Tick Dragging – Check Your Yard for Ticks

by Christina Coruth

Is your yard infested with ticks? The tick drag and the tick flag are just the tools you need to answer that question. With a few inexpensive items, you can make your own tick drag and tick flag in a snap. Using them is as easy as walking through your yard. When you’ve finished, not only will you know how great or small a tick problem exists in your yard, but you will have also reduced the tick population in the process.

Check lawns and other flat areas with a tick drag. Check bushes and shrubs with a tick flag. You will need the same materials to construct each of these, except as noted.

How To Make A Tick Drag – Materials

1. A wooden stick, dowel or pole – approximately three feet in length for the drag and longer for the flag.
2. A piece of heavy white flannel cloth measuring approximately three feet by at least three feet. You can go longer on one dimension if you wish.
3. A length of rope long enough to tie each end to the stick. The rope will serve as the handle to drag the cloth. Use a length that makes dragging comfortable for you. No rope is needed for the flag.
4. Curtain weights or some other method to keep the dragged edge on the ground. This is helpful, but not necessary. Do not use on the flag.

Tick Dragging in the woods to collect ticks


Tick dragging
Tick dragging, EPA / Public domain

Tick Drag Directions

Attach the cloth to the stick. Tie an end of the rope to each end of the stick. Attach weights to the end of the cloth that will drag on the ground. If you don’t have any weights, this will still work. Have a bucket of soapy water ready to kill the ticks. Slowly drag the tick drag over your lawn, clumps of leaves and any other low growing areas of your yard. As the cloth passes over them, ticks will climb on and attach themselves. If you have a very large area, check the cloth frequently. If there are a great many ticks present, remove them with tweezers, throw them in the bucket of soapy water and continue. When you finish, let the entire cloth soak in the bucket of soapy water to kill the ticks.

Tick Flag Directions

The tick flag is similar to the tick drag except that the cloth is attached to one end of the stick just as if you were making a flag. Neither the rope nor the weights are used for the flag. Pass the cloth over bushes and other high growing vegetation. You will need to make a few passes over each area. The rest of the directions are the same as for the tick drag.

Do not use the tick flag or tick drag after it has rained or after you have watered your lawn. The surfaces you check must be dry!

Before you begin, make sure that you are properly protected. Wear light-colored clothing so that you can easily spot any ticks that may be on you. Wear pants, not shorts, and a long-sleeved shirt. Tuck your pant legs into your socks and your shirt into your pants. Generally, it takes a few hours for a tick to securely attach itself. Therefore, after you have finished checking your yard, hop in the shower to wash any ticks off. Before dressing check yourself for ticks. Wash your clothes in hot soapy water.

If you find a great many ticks during your yard check, it is time to get help to reduce their numbers. There are many products on the market you can use to protect yourself and your family. Family members should check themselves a couple of times a day for ticks. Given the health risks ticks present, it is wise for everyone to check themselves daily for ticks even if the drag and the flag find only one or two ticks.