Tick season is just starting off and it's predicted to be the worst tick season in years. Experts are calling it a perfect storm, conditions have come together to create a tick population explosion. Specifically the lack of acorns and the mild winter. The mild winters we have had over the last few years have contributed to longer tick seasons. On some warmer days in January and February it is not uncommon to find ticks active looking for a meal. Most people are unaware that acorn production plays a large role in tick populations. Mice and deer feed on acorns and ticks feed on mice and deer. When we have a bumper crop of acorns then that means we will have more mice and deer because of the ample food supply. But when we have low supply of acorns then many of the mice and deer will die off due to the lack of food. The ticks will leave the deceased animals, and due to the lack of animals to feed on will invade our yards in large numbers in search of food. That means our pets and even ourselves are vulnerable to more than normal tick bites.
Following these steps will help you to reclaim your yard.
- Mow and weed whack regularly - Ticks are not typically going to be in the lawn. They will be in any tall grasses that may be on the outer edges of the yard. They even may be in areas where you haven't had the time to weed whack,such as around your flower beds. Keep these areas cut down. Reducing the nesting sites will reduce the chances of ticks in the yard.
- Create a barrier -Place a barrier of wood chips or stone, about 3 to 6 feet wide, around the exterior perimeter of the yard. This will allow for a buffer zone between you and the ticks.
- Consider cedar. Cedar mulch will repel ticks and fleas. Use it to border areas where your pet likes to play or rest. This will keep insects from migrating into these areas. Place cedar mulch along the edges of your dog kennel, under the deck and porch.
- Prevent deer and other tick host from getting into the yard - Keep deer out of your yard by planting those plants that deer do not like or hiring a pest professional to apply deer repellent to your yard.
- Remove all Leaves and debris - It is important that you do not allow leaves to build up in your yard. Decomposing leaves are ideal for ticks to live because it holds moisture, essential for tick survival, and it is where mice, rats, squirrels and other rodents will be.
- Make any paths uncomfortable to walk on - Lay down stone or wood chips on any paths that you may have. Ticks do not like to walk on rough surfaces.
- Let the sun in - Ticks thrive in an environment that contains high humidity. Moisture is key to tick survival. Cut back overgrown shrubs, bushes and trees. Prune back tree limbs and allow as much sunlight onto your yard will deter ticks.
- Avoid over watering the yard - As previously stated, ticks and fleas prefer moist environments. An over watered or poorly draining lawn can be a welcome mat for these insects. Make sure you are watering your lawn properly.
- Check out your pets hangouts. Tick and flea larvae will be within 50 feet of your pet’s favorite resting areas. Keeping these areas free of debris is essential. Pay particular attention to any cool, shady spots your pet favors, such as spaces under decks or porches, beneath low-hanging shrubs or along fence lines.
- Introduce tick predators - If it is allowed in your community, introducing "pullet" chickens to your yard. Chickens are a great resource and a natural way of getting rid of ticks. All day they search throughout the yard for food, and they love eating ticks. The added benefit is that you will have fresh eggs.
It is important to remember that ticks carry diseases, wear protective clothing whenever you work in the yard. Be mindful that ticks congregate in tall grasses where they can latch onto anyone passing by, so by eliminating their habitat you will reduce the tick activity. For more information see the Tick Management Handbook provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.
Subscribing to Omega Pest Management's Vector Care Service will safely and effectively remove vector insects such as mosquitoes and ticks by up to 95%. Do your homework before you hire an exterminator, asking the right questions can make all the difference in the world.
Call Omega Pest Management Today at 856-692-5150