Design a Tick-Free Environment to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard
I live in a mountainous region of the Sierra Nevada Foothills. In the wintertime, I use a wood-burning stove to heat up the house. But the wood that I keep outside could easily be the very place ticks are likely to make their home.
I also see a lot of deer and rodents that ticks like to leach onto. So I must take precautions to keep my environment free from ticks and the animals that are likely to transport ticks to my yard.
This article will provide some advice and tips for keeping your home and yard free from ticks.
Create an Environment to Keep Ticks Away
Ticks are more than a mere nuisance. Their bites can cause diseases in humans and pets. The most prevalent-known diseases are Rocky Mountain Fever and Lyme disease.
The best way to get rid of ticks in your yard is to get rid of the areas they like to live. Ticks thrive in dark, moist areas. So you want to make sure you don’t provide a place for them to live.
Keep Stacked Wood Dry
Ticks love moist, cozy areas. So stack your firewood tightly and keep your stacked wood dry. When the wood gets wet, it creates an environment that is moist. Ticks gravitate to moist areas.
As best as you can, place your stacked wood bins in a dry place or keep it covered, so that rain cannot soak in and create that moist, shady environment where ticks will thrive.
Keep Your Yard Clean and Well-Maintained
- Ticks also love dark areas. So keep your yard clean and clear of heavy brush and dead leaves on the ground. Piles of leaves make an attractive home for ticks. If the area is also moist, it will be especially attractive to ticks.
- Keep your lawn well mowed. Rake up the grass clippings, or use a mower that collects them. These grass clippings leave a dense area under which ticks can make their home. As with raking up the grass clippings, be sure to rake up any fallen leaves.
- Also, keep your lawn and garden area well drained. Remember, ticks like moist areas, and letting water sit on top of the lawn or garden soil will be a big attraction for them.
Ticks Attach Themselves to Deer, Rodents, and Other Animals
Ticks travel on animals such as deer, mice, and other rodents. They will also latch themselves onto humans. So, keep your yard free of these animals and critters.
Ticks are parasites. Parasites feed on other animals. They latch onto the skin of humans and animals and then suck out their blood.
Ticks live out their lives in three stages:
Stage 1: Larva—Larva are the eggs laid by an adult female tick in the spring and summer. These eggs hatch into larvae in the late summer. They stay on the ground until an animal or bird brushes up against them. They then latch onto the host, and begin feeding over a period of a few days as they swell up with blood.
Stage 2: Nymph—After feeding, larvae drop off of their host and go through a process in the fall called molting. During this time of year, larvae transform into nymphs. During the winter to early spring months, nymphs are inactive. It is not until May that they become active. They latch onto a host and feed for about four to five days until they become engorged. This is the stage when—if in the larva stage the larva was infected with a disease (such as Lyme)—they will transfer it to the host. Nymphs may also contract the disease if the host itself has the disease and the Nymphs bite into the host to draw blood.
Stage 3: Adult—After feeding on the host, nymphs drop off the host and into leaf piles, where they molt into an adult. During the late October to early November months, adult ticks seek their hosts by waiting above the ground, on top of tall grass or leaf tips until a host rubs up against them. They latch onto the host, bite into them, and then the feeding begins.
Landscape Your Yard to Keep Deer and Rodents Out of Your Yard
The easiest way to provide a deterrent is to landscape your yard with vegetation that the deer, rodents, and ticks do not like. Both ticks, deer, and rodents do not like strong-scented plants. So your best success will come from surrounding your yard with the plants that they have a tendency to stay away from.
Herbs, Vegetables, Hedges, Shrubs, and Trees to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard
Alaska Yellow Cedar Trees
Dwarf Sweet Box
Red Osier Dogwood
There are a variety of plants that are not well-liked by ticks and tick-harboring animals. Choose from a wide selection of herbs, flowers, trees, and ground covers to help create a beautiful yard that is less prone to harboring ticks.
Plants, Flowers, and Ground Cover to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard
Japanese Plum Yew
Natural, Citrus-Based Spray Repellent to Ward Off Ticks in Your Yard
While chemical-laden products exist on the market and are very good at keeping ticks at bay, I encourage you to try a natural approach to keeping ticks out of your yard.
Ticks do not like the scent of citrus and tend to stay away from places where this scent exists. Try the following citrus-based spray that is easy to make and can be sprayed around your yard and on yourself.
- 2 cups water
- 2 lemons, chopped (can substitute limes, oranges, or grapefruit)
- 16 oz spray bottle
- Boil water.
- Add citrus of your choice.
- Bring back to a boil for one minute.
- Simmer for one hour.
- Strain out the fruit.
- Let the liquid cool.
- Pour into the sprayer.
- Spray where you want to repel ticks. You can safely spray on you, your family, your pets, your garden, and your lawn.
Be Mindful of Where Ticks Like to Nest
Remember, ticks like to nest in dark, moist environments. Ticks attach themselves to deer and rodents. Keeping your yard and your garden free of ticks mean keeping your yard and garden clean, well-maintained, and well-drained.
- Consumer Reports Tests Found Insect Repellents That Are Safer, More Effective Than Some Deet Products. (2015, May 13). Retrieved June 12, 2019, from https://www.consumerreports.org/media-room/press-releases/2015/05/my-entry-1/
- Larson, Richard, A. (2001, December 1). Deer-Resistant Plants: Shrubs and Trees for the Deer-Plagued Gardener. Retrieved June 12, 019, from https://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/deer-resistant
- Lee, M. Y. (2018, October 02). Essential Oils as Repellents against Arthropods. Retrieved June, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189689/
- Natural Tick Repellents and Pesticides | Lyme Disease | CDC. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/natural-repellents.html
- Nootkatone: Research and development of an all-natural plant compound to help fight ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/resources/NOOKATONE.pdf
- Plants not favored by deer. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2019, from https://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/horticulture-care/plants-not-favored-deer
- Sellmer, J., Sellmer, J., Bates, R., & Julian, G. S. (2019, June 05). Ornamentals and Deer: Realities and Landscape Plant Options. Retrieved June 12, 2019, from https://extension.psu.edu/ornamentals-and-deer-realities-and-landscape-plant-options
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2019 Marlene Bertrand