Tick season is upon us and this is unfortunately going to be one of the worst years in terms of population yet. As the prevalence increases it can seem near impossible to protect yourself from these tiny insects. It used to be the case that avoiding brushy areas of the woods was enough, however this is no longer true. Ticks are now becoming common to find even in well-manicured yards. So what can we do to protect ourselves? Below is a list of precautions that should be taken to help protect your home and surrounding area.
- Keep your yard well manicured. Ticks are often carried on and infected by squirrels, mice, chipmunks and other small animals. These animals like to go to areas where they can hide such as dense layers of leaves, woodpiles, and mounds of yard waste. Keeping your yard free from such buildup will help to keep the small critter population down, thus lowering the tick count.
Ticks also like to be kept nice and warm under things such as low-lying shrubs or high grasses. Mowing the lawn regularly and keeping branches off the ground are additional protective ways to care for your yard.
- Just as small animals like things like woodpiles for protection, they also love rock walls. While they are beautiful and a staple here in New England, they do increase the chances of having more ticks nearby. Depending on how aggressively you want to control the population, you can consider taking down rock walls close to your home.
- Another way to deter small animals from carrying ticks onto your yard from the surrounding woods is to create a protective barrier using wood chips around the parameter of your lawn. Small animals do not like to cross over woodchips, so this creates a safe zone and will help keep them from coming close to your house. The woodchip layer should be at least 3 feet wide and 3 inches deep for the best results. These barriers can also be placed around areas where children play such as a swing set. It is best to keep play areas away from the wooded regions of your yard as much as possible.
- Barberry is an invasive species that is commonly used as an ornamental shrub and is also heavily populated in certain wooded areas. Having this plant around increases the tick population of an area ten fold! This is a huge number when we are already dealing with over population. Barberry should be removed from your yard and from your surrounding woods.
- Pets can pick up ticks and carry them into your home so they should be kept out of the wooded areas. It is best to keep them in areas of the yard that are well manicured. In either case it is recommended to check your pets before letting them come into the house so any ticks can be removed.
We hope these tips are helpful. Any measures you can take to reduce tick-attracting habitats will be beneficial. We hope you and your family have a fun and safe summer!