Dr. Young’s personal tick mitigation plan
I love my backyard like many New Englanders, but with lots of rock walls, ground cover and butting up against a forest, this time of year, I begin to fear it! Why? Ticks! Here’s how I reclaimed the enjoyment of my backyard
1. Remove Barberry!
Barberry has been identified as an invasive plant that not only puts prickers on our trails through the woods, but also helps ticks survive the New England winter. Our very own University of Connecticut has done some interesting research this invasive plant promoting ticks.
“When we measure the presence of ticks carrying the Lyme spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi) we find 120 infected ticks where Barberry is not contained, 40 ticks per acre where Barberry is contained, and only 10 infected ticks where there is no Barberry.” – Researcher Scott Williams
2. Remove brush
Remove brush along perimeter and lay down woodchips—3 feet deep. This dramatically restricts ticks from migrating on their own into your yard!
3. Permethrin mouse beds
Permethrin is harmless to rodents, but deadly to ticks. So soak cottons balls in permethrin and put them in tubes (PVS or toilet paper rolls) and place them around the yard for mice to use in their nests. Did you know rodents are a main vector for ticks? Help make their homes tick free!
4. Permethrin clothing and all natural bug spray
Treating hats, socks (cut socks that are turned into leggings on my toddler) and headbands with tick deterring spray can keep them from getting on you! Then we apply an essential oil based all natural bug spray.
5. Tick checks
Every time we come in from outside. The kids strip down and change, put their clothes in the washer (or dryer- 20 minutes on high) and get checked for bugs. Catch them before they bite!
6. Find a tick? Test it!
If you find a tick that has bitten there are a lot of good resources to have your tick tested for the major tick born diseases. Here are two useful ones:
7. Support your immune system and watch for symptoms.
A healthy lifestyle and paying attention to symptoms are also important. Not everyone gets a rash. The symptoms of tick born diseases can be vast- from air hunger to night sweats. Blood tests won’t show anything the first 6 weeks, if you are concerned, don’t ignore it. Talk to your doctor right away!