How to Prevent Ticks Before They Become a Problem for Your Family
Sunny weather not only means a chance for you to get outside more, but it also means a chance to encounter the ever-increasing population of ticks. CDC forecasters have already suggested this year’s tick season may be one of the worst in years, and for many, that means learning how to prevent ticks before they become a problem.
Why Worry About Ticks?
Not sure why you should be so concerned about tick prevention? According to the CDC, diseases that are caused by ticks have more than tripled since 2004. Ticks can cause sixteen different diseases in the United States, including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, both of which are serious enough to hospitalization and lifelong problems.
You’re not the only one who can suffer from tick-borne diseases, though. Your dog can as well. In dogs, ticks can cause some of the same health conditions humans suffer from, and that can create some pretty serious potential problems both for you and your pet.
Obviously, you can’t control the potential for a tick bite everywhere, but you can control it in your yard with a few simple steps.
- Mow Regularly: The longer the grass in your yard, the more likely you are to have ticks breeding in your yard. To ensure healthy, tick-free grass, make sure you trim it to about three inches every time you cut it. If you sheer it down any further, you may be mowing far more often than you’d like, and you could actually damage your grass too. Also, ensure you don’t leave too many heavy piles of lawn clippings behind, as they make the perfect hiding place for ticks.
- Consider Mulch: If you have a wooded area near your property, you may want to think about adding a mulch path near the wooded area. If you create a three-foot mulch path, you’re literally building a physical barrier that the ticks can’t cross. It’s dry, it’s often hot, and it makes it tough for ticks to simply hop into your yard. Just make sure you use a broad, dry wood chip, not a damp, shredded type, as that will create an additional nesting ground for the ticks.
- Keep Tall Grasses to a Minimum: Have lots of ornamental grasses around your property? You may be inviting ticks in. If you do have a bed of tall grasses, make certain you create a barrier around it of gravel or dry mulch to keep the ticks in their place. Moreover, don’t encourage children or your pets to play around that space.
- Keep Play Spaces Away From Forested Areas: Whether it’s a swing set, a picnic table, or another spot where everyone can gather and play, make sure you locate play spaces well away from forested areas. One CDC study found that 67% of ticks were found in forested areas, so ensuring your picnic table that is on a freshly cut lawn is positioned away from trees is nothing short of a must.
- Keep Wildlife Out: Wildlife may look beautiful as you gaze at them over your morning coffee, but the reality is that they’re bringing ticks and other problems into your yard. If possible, make your yard less attractive to them. Install deer fencing around the perimeter, keep your trash and other food sources covered, and do what you can to keep them out.
If you’re going to be out where you can’t control the tick population, there are a few other steps you can take to stay safe. Make certain you use a repellant with a DEET concentrate of at least twenty to thirty percent. You’ll want to put it not only on your skin but also on your clothes as well. If you do decide to go hiking, make sure you’re in the center of the trail at all times. Tall grass and bushes mean an opportunity for a tick to jump off and attach itself to your skin. If it’s possible, be sure you wear long pants with long sleeves if you’re headed into the tree canopy or forest. Finally, when you come in from outside, check yourself and your pets to make certain you haven’t brought any visitors home with you.
If you’d like to know more about preventing ticks this summer, reach out to us today. We’ll help you increase the safety level in and around your yard to help ensure your whole family is safe this summer.