Hookworms are a dangerous parasitic worm that is harmful to pets and people. In order to stop a hookworm infestation in your yard, use the following methods:
- Use a Pyrantel-based wormer to cure pets of hookworm infection.
- Clean up pet feces in your yard.
- Spread Diatomaceous earth in areas where pets have defecated.
- Treat soil with borax/boric acid.
- Clean paved areas with salt brine or bleach.
- In the case of severe lawn infestation, remove the top 6 inches of topsoil to get rid of all hookworm larvae.
There are currently no pesticide lawn treatments that are tested and verified to treat hookworm. Because of this, treating your pets with an effective dewormer and keeping your lawn clean remain your first line of defense.
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What are Hookworms?
The hookworm is a parasitic worm that enters your pet by burrowing through the skin of the feet, or is ingested when your pet grooms itself (such as your dog licking its feet after walking on hookworm-infested ground). Once inside the body, hookworms attach to the intestinal walls, where they feed on your pet’s blood.
The eggs produced by adult hookworms are passed out through the animal’s feces, where larvae enter the soil and infect other animals and humans.
What Happens if Hookworm Goes Untreated?
Severe hookworm infection in animals causes anemia, protein deficiency, and even death. If left untreated, hookworm can kill your pet, or cause long-term damage, especially in puppies and kittens.
Additionally, hookworm in the soil can infect humans. Any person who walks barefoot on hookworm-infested ground risks hookworm larvae burrowing into their feet. Symptoms of hookworm infection in people include rash, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
If your pet is infected with hookworm, it’s essential to treat them and remove the hookworm infestation from your yard in order to keep your animals and your family safe.
7 Methods to Get Rid of Hookworms from Your Yard
Treat Pets for Hookworm
The first step in getting rid of a hookworm infestation is to kill the intestinal parasites in your pets. Do so by using a dewormer medication containing Pyrantel, such as this dewormer.
Many common dewormers protect against heartworm but will not treat hookworm. Pyrantel pamoate is the best medication for killing all species of hookworms in pets. If the wormer doesn’t have Pyrantel, it’s not likely to cure hookworm. Consult with your veterinarian on a hookworm treatment program for your pet.
Clean up Pet Feces
Hookworm eggs are passed out of an infected animal through their fecal matter. In order to stop eggs and larvae from infecting the soil in your yard, clean up your pet’s feces as quickly as possible. Although this should be done in at least 24 hours, the best option is to accompany your pet outside and pick up feces immediately, as you would when on a walk.
Keep your yard clean. Continue this cleaning regimen for 3–4 weeks after beginning hookworm treatment in pets. A pet undergoing treatment may still pass living hookworm eggs. To prevent reinfection, remain diligent about cleaning up after your dog or cat.
Spread Diatomaceous Earth
If left untreated, hookworm eggs and larvae can survive in your yard for 3–4 weeks. In order to kill larvae, spread Diatomaceous earth on areas where your pet defecates, immediately after picking up the feces.
- After picking up pet feces, dust the area with 1–2 cups of Diatomaceous Earth.
- Diatomaceous Earth will dry out hookworm eggs and larvae, killing them.
- Diatomaceous earth won’t harm grass and plants.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance made from tiny, fossilized organisms. This substance absorbs water, drying out and killing hookworm larvae. This substantially reduces the risk for hookworm reinfesting your yard.
Borax can be spread over bare dirt to kill hookworm in the soil. Use 10 pounds of borax (also called Boric Acid) to kill hookworms in the soil and reduce the risk for infection.
- Spread 10 pounds of borax per 100 square feet of bare dirt to kill hookworm in soil.
- Caution: borax will kill grass or plants. Do not use on your lawn unless you plan to reseed.
- Borax can also be used to treat gravel and rock areas of the yard.
Although Borax is a very effective parasitic worm killer, it also harms plants and grasses. If you have a severe hookworm infection in your yard, you can use Borax to kill it off, but you will have to replant your grass afterward.
A simple saltwater brine solution can be used to kill hookworm larvae on concrete, brick, or other paved surfaces. Hookworm eggs can live on these surfaces for weeks, so it’s just as important to decontaminate paved areas as it is to treat your lawn and garden.
- Dissolve 1.5 pounds of salt per gallon of boiling water.
- 1 gallon of saltwater solution can be used to treat 10 square feet of paved surface.
- Scrub the brine solution into the paved surface with a stiff broom to ensure it penetrates all cracks and seams.
- Pay close attention to runoff—salt water will kill grass and other plants.
Just remember, salt poisons plants and soil, preventing future plant growth for months. If salt water runoff from paved areas will spill into your lawn, it’s recommended to treat concrete surfaces with bleach instead of salt water.
A 50/50 mixture of bleach and water works as an effective hookworm killer for paved, tile, and patio surfaces. Although bleach runoff into your lawn will harm grass and plants, it won’t poison the soil for months to come, like salt does.
As with salt water solutions, use a stiff broom or brush to scrub the surface during application. Ensure the bleach solution penetrates all seams where hookworm eggs may be. When using bleach, wear gloves, goggles, and a mask to prevent exposure to caustic compounds and fumes.
If all else fails and no other option is successful in removing hookworm infection, the last ditch effort is to remove the top 6 inches of topsoil from your yard. This will remove all hookworm eggs and larvae from the yard.
This is an expensive option because you will then have to truck in new topsoil. This method should only be used if other attempts have failed. It is often reserved for kennels and dog parks hit by chronic hookworm infestation.
How Long Do Hookworms Live in Your Yard?
3–4 weeks is the in-soil lifespan for all types of hookworms. If they have not been able to infect a host within this time, hookworm larvae will die.
Hookworms thrive in moist, shady areas of your yard. The larvae’s lifespan drops in areas with direct sunlight. In sunny, dry portions of your yard, hookworm larvae can die with as little as 2 hours of direct sunlight.
Does Heartgard Kill Hookworms?
Standard Heartgard is not an effective treatment for hookworm. It contains Ivermectin, which treats heartworms in pets but does not control or kill hookworms.
Heartgard Plus does contain Pyrantel, which is effective against hookworm. However, Heartgard Plus contains Pyrantel only in small quantities, which may render it ineffective at killing adult worms infecting your pet. This dewormer contains twice as much Pyrantel as the large-breed formulation of Heartgard Plus, meaning it will be much more effective at killing hookworms in your dog.
Does Wondercide Kill Hookworms in Soil?
Although some tout Wondercide as a hookworm killer, there are no studies that support this claim. Because it has not been proven to kill Hookworm in your yard, Wondercide does not list hookworm among the species it kills on its label.
Wondercide and other flea and tick yard treatments are not known to be effective against hookworm. Until these claims are proven, remain wary of products that claim effectiveness without evidence.
How to Kill Hookworms in Your Yard
The best way to get rid of a hookworm infestation in your yard is to treat your pets with a strong Pyrantel-based dewormer for 3–4 weeks to kill adult hookworms in their intestinal tract. Then, clean up all pet feces in your yard immediately after your pet defecates. Continue this for 3–4 weeks, spreading diatomaceous earth on areas where your pet has defecated. This should eradicate hookworm infestation, as any larvae in the soil will die in this time period.
Kill hookworms in bare soil and gravel by spreading borax at a rate of 10 pounds per sq. ft. Use a saltwater solution or 50/50 bleach/water mix to kill hookworms in paved areas. If hookworm infestation persists, remove the top 6 inches of soil in your yard to instantly get rid of all eggs and larvae present in the soil.