JoAnna Lou
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New Tick Prevention Developed
Fungus-derived pesticide promises to safely ward off ticks

Ticks drive me crazy. I love hiking with my dogs, but I hate the ticks that come with our fun outings. Fortunately, I don't have a problem in my backyard, but I have many friends who are forced to use chemicals to keep the pesky bugs away from their pets and kids.

So I was excited to learn that scientists in Connecticut have been developing a pesticide that uses a strain of fungus deadly to ticks. Best of all, this natural treatment promises to be safe for pets and beneficial critters, like bees and earthworms.

Synthetic pesticides, which have an 85 to 100 percent success rate, are still more effective than the fungus-based pesticide, which is about 74 percent effective. However, it's great to have an organic option that works well. The product will be commercially available in 2014 under the name Tick-Ex.

Apparently tick research is severely underfunded, so it's great to see safer prevention options developed and brought to market. I really hope that one day we'll have an effective organic alternative to topical tick prevention treatments.

What strategies to you use to keep the ticks from taking over your backyard?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by chadmiller/flickr.

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Submitted by Rae | March 18 2012 |

I work at a natural pet supply store that carries a product called diatomaceous earth. I have used this personally and find it a wonderful alternative to chemical pesticides like Roundup which can cause seizures if ingested. DE is a powder that comes in food grade versions that are often used to keep bugs out of horse feed. It is considered a mechanical pesticide that gets into the exoskeleton of a bug and clogs it so that when the bug moves, its skeleton breaks. Sounds gruesome, but it is totally effective. Hope this helps!

Submitted by jan verhulst | March 19 2013 |

Thanks, sounds like a really good idea. I live in Tucson with my 3 dogs and it apparently never gets cold enough to kill them, and I don't want to use pesticides.

Submitted by Danielle | March 19 2012 |

Chickens! We have a 5 acre farm with about 25 chickens free ranging and what should be a tick haven is anything but. We've trained the dogs to mind their "chicken chasing" manners for the two species to co-exsist.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | March 19 2012 |

Danielle, That is so cool. Thanks for the heads-up.

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