Ticks are small arachnids that feed on your blood and can give you a wide variety of serious diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. You probably already know that ticks are found in forested areas and are a threat to campers and hikers, but you may not know that ticks can be found closer to home, too. Surprisingly, you're more likely to be bitten by a tick in your own backyard than out in the woods. Here are four ways to keep these dangerous pests out of your backyard.
Build a fence around your property
Studies have shown that people with fencing around their property have a lower risk of getting Lyme disease than people without fences. A fence is effective because it keeps wild animals like deer, coyotes, and other large mammals out of your yard.
Keeping wild animals out of your yard is important because ticks feed on these animals. Once the ticks have had their fill of blood, they fall off of their host and onto the ground. If you don't have a fence, it's easy for the ticks to be deposited on your lawn as deer or other animals pass through.
Cut back vegetation
Ticks like to live in areas of dense vegetation like long grass and thick shrubs. Ticks prefer these areas because they can cling to the vegetation and latch onto any animals or people that brush against the plants. Getting rid of thick vegetation in your yard will make your property less appealing to ticks.
Make sure to mow your lawn regularly and keep it trimmed to a short height. You should also cut back any thick or overgrown shrubs on your property.
De-clutter your backyard
Ticks also feed on the blood of rodents like mice and rats, so you need to take steps to keep rodents away from your yard. Your fence won't stop them, but you can keep rodents under control by reducing their hiding places. Rodents nest in sheltered, out-of-the-way places like woodpiles, leaf litter, debris, and other backyard clutter.
Make sure to get rid of any leaf litter or debris in your yard quickly. Getting rid of your woodpile may not be practical, but you can make it less appealing to rodents. Instead of storing your woodpile directly on the ground, store it at least 18 inches above ground level. The woodpile should also be at least 12 inches away from any walls or fences.
If building a fence, reducing vegetation, and controlling clutter aren't enough to control your tick problem, you need to consider using pesticides in your yard. Make sure to choose a pesticide that is designed to be used for area-wide tick control. Pesticides that are meant for other types of pests or for indoor applications may not be as effective.
To keep ticks away, you don't need to spray pesticides on your entire lawn. You need to spray the perimeter of your property as well as areas that are preferred tick habitats, such as around shrubs. You should also spray pesticides around the perimeter of walkways and other high-traffic parts of your yard. Make sure to avoid spraying your herb or vegetable gardens due to the risk of contamination.
Pesticides can hurt you, not just the ticks, so make sure to follow all of the safety precautions on the label. If you don't feel comfortable working with pesticides, hire a pest control company to handle the application for you. If you haven't hired such a company before, click here for more info on pest control services.
Ticks can spread a lot of dangerous diseases to you and your family, but fortunately, you don't need to share your backyard with them.