Perhaps one of the scariest parts of the summer is the inevitable appearance of ticks. Ticks carry Lyme disease and other diseases that can have serious short term and long term symptoms. Kids and pets are usually the most vulnerable to tick bites, so extra precautions need to be taken for them. Read on to learn how to keep your family and pets protected from getting bitten by these tricky pests.
1. Kinds of Ticks
Arguably, the most well known types of ticks are the Blacklegged Tick and the Western Blacklegged Tick, which both transmit lyme disease. According to the CDC, the ticks that most commonly bite humans are the Blacklegged Tick, the Lone Star Tick, and the Dog Tick- all significantly smaller than the size of a dime. Although these critters are tiny, they carry big problems. Don’t underestimate the ticks that don’t carry lyme disease, as many of them spread other diseases (ones we can barely pronounce). Just to name a few, they transmit Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan virus disease, and many forms of relapsing fevers.
2. Haul Away Yard Debris
Piles of organic material, especially ones that are rotting, are perfect for Blacklegged Ticks to hide in. Thus, be wary of children playing outside and do not let them play in or with these piles. Be proactive and declutter the exterior of your home, while also reducing the risks of ticks lingering!
3. Cut it Out: Mowing The Lawn
One of the best ways to prevent ticks from occupying the yard is to mow the lawn frequently. Areas of tall grass that provide shade and moisture attract the Blacklegged Tick, which carries lyme disease. To combat this, we suggest seven day recurring mows to be safe, but at the very least, your lawn should be mowed once every two weeks.
Don’t forget to bag the clippings! Unbeknownst to many, the grass clippings can house ticks, as well.
4. Fencing the Yard
Animals such as deer, mice, chipmunks, and racoons are the biggest carriers of ticks into yards! Deer are typically the most common hosts of ticks, and a fence will surely keep them from entering your yard. Fencing your lawn will also make it easy to identify the borders around your lawn that need spraying (with hopefully an organic solution; you can read about this in the next section). If you don’t have a fence, consider investing in one! It doesn’t have to be a huge, fancy fence; just one big enough and strong enough to keep out these critters.
5. Don’t Be Fooled: Hire A Local Pro to Spray your Yard for Ticks
Spraying your yard with pesticide is probably not the best solution to eliminating your tick problem. We do not recommend this for a number of reasons. Firstly, these pesticides will most likely kill not only ticks, but spiders and other bugs that feed on the bugs you hate to see hanging around your lawn. Pesticides also may have a negative effect on the health of your lawn. Only use pesticide as a desperate remedy if you absolutely need to and other resources have not worked. Opt for products that will keep unwanted animals away, because, as previously stated, they often carry ticks and these products won’t harm the lawn like pesticides will. What products should I use, then, you ask? Deer repellents are a great start, especially if your area is known to attract deer often. They are also safe to use! Organic sprays that contain essential oils and other natural resources are a much better bet and of course, safer for humans, as well as your lawn.
6. Take Easy Tick Precautions
We know that not all of these options are viable to everybody. If you’re waiting for your lawn to be mowed, and the grass is higher than 5 inches, wear clothing that covers all of the skin and can be tucked in to keep all of you covered or even avoid the lawn altogether until the grass has been cut. Only spray tick repellent on your clothing, not your skin! Also, be sure to keep children and pets in low grass, dry areas.
7. Do You Live in One of These States?
Check out “The 10 Worst States For Tick-Borne Diseases”….are you at risk?
- Pennsylvania (73,610 cases)
- New York (69,313 cases)
- New Jersey (51,578 cases)
- Massachusetts (50,234 cases)
- Connecticut (36,727 cases)
- Wisconsin (33,255 cases)
- Michigan (26,886 cases)
- Maryland (22,166 cases)
- Virginia (16,454 cases)
- New Hampshire (13,710 cases)