While ticks are commonly mistaken for insects, these blood-suckers are actually arachnids with four pairs of legs as adults. Ticks do not have antennae and fall into two general groups: hard ticks and soft ticks. Hard ticks, such as those often found on dogs, feature a hard shield behind their mouth and resemble a flat shell before feeding. Soft ticks feature no hard shell and have a large raisin shape. There are numerous tick species, including deer ticks, brown dog ticks, winter ticks and Lone Star ticks, though most are about 1/8 inch in size and are reddish-brown in color. Ticks are found in wooded areas and tall grasses where they wait for animal hosts to pass by and latch onto for feeding. Ticks cannot fly or jump.
Numerous essential oils work as natural insect repellents for many insects including fleas and mosquitoes, as well as ticks. Citronella is one natural oil that repels ticks and, when combined with cedarwood oil, also repels mosquitoes. Lemongrass is another essential oil repulsive to ticks as is lavender and eucalyptus essential oils. Fill a pint-sized spray bottle with water and 10 to 20 drops of one essential oil or essential oil combination. Sprays with lavender essential oil will also help promote relaxation and sleep in addition to keeping ticks away.
Browse pet stores and online options for natural commercial flea and tick sprays, such as the Flea and Tick Home Spray from Vet's Best, which combines ingredients such as peppermint oil and clove extract to keep flea and ticks as well as their eggs out of your home by killing them upon contact. The natural flea and tick spray from Natural Chemistry is another option that kills on contact with active ingredients including cinnamon oil, clove oil and cedarwood oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Combine 1/4 cup of raw, organic apple cider vinegar for every cup of water used to make another safe tick spray for pillows and comforters. A tablespoon of the stuff can also be added to pets' water dishes to help keep ticks off of them as well, or try bathing your pet regularly and rinsing it with diluted apple cider vinegar. Use 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar per pint of water used.