Tick Protection Around the Home

Reducing the tick population in and around your home is essential to protecting your family against tick-borne diseases. Did you know that proper lawn care and maintenance, sprayed treatments, and repellants can substantially reduce the number of ticks lurking at your back door? Make your backyard a safer place for your family and friends to spend time outdoors with these simple tips.

REDUCE TICK POPULATIONS WITH PROPER LAWN CARE

    1. Establish a perimeter. The most important tick prevention tactic for your home is to establish a perimeter that protects the areas you, your family, and your pets travel most. You can create an effective tick barrier by clearing tall brush and grasses from the border of your property. If your lawn abuts a wooded area, create a physical barrier of wood chips or gravel between that area and your lawn.
    2. Keep your yard as tidy and sunny as possible. Keep any playground equipment or patio furniture away from the outer edge of your yard and in sunny spots if possible as ticks prefer shade. Make sure any wood or leaf piles are kept away from play areas, patios and decks, and gardens and do not allow trash to collect in your yard. Frequent mowing also deters ticks—longer grass gives them more protection as they move.
    3. Keep your lawn dry. Ticks like moist environments and struggle to survive in dry conditions. They seek out shady, damp areas. Leaf piles and grass clippings are moisture magnets. As they decay, they create perfect hideouts for ticks and tick-infested animals. Rake your lawn regularly and discard trimmings and waste far from play or social areas. Compost piles also attract ticks and rodents and should be located outside your protected perimeter. Look for areas of standing water around your home and dump and remove any vessels that may collect water after rain or spring snow melts.
    4. Treat your lawn with tick repellants. There are many types of lawn treatments that can reduce or prevent ticks. IC3 is one naturally derived repellent that is effective against ticks and safe to use around children and pets. If you are considering chemical lawn treatments to prevent ticks, read warning labels carefully before application or use.
Many local areas have restrictions on what can be used on a lawn or residential property, so check with your local municipality before treating.
    5. Control for rodents. Rodents, such as mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and rats, are tick hosts that are very effective at getting into human homes. Reducing the rodent population in and around your home reduces ticks, too. Look for rodent removal options that specifically target the ticks rodents may be carrying. Bait boxes are a particularly effective extermination measure because they don’t just lure, trap, and kill the rodent. They contain fibrinil or permethrin, which kills any ticks the rodent carries before they can seek out a human host.
    6. Tick tubes target ticks without harming their hosts. They contain cotton, an ideal nesting material for mice, that has been treated with Permethrin. Once mice add it to their nests it kills any ticks they may carry. While tick tubes do reduce ticks, eliminating rodents is still the most effective option for overall tick reduction.
    7. Shut down the bird feeder. Bird feeders attract rodents as well as birds, and those rodents carry ticks. Ticks can also attach to birds and fall off—into your lawn, garden, deck, or porch—when the birds stop for a meal.

    For an added layer of protection, purchase tick wraps or permethrin-treated clothing.