Deer tick populations and other common ticks found in the wild, from the Rocky Mountain range to forests of the east coast, can increase in what seems like a blink of an eye. Without an abundance of natural predators like wild turkey and guinea fowl that consume ticks, the number of ticks born will continue to increase.
Fortunately, it is not just game birds that munch on ticks but a whole range of creatures are the enemy of ticks and friends to those looking for parasite-free yards.
Everything from bugs and insects to birds, reptiles, and other creatures all feast on and have an impact on tick numbers in your areas. One of the most common houseguests we already count on to keep our properties pest free also eats ticks.
That’s right, I am talking about spiders; read on to find out how these prolific tick hunters can be a helper on your property for tick control.
Will a Spider Eat a Tick?
Yes, in almost every case, a spider will catch and eat a tick.
Since spiders predominantly melt down the internals to drain a corpse of its liquid, big squishy ticks full of fresh blood are an excellent food source. While not the absolute best predators for tick control, spiders have the advantage of catching ticks before they spring on you by intercepting them as they climb to the height they plan to ambush you from.
As a questing tick positions itself on tree branches or in structures, as is common with rocky mountain wood ticks, a spider’s web has a good chance of intercepting ticks and similar disease-carrying insects.
Jumping spiders (wolf spiders), house spiders, and cobweb spiders are typical tick eaters, whereas spiders like black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders are not as likely to go after these pests.
These amazing animals can catch and eat small, blood-sucking, parasitic insects and other undesirable insects that make going in the yard unpleasant. Cultivating an environment where you have plenty of human harmless spiders to help you catch all the unwanted creepy crawlies is a good way to encourage spiders to eat ticks.
Animals that Eat Ticks
A variety of animals love to make ticks their next meal. Not only are ticks usually abundant as a food source and a treat for nocturnal animals that can catch them easily, but an engorged tick offers plenty of food and liquid for a hungry predator.
The number of ticks each animal eats and how successful they are at controlling the tick population varies. Find out more information about tick predators in the chart below.
|Animal||Amount of Ticks Eaten||How They Interact with Ticks|
|Spider||Few to Several||Do not actively hunt ticks, so must wait for fore one to crawl into a web which happens more or less frequently depending on the spider and ticks habitats|
|Lizards and Reptiles||Hundreds||Lizards and other small reptiles will hunt ticks but may find less than other predators due to being less frequent in highly infested tick territories|
|Birds||Thousands||Birds come into constant contact with ticks, and are an effective tick removal tool; both domestic birds like chickens and turkeys and wild birds will eat many ticks keeping your yard free of dangerous tick species|
|Opossums||Thousands||One of the fiercest natural predators of ticks, they live where ticks roam and eat ticks that crawl onto their fur; while nesting exposure to ticks is great, and during grooming and a daily tick check, these creatures indulge in massive tick consumption and represent one of the best predators for controlling ticks|
Will Spiders Reduce Tick Bites?
While harboring spiders is not everyone’s idea of an awesome all-natural, safe tick control method, it is true that more spiders around your property would reduce the number of tick bites you succumb to.
It is always important to check clothing for ticks as spiders and other predators won’t help once they have made it onto you, but common tick catchers like spiders will absolutely reduce the number of pests by catching breeding females before they lay eggs and hunting babies before they can find a host.
Small ticks like deer ticks can be hard to find, and having a creature that eats ticks living around can be a good control for ticks. Along with predators for ticks, you will want to check your clothes and hair after passing through areas where you are likely to encounter ticks.
Having pet chickens or reptiles that you can feed host ticks, the ones that tried to or have already sucked your blood, and can be a good way to get rid of the pests and satisfy an animal that eats ticks.
How to Attract Predators for Ticks?
You can invite tick predators onto your property in various ways. One thing to remember is you don’t want to accidentally create a spider infestation while trying to deal with ticks, so understanding how many ticks these predators can realistically deal with is a good start.
After that, you will want to look at ways to make sure the critters you invite to deal with your tick problem self-regulate their population and won’t become pest problems of their own.
Identify Tick Habitatats
Knowing where ticks live and how they move can help you create an effective predator defense system. Ticks usually give birth at a low point and make their way to a high spot to drop down on prey. If you allow spiders and other small insect predators to nest or build webs along routes from low to high places, then there is a good chance they will catch the ticks before they ever make it onto your skin and clothes.
Determine the Local Wildlife that Eats Ticks
Trying to find the absolute best tick predator and shipping them to your property is not going to be very effective or sustainable long term. Understanding the local fauna and using what already lives in your yard for tick population management is always best.
Chances are you have bug predators, fowl predators, and other creatures already going after your current tick problem.
Create a Welcoming Environment for the Ticks Predators
Once you know what predators live nearby, you can do some research into what they like. Often these creatures will have just a few basic needs, and if these are met in close proximity, they can dedicate most of their time to eating ticks.
Things to consider are warmth, breeding requirements, and a water source. If you provide all of these, then chances are your predator population will repay you with a swift eradication of your pest problems.
Create an Unwelcome Environment for Ticks
As you work to implement property-wide tick control, you can also take steps to reduce the tick population by eliminating some common habitats. If it doesn’t disturb other wildlife, you can remove brush, trim trees, and keep the grass short to make it harder for ticks to survive.
This, combined with tick predators, should prevent tick infestations. When removing tick habitat, make sure to keep places for spiders to survive so they can aid you in your solution for ticks.