Paradise is not without its ticks

In May last year we moved from suburbia to a cottage on a horse farm. With the open landscape, horses and pairing falcons included in the bargain were ticks. We were finding ticks on the dogs at an alarming rate, despite being assured by the previous tenant that the ticks were only a problem when walking in the veld. I had seen in the past that reputable spot on chemical treatments did not work in minimising ticks and there have been so many reports in the US on the danger of spot on treatments that I was reluctant to go down that road. Many hours of research on the internet and I discovered Diatomaceous earth. A 100 percent natural work of wonder which almost seems too good to be true. I won’t bore you with the details so here is a website

With the Diatomaceous earth, we also looked at alternatives to repel ticks as Diatomaceous earth does not repel ticks. We tried garlic and brewers yeast power balls ( minced gizzards, rolled in olive oil and stuffed with garlic and brewers yeast) Cedar oil, Cedar oil combined with Almond Oil. We tested the oils in glass jars and tried the different strengths and quantity on ticks. The cedar oil with the almond oil worked really well in killing the ticks. The problem is getting that on the dogs and of course it still relies on the tick moving around on the dog. To aid the war campaign on ticks,we added some chickens and I am still trying to recruit some guinea fowl as it has been proven that guinea fowl can lower a tick population.

We also tested the Diatomaceous earth on the ticks. We found that on the small ticks, the diatomaceous earth kills them within 24 hrs. The bigger fat ticks took longer dependent on how much they moved. Without diatomaceous earth, the ticks big and small are still kicking and wasting space after two weeks( in the same glass jar) so we knew the ticks weren’t dying of lack of air. While testing, we continue to monitor the dogs and every night after the evening meal, it was de-ticking time. We found that on Duma the Diatomaceous earth cleared all fleas and that he had less ticks on him than on Joshka and Themba. The difference between Duma and the other two is the length of their hair. The added benefit is that Diatomaceous earth kills internal parasites. Duma always cleans himself after his meal by licking his chest and front legs. So I know there will be no adverse effects and it will in fact do more good.

In summary what we have found in a heavily infested tick area.
On long hair dogs, diatomaceous earth is not as effective. Once we shaved the dogs in summer, the diatomaceous earth worked well.
As with any product that is not chemical, diatomaceous earth needs to be applied once a week.
We dust their beds and we also dust in the areas where they like to lie down, like in front of the gate, or under the tree.
Diatomaceous earth is very effective on fleas. With the Spot on Treatment we would check Duma a month after application and the fleas would be back. But with Diatomaceous earth his coat remains clear of flea faeces.

I am still exploring different options and I am looking for a natural product that kills on contact. So watch this space. I will update you with my findings.

"Tick Killer"