Ticks! The very mention of them is enough to make your skin crawl, and now thanks to growing populations throughout New England, they are a year-round problem.
Perhaps you’ve experienced the bite of one of these critters for yourself or know somebody that has. Maybe you’ve experienced an infestation on your property. Either way, they are a pest you’ll need to manage, not least because of the diseases they carry and transmit. In this article, we’ll take a look at the steps you can take to make your yard a tick-free zone.
Understanding the Risks
Most of us living in the Northeast understand the widespread nuisance and risks to health that ticks pose. Most prevalent of those risks is Lyme disease, a form of arthritis caused by the bacteria carried by blacklegged ticks. These particular ticks like to feed on mice, birds, deer and humans, and can be found wherever their hosts may be present.
From shrubs in the wild to the tall grass in your backyard, ticks will lay in wait for an animal or human to brush against the vegetation they inhabit. What’s more, they will latch on to whoever passes by first, whether it is a child, adult or pet. As long as there is a feed to be had, everybody is fair game!
Maintaining a Tick-Free Yard
Blacklegged ticks are most active during the spring and summer. The best protection is to prevent them from biting you at all. Here are a few tips to maintaining a tick-free yard and protecting yourself, your family and your pets.
Landscaping: Prevent deer from entering your property by installing deer fencing or planting shrubs and grasses that they find undesirable. You can also create a perimeter between your yard and any wooded areas using stones, bark or prickly shrubs. This will act as a visual reminder to anybody crossing the perimeter to check around for ticks.
Good housekeeping: Good management of your yard and removing the habitats that attract ticks will naturally reduce their numbers. Keep your grass no more than 2 inches long, cut back shrubs and plants to allow more sunlight into your yard and remove any leaf litter and other debris. You might also consider moving your yard furniture away from any wooded areas.
Using pesticides: Another preventative method you can use in the fight against ticks is the use of pesticides. You might not be able to stop mice from entering your property, but you can give them something to take back with them that kills the ticks in their fur and living in their nests. Biodegradable tick tubes are available that contain cotton impregnated with permathrin (a common insecticide). The mice bring back this cotton to use as bedding in their nests, controlling the tick population in the process.
Tick Management Plan
At ArborTech, we offer an integrated Tick Management Plan tailored to the specifics of your yard and landscape and designed to create tick-safe zones around your property. Give us a call at (413) 525-0060 or contact us here.