Blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are both a nuisance and a health risk due to their tendency to carry Lyme disease. Every homeowner should take measures to be protected from this risk in the comfort of their own yard. Here are three tips for keeping your yard as tick-free as possible.
Eliminate Tick Habitats in Your Yard
The less welcoming that your yard is to ticks, the more difficult it will be for them to sustain themselves in your yard. There are many ways that you can make your yard less attractive to ticks without sacrificing its appearance. In fact, maintaining a tidy yard is the first step toward effective tick control.
Ticks like to hide in areas that provide ample protection from the sun near ground level. Removing leaf litter and cutting tall grasses and shrubs will eliminate shade that ticks need for comfortable habitation. Woodpiles should be neatly stacked so they cover as little ground area as possible, and they should be stored at the edge of your lawn in a low-traffic area to protect family members from contact with ticks.
The parts of your yard that are used most often should get the most attention. Attempt to create tick-free zones by trimming back any overhanging limbs to expose the ground to direct sunlight. Hardscaping, the use of brick, paving stones, gravel, and other solid materials, will also eliminate tick environments in the most-used parts of your yard.
Use Tick-Effective Pesticides
Pesticides that are effective against ticks are known as acaricides, named after the taxon of arachnids that ticks belong to. Consumer acaricides are available in the form of a sprayable chemical as well as small granules that you place around the edges of your property. If you have children or pets that are frequently in your yard, you should consider looking for an organic acaricide that poses a lower risk of exposure.
Even if you are using an organic acaricide, it is recommended that you move doghouses and swing sets away from the area where you are using the pesticide. Follow the instructions on the product that you use carefully, and keep children and pets away from the treated area for two to three hours if you are using a sprayable acaricide. In most cases, you will simply spray or lay granules along the border between your yard and the treeline around it.
Discourage Host Animals
In most cases, ticks find their way into your yard when they are carried there by host animals. Deer are the most common culprit, and fortunately deer are easy to keep out if you install a deer fence around the perimeter of your yard. While an electric fence is one effective option, many families avoid these fences for keeping out unwanted host animals to protect children and pets in their yard. Instead, many homeowners choose to use deer-repellent spray in combination with a nonlethal fence.
Steel-mesh vertical fences are a good alternative to electric fencing for keeping deer out of your yard. These fences are typically close to 8 feet in height, tall enough to discourage deer from jumping over them in most cases.
For even better deer deterrence, you can consider an angled steel-mesh fence. These fences lean away from your yard at a 45-degree angle, creating a barrier that deer cannot clear even if they do attempt to jump. However, these fences take up much more space around the edge of your yard than a standard vertical fence.
Keeping ticks out of your yard will require a continuous effort to eliminate tick habitats, kill any ticks that are present, and deter host animals from entering your property. Use these tips to keep your family safe from tick bites and the health risk that comes with them. For information about professional tick control, contact a representative from a company like Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services.