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. Ticks can be just as dangerous as mosquitoes, and if left untreated, they can lead to serious health issues. Warm weather not only creates the perfect environment for people, but also for ticks. With the large amounts of rainfall and warmer weather patterns, ticks in your yard should be an even greater concern for your family this year. Not only do they pose as a nuisance, but ticks can carry harmful diseases, such as Lyme disease.
Ticks 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 warmer wet climates and shady areas. They prefer wooded areas and coverage from vegetation, such as tall grass. A 2008 study done for the National Reference Laboratory for Tick-borne Diseases showed how climate change has affected the increase of ticks and tick-borne disease. With temperatures, humidity, and rainfall levels rising, many regions of the country are becoming a target for a tick infestation.
What makes ticks so dangerous is that they don’t show favoritism. They 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. They can feed up to 10 days on a human. If they do carry an infectious disease, it can easily be transmitted to a person as they feed. Deer ticks are the primary carriers for Lyme disease. They are found everywhere from central United States to the East Coast.
The only way to prevent diseases like Lyme disease is through tick control. There are certain precautions you can take this summer to prevent ticks. Here are a few ways to get rid of ticks in your yard, and keep your family safe from tick bites.
- Natural Insecticide. The best way to get rid of ticks in your 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 have been proven to be an effective tick repellent. Cedar oil is a powerful oil despised by ticks. If sprayed on contact, it will actually kill ticks. What is great about cedar 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.
- Groomed Lawn. Ticks hate a well-kept and clean lawn. Since ticks like to hide in tall grass and low coverage vegetation, they can’t stand mowed grass and trimmed bushes. Both create less shade for ticks to hide in. Since they need humidity, well-groomed yards tend to have more sun. Yard litter also plays into effect when it comes to tick control. Try to keep your yard free from leaves, tall grass and wet spots. This will prevent ticks from staying hydrated in order to survive.
- Clothing. If you are in an area where tall grass and woods are inevitable, make sure to wear proper clothing. Clothing items like long sleeved shirts, hats, long pants, and boots can all attribute to tick bite prevention.
- Tick Repellent. If you are going outside, make sure to use a tick repellent for you and your pets. If you are worried about using synthetic chemicals, look for natural products that contain garlic oil, cedar oil, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, or lemongrass. You can also try Tick Tubes for added protection in your yard. Tick Tubes contain cotton balls soaked with a tick repellent called permethrin, which is deadly to ticks but safe for mammals. Mice will use the cotton for their nests and expose any ticks to permethrin.
- Physical Barrier. If you are surrounded by woods and tall grass, set up a dry area around the perimeter. You can do this by using wood chips. This will help 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 keep out animals that could be carrying ticks.
If you have recently been in an area where ticks were likely to have been present, make sure to do a thorough tick check. Tick checks start from your ankle to the top of your head. If you happen to find a tick on you or your pets, make sure to 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!