"The Best Service at the Right Price… TODAY!"
"The Best Service at the Right Price… TODAY!"

How Can You Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard

Often thought of as a summer bug, ticks can be found nearly all year long (yes, even in New England!). While ticks might survive in colder temperatures, they still thrive in high grass and on logs (along with deserts, beaches, and buildings). For homeowners looking to protect their families, pets, and themselves, learning how to keep ticks out of your yard is important to your peace of mind during the spring and summer. To help, the following guide offers some insights into identifying ticks, understanding the dangers and diseases they spread, and steps to take to keep ticks out of your yard.

What Are Ticks and How To Spot Them?

Technically, ticks are arachnids, which means they have eight legs and are black or brown. However, unlike the more common arachnid (the spider) ticks are pretty small (generally, no larger than the head of a pin). Additionally, ticks feed on blood to grow and reproduce. This means ticks look for a host and as a result, latch onto humans, deer, rodents, dogs and cats. Interestingly, ticks can sense breath, body odor, heat, moisture and even vibrations, which they use to find and latch onto these warm-blooded hosts. From there, it finds a spot to puncture a hole and feed, injecting an anticoagulant to clot the blood. A tick may wait several days in one spot to find a host.

In New England, there are a few common types of ticks.

  • Deer Tick or Blacklegged Tick: Commonly found in wooded areas, tall grass and leaf litter, these ticks are known for transmitting Lyme disease.
  • Dog Tick: Commonly found in grassy areas, such as trails, or yards with tall vegetation these ticks are known for transmitting Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
  • Lone Star Tick: Increasingly found in New England, these ticks have a distinctive white star and are known for transmitting ehrlichiosis and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), which shares symptoms with Lyme disease.
  • Brown Dog Tick: Commonly found in kennels, these ticks are mainly a concern for pet owners (but will infest homes and humans) and transmit diseases that cause discomfort and irritation (vs more significant illnesses, such as Lyme disease).

Generally, ticks are found in long grass, which makes dogs and young children particularly susceptible because they do not know what to look out for. As a result, anywhere outside or with your pet can be a place to encounter ticks. For more, the following checklist highlights the prominent places to find ticks:

  • Outside with your pet
  • In your garden
  • Around other animals, especially squirrels and rodents
  • In overgrown, grassy areas
  • Close to any perimeter vegetation, or areas that border a forest
  • Walking along a regularly used path, such as a hiking trail

What are the Dangers of Ticks in Your Yard?

There are a few main types of tick diseases, which are fundamentally, the underlying danger that ticks pose when in your yard.

  • LYME DISEASE: Lyme disease is caused by deer ticks that can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Signs of Lyme disease include a rash, often in a bull’s-eye pattern, and flu-like symptoms. Additionally, typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. Joint pain and weakness in the limbs can also occur. Fortunately, most people with Lyme disease recover completely with appropriate antibiotic treatment. Pain medications may provide symptomatic relief for those who develop symptoms after their infection is treated.
  • POWASSAN VIRUS: Powassan Virus (which is related to the West Nile Virus) infects the central nervous system and ultimately causes brain swelling and meningitis. Additionally, typical symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss, and may have neurological problems as a result. While reported cases are very rare, ticks can transmit the disease in as little as 15 minutes (vs roughly two days for Lyme disease).

While these are the main tick diseases, they can carry and transmit multiple diseases at a time. In addition to the well known Lyme disease, then other common tick dangers including transmitting Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis and Typhusand Babesiosis. Plus, ticks can cause allergic reactions or a condition called tick paralysis (plus, tapeworms in dogs and cats). To help, understand how a tick bite differs from a typical bug bite:

  • When a tick bites a host, the host’s body reacts to the proteins injected and produces a red, raised area that itches and may resemble a bull’s eye.
  • Unlike with other pest bites, these areas don’t go away after a few days.
  • In more extreme cases, you’ll develop a rash at the site and experience symptoms within three to 12 days that feel like arthritis, fever or the flu. If these symptoms don’t go away, seek out medical attention.

When spending time outside or playing/walking near tall grass or the woods, it is considered a best practice to scan yourself, any children, and all pets. The earlier a tick is caught, the easier it is to identify whether it carries any of the above diseases.

How Can You Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard?

Understanding the characteristics and habits of these common tick species is essential for implementing effective tick control measures and minimizing the risk of tick-borne diseases in your yard and surrounding areas. Ultimately, keeping ticks away starts with identification and ends with treatment.

Tick control is critical to everyone’s health and safety. If these pests are present in or around your home, taking preventative measures to mitigate the presence of ticks is the best way to control your risk. Some common tick control steps start with surveying your property and taking action to eliminate their preferred living environment. For example, keeping ticks out of your yard involves landscaping tips, such as:

  • Removing (or moving) old, rotting logs
  • Repairing crevices and gaps
  • Cutting grass to a shorter length
  • Removing leaves and brush
  • Removing any bird or rodent nests to create a less-inviting environment for ticks
  • Create a barrier with wood chips or gravel to separate your lawn from any wooded areas

Additionally, like keeping critters out of your garden, there are some natural remedies that may work to reduce the risks of ticks around your yard. For example, certain plants possess natural properties that repel ticks, making them valuable additions to your landscaping. Consider incorporating lavender and/or rosemary in your landscape. For more natural remedies, then the following may help keep ticks away:

  • Essential Oils: Essential oils such as cedarwood, eucalyptus, and lemon eucalyptus are known for their tick-repellent properties. Dilute these oils in water and spray them onto your clothing and outdoor furniture to deter ticks.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: Made from fossilized remains of diatoms, diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that can be sprinkled around your yard to kill ticks upon contact.
  • Nematodes: Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on tick larvae in the soil, reducing the tick population in your yard without harming other beneficial insects.
  • Guinea Fowl and Other Tick-Eating Animals: Guinea fowl are voracious tick eaters and can help keep tick populations in check when allowed to roam freely in your yard. Other tick-eating animals such as chickens and opossums can also contribute to tick control efforts.
  • Tick Tubes: Tick tubes are small cardboard tubes filled with treated cotton balls that attract mice, a common host for ticks. Placed strategically around your yard, tick tubes help reduce the tick population by targeting their primary hosts.

By combining these landscaping techniques and natural tick control methods, you can mitigate the risk of ticks and enjoy the outdoors with peace of mind. However, as with other natural remedies, these may require a mix of methods and balance with tick sprays and professional tick extermination.

How Can Eliminate ‘Em Help Remove Ticks From Your Yard?

As a result of the dangers that ticks present, learning about the tick removal process helps provide peace of mind. At the first sign of a tick infestation, contact a knowledgeable tick extermination company, like Eliminate ‘Em to schedule an inspection and tick treatment program.

Working with Eliminate ‘Em means one of our experienced tick exterminators will come to your home or business to assess the area for signs of ticks. In addition to overgrown grass and proximity to wooded areas, ticks also make their way indoors is by latching onto pets and rodents as well.

At the core of removing ticks (and keeping them out of your yard) is identifying the root cause of the tick problem. After discovering why the ticks are present, then an experienced pest control company will develop a personalized plan for tick control in your yard. The plan may include trimming the landscape, but also recommendations like applying bug spray while outside. Finally, our extermination team also sprays the yard with EPA-approved insecticide to deter the ticks from coming back. This tick prevention method is completely safe to be used around humans and pests.

If a tick bites you, a loved one, or a pet, it is time to call a professional tick exterminator like Eliminate ‘Em Pest Control Services for same-day service and free estimates for tick control and extermination services. Get rid of these dangerous pests today!