How To Make Your Own Tick Tubes

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How To Make Your Own Tick Tubes

How To Make Your Own Tick Tubes
How To Make Your Own Tick Tubes

With the short cold nights of winter behind us and summer quickly approaching many of us are looking forward to getting out  in the garden.

But with the beginning of a new year comes yet another cycle of potential danger from our little and not so friendly nuances the Tick.

There are a number of different sub-species of tick however the most common type is the blacklegged tick (also known as the deer tick) these pests can transmit a host of unwanted diseases including Lyme disease.

To understand when the best time to start your defences against any unwanted bites or potential diseases means knowing when these pests are most active. (Know your enemy!)

The tick has a four stage life cycle that will take roughly two years to complete. This cycle begins in the spring where the adult tick breeds while on the host, when fully engorged with blood the adult tick will drop to the ground to lay its eggs.

Once hatched a larvae will wait on the ground until a small mammal or bird brushes up against it.

The larva then attaches itself to its host and begins feeding.  (Not all larvae are born infected unless the previous adult tick carried the disease in which case they will more than likely been a carrier as well)

Once the larvae has fed it will not seek to feed again until it has progressed to the next stage.

After feeding the larvae will drop off their hosts and transition into eight legged Nymphs by autumn where they will remain dormant during the winter and early spring.

While the next generation of larvae are being hatched the older and more recently transformed nymphs begin seeking their next host, they will wait in grass or other vegetation for a bird or mammal, once latched on the Nymphs will feed for up to five days and will increase many times from its original size which equates to roughly the size of a poppy seed before feeding.

Again if previously infected throughout the larvae stage it may then transmit the Lyme disease to its host, if not previously infected it may contract the disease if its host animal already had the disease.

Once engorged, the nymph drops off its host and will transform into adult in the vegetation.

The adults will actively seek new hosts throughout the Autumn and can wait as high up as three feet above the ground on tall grass or leaf tips to latch onto deer (its preferred host) or other larger mammals (including humans, cats, dogs, horses etc).

Peak activity for adult deer ticks occurs in late October and early November.

Less cases of Lyme disease are acquired from adult tick bites in humans because they are relatively large and attached ticks are usually found and removed before transmission occurs (more than 36 hours).

How to prevent Tick attachment and bites

So what can we do to prevent our family and pets from being infected by a parasitic tick I hear you ask!

Well firstly the best, cheapest and most environmentally friendly way would be vigilance, Keep your grass short, keep fallen vegetation/leaves clear from the ground and actively check daily for and possible ticks that could have latched onto you. Keep a clean yard to help keep numbers in check.

For personal and pet protection you can purchase insect/tick repellent which can easily be obtained from Amazon.

You could purchase tick tubes for your garden, these no spray options are tubes that work in conjunction with nature and are filled with cotton lint that is soaked in a pesticide.

How tick tubes work

Small mice that are targets for the tick larvae take the cotton lint to line their nests and in turn the treatment kills the larvae before they can move to the next stage of transition.

HOW to make your own TICK TUBES


If you’d prefer a cheaper homemade version here is a guide how you can make your own tick tubes!

What you will need:

Card tubes
Cotton balls / dryer lint
Permethrin (a type of pesticide)
(Optional) seeds to help encourage the mice

Firstly please do this outside in a well ventilated area and use full PPE (personal protective equipment)

Get a container and fill it with the Permethrin and begin dipping your cotton balls, once liberally soaked let them dry and pack them into the tubes. I’d estimate roughly 20 tubes per half acre would suffice.

You can then take them outside and leave them in areas if your garden for the mice to collect the tick killing Lint… But chose your locations wisely as mice generally won’t be out in the open so find somewhere that you think a mouse would be.

I’d personally aim to place the tubes twice a year for all year protection. Also you won’t have to clean up either because once the tubes are exhausted of material then the card will biodegrade.

Permethrin should be obtainable from any garden store or Home Depot or Amazon.


Permethrin is approved for treating clothing and is used in lice and scabies medicine for direct skin contact.

Permethrin is dangerous for animals. Please try to use all recommended PPE. DO NOT LET CHILDREN OR PETS NEAR THESE TUBES

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