How To Naturally Repel Ticks And Fleas For Humans And Pets

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How To Naturally Repel Ticks And Fleas For Humans And Pets
How To Naturally Repel Ticks And Fleas For Humans And Pets. Graphic © Photo sources – see foot of article

Fleas and ticks are found throughout much of the world. They can be a year-long concern in warm areas. These pests thrive in warm, humid environments and can pose health concerns for humans and their pets.

What kind of ticks can be found where you reside? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a map [1] showing the highest concentration of tick species that bite humans. The most common include the American dog tick which is found east of the Rocky Mountains, the brown dog tick which is found in every state in the country, and the deer tick which is found in upper Midwestern, Southeastern, and mid-Atlantic states. Other notorious species include the lone star tick and the black-legged tick.

The health risks posed by ticks for people and pets should not be underestimated. One of the diseases that can result from tick bites is Lyme disease [2] which can infect your joints, bloodstream, and your heart.

There are many retail products labeled as tick repellents. However, most of them are high-priced and are full of strange chemicals that could have potentially harmful side effects. So if you are cautious about these products, here are natural ingredients and remedies to repel fleas and ticks on dogs and humans:

1. Lavender

Lavender oil has been proven as a tick deterrent and a natural way to prevent ticks from hatching. A 2007 study conducted in South Africa revealed that the essential oil of lavender [3] was as effective as tick repellent when compared to artificial DEET sprays.

2. Lemongrass

Lemongrass oil aka citronella is widely regarded as an effective repellent for warding off fleas and ticks. [4]

3. Peppermint

An experiment done by the website [5] noted that peppermint oil killed 40 percent of ticks and made the other half confused when placed on a plate sprayed with the oil. However, there is no peppermint-specific study yet on the efficacy of peppermint in killing the parasites.

4. Lemon

Lemon oil [6] extracted from the tangy fruit’s skin contains the compound limonene, which is effective against the fleas that pester cats. However this oil should NOT be added directly to pet fur. Just sprinkle the oil around the home including under cushions and pet beds.

5. Molasses Grass

A 1978 study [7] showed molasses grass exhibiting the highest tick deterrent properties among six grass species. Essential oil [8] from this grass was also effective in repelling or killing larvae of cattle tick.

6. Neem

Neem oil is another effective tick repellent for humans and dogs. The South African Journal of Animal Science [9] confirmed this repellency property when they tested neem seed extract to control infestation in cattle. Neem also has low toxicity to humans and can be applied to skin. You can use a small amount on the forearm first to test for allergy.

7. Eucalyptus

A 2004 study investigated the protection offered by lemon eucalyptus extract [10] against ticks in humans. It revealed the potential of the extract for reducing the number of tick bites and tick-borne infections.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water may discourage fleas at the outset when you notice them on your dog. This natural flea remedy is another inexpensive alternative to pricey vet medications. [11]

9. Garlic Oil

The Journal of Medical Entomology published a study [12] in April 2015 that noted the potential of garlic for the suppression of tick activity. The study highlighted the value of garlic oil as a minimal-risk option for the short-term control of ticks in the residential landscape.

10. Rosemary

Rosemary oil was one of the ingredients used by a 2010 study [13] to control the vector tick of Lyme disease. The study showed that rosemary could be used as a component of alternative approaches for tick control.

Further Reading:

How To Make A Homemade Tick Repellent Using Essential Oils

Natural Ways To Keep Fleas out Of Your Home

6 Natural Ways To Ged Rid Of Fleas On Dogs


[1] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Geographic distribution of ticks that bite humans.

[2] Lyme Disease Slideshow: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment.

[3] Mkolo MN, Magano SR. 2007. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association. Repellent effects of the essential oil of Lavendula angustifolia against adults of Hyalomma marginatum rufipes.

[4] Dr. Judy Morgan. 2016. Fox News Health. 5 natural solutions for flea and tick prevention.

[5] Kevin Roberts. 2015. Tick Talk: Do All-Natural DIY Tick Repellents Really Work?

[6] Homemade Lemon Spray for Flea Control.

[7] Thompson KC et. al. 1978. Tropical Animal Health and Production. Anti-tick grasses as the basis for developing practical tropical tick control packages.

[8] Prates HT et. al. 1998. Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society. Identification of Some Chemical Components of the Essential Oil from Molasses Grass (Melinis minutiflora Beauv.) and their Activity Against Cattle-Tick (Boophilus microplus).

[9] Webb EC, David M. 2002. South African Journal of Animal Sciences. The efficacy of neem seed extract (Azadirachta indica) to control tick infestation in Tswana, Simmentaler and Brahman cattle.

[10] Gardulf A et. al. 2004. Journal of Medical Entomology. A prospective cross-over field trial shows protection of lemon eucalyptus extract against tick bites.

[11] Elizabeth Xu. Apple Cider Vinegar: A Natural Flea Preventative.

[12] Bharadwaj Anuja et. al. 2015. Journal of Medical Entomology. Effectiveness of Garlic for the Control of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) on Residential Properties in Western Connecticut.

[13] Rand PW et. al. 2010. Journal of Medical Entomology. Trial of a minimal-risk botanical compound to control the vector tick of Lyme disease.

Infographic photo sources:

Flea – (CC)
Tick – Pixabay (PD)
Lavender – (CC)

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By Mike Westerdal CPT

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