There is no gentle way to say this, but synthetic tick sprays are toxic and create a false sense of security. They kill pollinators (butterflies!), too. You know what? They do not kill all ticks either, as new ticks will simply wander into the area in short order.
The truth about tick sprays
There is no way to completely rid an outdoor area of ticks. For a pesticide to work, it must come in with or be consumed by the pest. Ticks are likely to spend most of their lives in sheltered areas where pesticides will not reach them.
According to one study on synthetic sprays randomized control study over of two years, pesticides reduce the number of ticks, but not the number of encounters or incidences of tick-borne illness. This study suggests the need for better use of repellents and least toxic management strategies for homeowners and public recreational areas.
Synthetic tick sprays–or pyrethroids–are not a least toxic option. Like the widely used permethrin, these sprays interfere with nerve functioning. They bind tightly to soil and household dust. They are highly toxic to bees, fish and aquatic organisms. Some studies also suggest that the chemicals in tick sprays can interfere with the hormones in our bodies.
Organic sprays are a non-toxic option, but they also kill beneficial bugs. If applied early in the morning or at the end of the day, there is less damage to our pollinator friends (think butterflies!).
The most environmentally friendly and your best option is to apply tick repellent to yourself, your kids, and your pets. Spray yourself–not your entire property.
We keep one in the truck at Heidelberg Farms and always cover our legs and ankles before we head out. With some patience and some knowledge, we can make a positive impact on our environment.
Have questions? Call us at (603) 501–9919.