Tick Habitats & Barriers
TO PROTECT YOUR YARD FROM TICKS THIS FALL & BEYOND
Summer is officially over, no more camping, pool parties, cookouts ...and no more ticks and mosquitoes biting either, right?? It's true--summertime is the “tickiest” time of the year, especially in the eastern United States. But just because you haven't seen many (or any) ticks lately, doesn't mean that your risk for catching Lyme disease or some other nasty tick-transmitted germ is over for the year. In fact, it's just about to ramp up a few notches.
DID YOU KNOW THAT OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER ARE PEAK ADULT BLACKLEGGED TICK SEASON
It may surprise you to learn that by not knowing that October and November are the months of peak adult blacklegged (deer) tick activity, you likely have let down your guard against ticks, and may have stopped being as dilligent as you were were in the summer months. Many people assume that ticks are not a significant threat in the fall and winter and so they stop monthly treatments for their property.That puts you at a much greater risk for Lyme disease.
As the Director of the TickEncounter Resource Center (TERC) at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Mather (a.k.a. "The Tick Guy") has funneled his passion for area-wide tick control strategies, tick-bite protection, and tick-borne disease prevention into the center by getting the public more involved in current research and tick education.
In an interview he had with the blog Life With Dogs he answered the following question:
"So many people associate ticks with summer and with Deer Ticks, Is this incorrect or is there a danger year round?"
Dr. Mather responded by saying: “...on the East Coast, things are about to heat up with the adult ticks, especially as we get into October and November…Once there is snow and freezing it slows them down on the East Coast though they are still a risk, especially on the warmer winter days…”
All to often we forget, yes even those of us who work in the Landscaping insdustry that Ticks are not just a "summer problem". They are year round with seasonal fluctuations. Just this week someone here at Swazy found several ticks on their son one of which had latched on quite nicely... This urged us to come up with our list of the
11 Ways to Create a Tick-Safe Zone Through Landscaping
1: Mow the lawn and keep leaves raked
Mow it right. Mowing your lawn to the proper height reduces flea and tick hang-outs. Both of these insects hide in longer grass. Not mowing grass too short also helps attract spiders and ants, two major flea predators.
2: Remove Brush...
Remove brush, tall grasses, plants and leaf litter around your around homes and at the edge of lawns, aiming for at least a 6-inch-wide clean area. This eliminates hiding places for ticks.
***Now is the time to perform Brush Removal***
3: Avoid Overwatering
Ticks prefer moist environments. An overwatered or poorly draining lawn can extend an invitation to these insects. Ensure you’re watering your lawn properly. If you have a drainage issue, aerating may help.
4: Keep Your Yard Clean
The average property includes a lawn which is a prime breeding ground for ticks especially as it gets overgrown. Add to this the inescapable annual deposit of leaves as winter approaches which fall from deciduous trees hovering overhead on many of some of the most regal landscapes in our area. This combination of messy debris requires diligent cleanup by you or someone you hire to keep the dangerous tick population to a minimum.
5: Stack Wood
Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
6: Keep Away From The Edges
Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
7: Check Pet Hang-Outs.
Flea and tick larvae remain within 50 feet of your pet’s favorite resting areas. Clean and treat around any cool, shady spots your pet favors, such as spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs or along fence lines.
8: Limit Wildlife
it’s warm-blooded, it’s ferrying a few blood-sucking insects. If critters visit regularly, consider ways to reduce your yard’s appeal. Never allow wildlife to set up housekeeping under sheds or decks on your property. Discourage deer, which may carry ticks into your yard while browsing on your flowering plants, by installing deer fencing and spraying the area with repellent (for yards of 15 acres or more).
***Now is the time to install Deer Fencing and treating your yard with Deer Repellent.***
9: Make a Mulch or Crushed Stone "Moat"
Many tick varieties favor the dense cover of woodlands over open lawn. That makes any wooded areas adjacent to your property a potential hotbed for ticks.
Place a 3-ft wide barrier of mulch or crushed stone between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas. Place either of these options along the edges of your yard to form a barrier.
Adding a 3-foot-wide barrier of mulch or crushed stone around the perimeter of your yard does double duty. First, it creates a physical barrier that’s dry and sometimes hot, something ticks can’t tolerate. Second, it serves as a visual reminder to anyone in your household to be especially careful once they step past the perimeter.
***Now is the time to add mulch or crushed stone to your landscape for a barrier.***
10: Welcome Predators
Make your landscape appealing to flea and tick predators by keeping grass mowed to the right height and incorporating native plants and ground covers. Birds eat these insects, but if you’re hanging bird feeders, balance the benefit of attracting birds against the risk of luring squirrels or other flea- and tick-carrying rodents that feast on spilled seed.
11: Let The Sun Shine
Both ticks and fleas like shady, moist areas. Prune trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight to enter your landscape.
***Fall & Winter are the perfect time for pruning you beloved trees and shrubs***
More Tips and A Handy Tip & An Interactice Tool to help stay TickSafe in your yard all year long from the TIckEncounter Resource Center
Contacting a professional landscape company, like Swazy & Alexander Landscaping and Green Sphere Organic Lawn Care can provide you with a useful plan to minimize the prevalence of ticks on your property.