and muscle weakness. It could also cause thyroid lesions.
Other side effects are they are also toxic for bees and birds. The component causes gastrointestinal distress (retching) and ataxia (loss of coordination) for birds that were intoxicated by imidacloprid treated seeds.
Eugenol is a plant-based insecticidal. Eugenol’s natural sources are cloves, thymes, and many other herbals. It works by overstimulating the insect’s neurons, result in cardiac hyperactivity, paralysis, and death. With the LD50 of 1930 mg/ kg, eugenol is actually not as toxic as imidacloprid.
So, why I am not recommending this substance?
Eugenol is easily evaporated and is sensitive to sunlight exposure, thus Eugenol is not recommended for outdoor usage because it only affects a few hours after spraying. This causes the protection of the targeted areas against re-infestations (residual effect) is virtually inexistent. In other words, this eugenol-based spray is not worth the money.
Diazinon is known as insecticide and pesticide and has been used by veterinarians for some ectoparasite cases. Diazinon is also approved effective for fleas and ticks in the yard. I personally don’t recommend this substance since there was a case report about 2 Indonesia girls who died caused by diazinon intoxication in 2017.
Diazinons are broad-spectrum drugs, meaning they effective against scab, mange mites, flies, fleas, lice, blowfly strikes, and insects in general. Diazinons are also known as organophosphate, meaning they are “hard drugs” or potential harm for mammals, birds, and fishes’ health.
Furthermore, diazinon products have been withdrawn or strongly restricted in several countries in the last years. This is because many people, including the Government, had already noticed the hazards it has caused.
Those are the lists that can be a guidance for you to choose a flea and tick yard treatments. As an addition, the best thing to do when picking insecticidal drugs is to read and search for information about the composition of the substances before buying. secondly, use the drug as prescribed by the product or a professional.