As summer quickly approaches, mosquitoes are not the only threat living in your yard. In fact, your yard may just be a tick(ing) time bomb. Not only are ticks a nuisance, but they can carry harmful diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Tick populations are most active between the months of April and October when humidity is at its highest. Since ticks are incapable of drinking water, they rely on the moisture in the air to stay hydrated. To thrive in their habitat, ticks favor warm, wet climates and shady areas.
Ticks prefer wooded areas and coverage from vegetation, such as tall grasses and overgrown plants. A 2008 study performed for the National Reference Laboratory for Tick-borne Diseases showed how climate change has affected the increase of ticks and tick-borne disease. With rising temperatures, humidity and rainfall levels, many regions of the country are becoming a target for tick infestation.
The Dangers of Tick Bites
What makes ticks so dangerous? For starters, they don’t show favoritism. Ticks can be found on both humans and animals. In order to reproduce, ticks need a host to feed on. Ticks can sense their prey through vibrations, heat and body odor. On a human, a tick can feed for up to 10 days.
The biggest danger of ticks lies in the diseases they can pass on to their hosts. If a tick is carrying an infectious disease, the disease can be easily transmitted to the person as the tick feeds. Deer ticks, or blacklegged ticks, are the primary carriers of Lyme disease. These blood-sucking pests are found everywhere from central United States to the East Coast. Typically, Lyme disease is transmitted through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs, but adult ticks can also transmit the disease.
While most tick bites won't cause major issues, it has been shown that lone star tick bites can cause people to become allergic to red meat. The only way to prevent diseases is through tick control. There are specific steps you can take to control ticks, kill ticks and prevent tick-borne diseases.
How to Get Rid of Ticks in Yard
1. Use a natural insecticide
The best way to create a tick-free yard is through an insecticide. Natural insecticides made with essential oils instead of synthetic chemicals are safer for people, pets and the environment. Some essential oils, such as neem oil, have been proven to be effective tick repellents. Cedarwood essential oil is another powerful oil despised by ticks. If sprayed on contact, it will actually kill ticks. The smell will continue deterring ticks for weeks.
What's great about cedarwood oil is that it is safe for both humans and pets. It can be sprayed safely on clothing and directly on skin. Use an insecticide with cedarwood oil as a main ingredient, like Southland Organics' Defender, so you can feel confident your family will be safe from disease-carrying ticks.
Defender allows you to harness the effectiveness of a pesticide without risking the health of you, your family, your pests or the environment—including pollinators! Since Defender is all-natural, there's no need to hire a licensed pest control company to spray.
2. Keep a groomed lawn
Ticks hate a well-kept and clean lawn. Since ticks like to hide in tall grasses and low coverage vegetation, they can’t stand mowed grass and trimmed bushes. Both create more direct sunlight and less shade for them to hide. To prevent ticks, mow your grass regularly and try to keep your entire yard free from leaf litter and shaded, moist areas.
3. Wear protective clothing
If you're in an area where tall grass and woods are inevitable, make sure to wear protective clothing. Clothing items like long sleeved shirts, hats, long pants and boots can help prevent tick bites.
4. Use a tick repellent
If you're going outside, make sure to use a tick repellent for you and your pets. If you're worried about using synthetic chemicals, look for natural products that contain garlic oil, cedar oil, peppermint, thyme, rosemary or lemongrass, like our SO Essentials All-Natural Insect Repellent.
You can also try Tick Tubes for added protection in your yard. Tick Tubes contain cotton balls soaked with an active ingredient called permethrin, which kills ticks but is safe for mammals. Mice will use the cotton for their nests and expose any ticks to permethrin. It is not, however, recommended to make your own tick tubes. Making your own can be dangerous to you and wildlife.
5. Set up a physical barrier
If you're surrounded by woods and tall grass, set up a dry area around the perimeter. You can do this by using wood chips. This will restrict tick migration, helping keep ticks from moving closer to your outdoor living spaces. Make sure to keep playgrounds and patios away from the edge of your yard where ticks are more prevalent.
Wild animals can also be a cause for tick infestations. Since ticks are not particular to their hosts, animals like deer can bring these unwanted insects into your yard. Building a fence will help discourage unwelcome animals that could carry ticks.
If you've recently been in an area where ticks were likely present, make sure to do a thorough tick check. Tick checks cover from your ankles to the top of your head. If you happen to find a tick on you or your pets, use fine pointed tweezers to effectively remove the tick. Apple cider vinegar can also help free a tick from the skin.
To keep your family and pets safe this summer, take these steps to get rid of ticks in your yard!
If you have any questions for us about tick control or our tick control product Defender, you can reach us at 800-608-3755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.