Experiencing the great outdoors is one of the best ways to spend the summer days. Although, sometimes we find ourselves in the company of some unwanted guests.
Spending time outside is the cornerstone of summer fun, but it’s also how we find ourselves in contact with those nasty little things we call ticks. Ticks are a fairly common pest we’re all bound to encounter outdoors, either on yourself or a pet. Tick bites alone aren’t a problem, but what they could give you is. Some ticks can spread Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease that can cause mild to severe rashes and symptoms. According to the CDC, more than 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease every year. This information might make your skin crawl but fear not! There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from ticks and other creepy crawlers.
Here are a variety of ways to keep the bugs at bay:
- Keep your lawn maintained: Experts recommend keeping grass between three to four inches tall to limit the cool, dark shadows where ticks thrive.
- Compost lawn debris: Debris creates an excellent habitat for ticks when left in your yard. Composting your leaves or grass clippings after mowing or raking can eliminate these safe-havens.
- Create a mulch barrier: Mulch often gets hot and dry in the sun, making it difficult for ticks to cross. Experts recommend applying a three-foot barrier of mulch between your yard and wooded areas.
- Deter tick carriers: Deer and mice are the most common tick carriers. Putting up fencing or selecting plants to deter deer and keeping your property free of trash and other debris can help prevent these carriers from bringing ticks into your yard.
- Welcome tick-eaters: Placing feeders or fruit-bearing trees will attract wild birds and opossums. Blue Jays, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Oxpeckers all love to eat ticks. Opossums, known as “nature’s groundkeeper,” can eat up to 6000 ticks weekly.
Additionally, most hardware and department stores carry some form of “tick killer.” These concentrates, sprays, and pellets can be used separately or in conjunction with the tips mentioned above. Be sure to safely apply these chemicals, particularly if you have any pets prone to sticking their nose where they shouldn’t.
Ticks are tiny pests that can bring giant health problems. They can carry and transmit Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Erlichiosis, Powassan Virus Disease, Borrelia Miyamotoi Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), or Tularemia. Keeping them off your property can lower the risks and help ensure you have all the summer fun without these pests coming to ruin the mood.