What Eats Ticks?
What eats ticks? Ticks have a number of natural predators, including ants, birds, nematodes and spiders. Unfortunately, none of them exclusively feed on ticks — which means they are not effective in controlling tick populations
Birds as Tick Control
Homeowners may have wondered, do chickens eat ticks? If they attempted to use chickens or other animals to control tick populations in their yards, they would have seen disappointing results.
Birds that eat ticks do include chickens, guinea fowl and turkeys. While these birds are often promoted as an effective method for tick control, research has shown that their consumption of ticks is minimal. Guinea hens have been noted as eating more ticks than other tick predators, but they tend to roam and eat other insects, as well, making them ineffective in a concentrated area, such as your yard.
Often guinea hens and other birds will, instead, become hosts themselves. Since ticks can carry disease-causing pathogens, any mammal that becomes a host can become infected with a tick-borne disease.
Ticks like to live near their hosts for easy access to a blood meal. In nature, this includes grassy and wooded areas near water. But they can also inhabit your yard, if animals are present. Introducing birds to your yard can actually attract ticks rather than get rid of them.
How to Help Reduce Tick Populations
During the summer and warmer parts of the year, ticks become more active as they search for their next blood meals. This is when you will most likely spot ticks in your yard or on hikes, camping trips and nature outings. By following the tips below, you can help make your yard less attractive to ticks and help reduce their numbers during peak tick season.
Mow the Lawn Regularly
Ticks like to live in grassy areas and use long strands of grass to wait for their hosts to walk by. Eliminate their platform by keeping your lawn shorts.
Remove Any Leaf or Debris Piles
Ticks will often hide among leaf, wood or debris piles. Keep your yard tidy and help eliminate their hiding spots.
Remove Bird Feeders
During peak tick season — which is spring and summer — remove any objects that may attract other animals to the yard, including bird feeders. Ticks are opportunists and will wait near bird feeders for a host to latch on to.
Create a Border Around Your Yard
It is not likely that you will find ticks in the center of your yard. They will most likely live on the perimeter where your yard meets wooded or grassy areas. Create a barrier using rocks to help keep them away.
Consult a Pest Control Professional
If other pests, such as rodents, mice or squirrels, are in your yard, they could be attracting ticks. Our professionals at Terminix® can inspect your home for free and create a customized treatment plan to help get rid of ticks and their pest hosts. Contact Terminix today to schedule an appointment.