It’s going to be a busy year for the black-legged ticks that carry Lyme disease and the up-and-coming babesiosis.
“Numbers of ticks fluctuate annually, and this is looking to be an up year,” says entomologist Kirby Stafford, Ph.D., the author of a tick-management handbook. Here, some of his tactics to keep the bloodsuckers at bay.
Ways to Tick-Proof Your Yard with Landscaping
Mow the lawn
Ticks can’t jump or fly; they travel by standing on grass blades and foliage, and waving their front legs in hopes of hitching a ride with a host.
Tired of mowing? Replace a portion of lawn with a butterfly garden or wildflower patch surrounded by stone or mulch.
Lay gravel paths and move toward xeriscaping
Ticks hate hot, dry, sunny surfaces.
You can trim back branches and shrubs to let in more sunlight.
Move the swing set
Keep play equipment away from wooded areas and on wood chips or rubber mulch.
Be animal savvy
Keep pets out of thickets. Raise wood piles off the ground, and consider adding deer fencing to your yard.
Eliminate heavy groundcover and woodlands
Thick, shady cover can be tick heaven, partly because it attracts tick-carrying animals like deer (whose population is burgeoning), white-footed mice, chipmunks, and even birds.
Thanks to: Kirby Stafford, Ph.D., Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station