To protect your family and pets, even in your own yard, it's best to stay vigilant until the first frost. Ticks can be active any time the temperature is above 45 degrees F, so for areas with mild winters, they're a year-long menace. |
Most adult ticks are the size of a sesame seed, while a nymph is about the size of a poppy seed.Ticks like to hang out several feet off the ground in tall grass and in low brush around wooded areas. Since they can neither fly nor jump, ticks attach themselves through direct contact with people and pets passing through the vegetation.
How to Control Ticks
There are some landscaping tricks that you can use to reduce the number of ticks in your yard and in the area around your home.
Remove fallen leaves and clear any tall grass or brush from around your house and at the edges of your yard, especially near pathways and walkways. Keep your lawn well maintained and mowed short. Trim low-lying bushes to let in as much sunlight as possible. This will help keep your yard from becoming a shelter for small mammals that may act as hosts for ticks. Put a three-foot-wide, three-inch-deep barrier of wood chips or gravel between your lawn and any woods to keep the ticks from coming into your yard.Make sure your lawn chairs, swing sets and playhouses are in sunny, dry areas. You may want to place mulch or woodchips around these areas.Because white-footed mice and some birds can be hosts for ticks, don't put birdbaths or birdhouses on your property during tick season.
When you have ticks in your yard, here is how to get proper pest control of them. Get a large piece of flannel and tie it to a stick. Drag it through the entire yard slowly and pay particular attention to shady areas. Any ticks you drag the cloth over will get snagged. When you are done, put the cloth in a burn barrel and burn it or in a trash bag and seal it shut and take it to the dump.
When you're going to be outside for a while, be sure to wear light-colored socks and pants to help spot ticks more easily. Tuck your pant legs into your socks to reduce the risk of ticks getting under your clothing.
Protecting Your Pets
Try to keep your pets in the middle of your yard, away from the high grass and brush. You minimize the risk of a tick attaching itself to your pets if you don't let them run loose through the woods.
A tick attached to your pet won't infect a person while it's clinging to your pet; however, keep in mind that a loose tick can fall off and find you as a new host.
Ticks like warm areas, so look under your pet's legs, in the ears, between the toes and in folds in the skin. Many pet stores carry fine-toothed combs that are helpful in lifting ticks out of a cat or dog's fur before they can attach
If ticks are in your house, you need to treat all the areas where they can hide. This would be behind baseboards and moldings, in furniture and carpets as well as around window sills. You can treat these areas with food-grade diatomaceous earth, baking soda or talcum powder for Indoors. All of these products will be safe for you and your family and pets but will kill the ticks.
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