The list of tick-borne illnesses unfortunately keeps growing. That’s why tick control is such an important part of the services we offer.
Lyme Disease is the most commonly spread, with about 30,000 cases per year, although the CDC – Center for Disease Control — has estimated that the true number could actually be 10 times higher!
While Lyme is definitely something you want to be aware of and know how to prevent, there are plenty other tick-borne diseases and illnesses to know about too.
Tick Control Can Keep You Safe
The CDC counts around 14 illnesses linked to specific U.S. tick species. But don’t fret! We know becoming the next expert in tick-borne illnesses probably isn’t very realistic! Plus, simply knowing about those tick-borne illnesses won’t necessarily teach you about prevention strategies and how you can keep them from getting onto you, your loved ones and your property.
Prevention is Key to Tick Control
One of the most common places where a tick can latch onto you, your kids, friends, neighbors or pets, is on your own property. So, wouldn’t it make sense to know how you can prevent them from getting onto your property in the first place? And, if reducing ticks from your property also meant reducing health risks to you and your loved ones, well, surely you would do it, right?
Target ticks by where they live! Most ticks live in the woods, or grassy areas as well as underbrush and heavily leafy spots where they are better sustained by the humidity levels. They also do not fly, jump, or drop from above as many believe.
Around 70% of ticks on residential lawns are found within 9 feet of the “forest’s edge”, or woodsy area. Ticks will dry up in the sun and are normally not found within sunny areas on the lawn.
Analyze Your Property for Tick Control
● Is your home surrounded by woods?
● Is your yard more woods than lawn, or vice versa?
● Do tree branches from the woods overhang onto your yard, driveway or walkways?
● Do you or your loved ones use areas of your yard that are in or next to the woods?
● Are children’s play areas or play equipment close to the woods or underbrush?
● Is your mailbox next to a wooded area or stone wall?
● Are bird feeders or bird baths close to your home or outdoor lounge areas?
● Do you use pachysandra or other ground covers near your home, walkways or recreational areas?
● Do you have unkempt stone wall?
● Is your firewood pile located adjacent to your home?
● Are deer and other wildlife eating your flowers, trees and shrubs?
Create tick-safe zones!
After you’ve analyzed your property, adjust accordingly!
→ Allow the sun to shine in on areas of your lawn or backyard
→ Locate mailbox, shed(s), outdoor furniture, recreational areas, and children’s play equipment in the sun and away from the woods.
→ Trim tree branches and clear away brush, weeds, and leaf build up from walkways near wooded or shady areas.
→ Limit the use of ground cover, like pachysandra, to areas of the yard that are not used.
→ Consider using wood chips or gravel in shady areas in your safe zone.
→ Keep your grass cut as short as possible.
Focus on the Edge
When ticks find their way onto your lawn, they’ll most likely be in the transition area where the lawn meets your woods – this should be the outer perimeter to your tick safe zone.
To help make this outer perimeter less tick friendly, increase the light and reduce dampness. You can do this by trimming the tree branches that may overhang along the perimeter of the zone to let more light in. Also, cut out low brush and dispose of leaf litter each year.
A well defined border along the edge of the woods or brush area provides less tick habitat, and less opportunity for contact between people and ticks.
Install a Barrier
Create a wood chip, mulch or gravel barrier where you lawn meets the woods so you can clearly define the outer perimeter of your tick safe zone. One of these barrier options makes it more difficult for ticks to migrate onto your lawn from the woods. You should make this barrier about 3 feet wide and is best with a product that can be kept dry – like treated wood chips.
Don’t Attract Wildlife
Ticks feed on many animals like deer, mice and birds. These animals are known for infecting deer ticks with Lyme disease.
To help discourage wildlife of all shapes from getting onto your property, or onto your “tick safe zone”, reduce their habitat and food source! Seal foundation cracks – no hole is ever to small for mice to inch their way in. Screen areas under porches or decks. Be sure to place woodpiles away from your home and consider moving any bird baths or bird feeders off of your tick safe zone.
Because deer play a large role in a tick’s reproductive cycle, don’t attract them to your tick-safe zones! You can plant flowers or shrubs they don’t like to eat – although no plant is completely deer resistant, some plants are definitely more susceptible than others. You can always check with your local garden center for more information.
Don’t rely on deer fencing either. Studies actually show that deer fencing does not reduce tick numbers significantly unless the deer are fenced out of any area of at least 15-18 acres (or more). Plus, ticks can travel through fencing hitched onto those other small animals, so don’t count on it as your #1 defense approach.
Tick Control is Better Left to the Pros
A targeted tick reduction program is often times one of the most effective ways to help reduce ticks from getting onto your property, especially when combined with “tick safe zone” practices.
Treating your home or property with pesticides shouldn’t be a “do-it-yourself” project, and don’t take this the wrong way, but most homeowners don’t always know how to use them safely and effectively – not to mention, store bought pesticides from a local garden center or hardware store aren’t always effective either.
Did you know general spraying is often non-targeted and ineffective, putting pest products where they shouldn’t be? That’s not in your best interests, is it?
Responsible pest control is a delicate balance of putting the least amount of product, where it most needs to be, at the right time.
It also means employing a proven, systematic program, and TermiGuard Services & Fenwick has one!
So, if you’d like to enjoy your outdoor living space again, gain some peace-of-mind, and reduce ticks from your property – along with the health risks associated with them – in order to protect your loved ones, call us today for your FREE, no-obligation tick control consultation.