Spring and summer are seasons in which people like to spend time outdoors. It is not uncommon for homeowners to host outdoor parties on their lawns during these times of the year.
Of course, there are issues. The sweltering heat, mosquitos, gnats, and other insects can be a nuisance for outdoor activity. Then there are ticks.
You may not realize that ticks are a major source of human diseases. As many as eight diseases that rank from fairly to very serious are associated with ticks. In addition, ticks can be a threat to family pets.
The diseases that are associated with ticks include:
· Anaplasmosis, granulocytic
· Colorado Tick Fever
· Ehrlichiosis, monocytic
· Lyme Disease
· Southern Rash Illness
· Powassan Encephalitis
· Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
· Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever
· Tick Paralysis
If you and your family intend to be active outdoors on your lawn during the spring and summer, then it is imperative that you take steps to eradicate ticks.
The May 2017 edition of Consumer Reports included an article describing five steps to tick proofing your lawn. These steps do not involve any pesticide sprays. This article will detail the five steps.
Before describing ways to ensure that ticks don’t infest your lawn, the Consumer Reports article pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a lab at Cornell University are expecting this year to be one of the worst on record for ticks. This warning holds true for the lower 48 states of the country. They have identified as many as 26 species of ticks that inhabit the East Coast alone.
One way to test for ticks on your lawn is to use a tick drag. To make the tool simply cut a 5-inch-square swatch of fabric and tie it to an 18-inch long pole or stick. Drag the fabric along tall grass or weeds, especially near woodland edges of your lawn. Ticks will commonly transfer from the ground to the fabric. If this test confirms the existence of ticks on your lawn, then follow these five steps to eradicate them.
1. Keep grass short. Ticks love tall grass. It shades them from the heat, which they hate. It is suggested that you cut your grass as low as 2-inches to 2-1/2-inches and stay vigilant in keeping the lawn that short for the entire season. It is also advised that you don’t leave long clippings on the lawn, but rather bag them as you mow. Leaving the long clips offers a perfect environment for ticks.
2. Make a mulch moat. If there is wooded area adjacent to your lawn, then you can bet there are ticks there. To prevent the ticks from crossing over onto your lawn, spread a 3-foot wide barrier of mulch around the perimeter. This will offer two benefits. First, it creates a physical barrier that is dry and hot that ticks hate. Second, it provides a visual reminder to your family members and any visitors to be careful not to step beyond the mulch into the woods. It is suggested that you use mulch made from broad, dry wood chips or bark, not a damp, shredded material. The damp, shredded substance offers a cool environment that ticks favor.
3. Trim tall grass and weeds. Experts on the behavior of ticks advise that they like to climb to the top of tall grass blades and look for an animal or person to grab on to. Use a string trimmer to keep grass and weeds short to prevent the opportunity.
4. Eliminate tick habitat. You have probably been advised to leave mowed grass clippings on the lawn as mulch and to leave fallen leaves on the lawn because they provide nourishment for the soil. However, if you live in a region where there are a lot of ticks, then it is best to reconsider the advice. Keep your lawn clear to prevent the creation of tick friendly places.
5. Target ticks for death. Of course, the foolproof way to rid your lawn of ticks is to kill them. Many homeowners have turned to pesticide sprays to achieve this. However, many experts say that these sprays are ineffective and potentially dangerous to you, your family, and your pets. Instead, Consumer Reports suggests that you create a trap that includes cardboard tubes stuffed with cotton that has been treated with permethrin, a tick killing chemical. Mice collect the cotton and take it back to their nests. The permethrin binds to oils on the mice fur and kills any ticks that try to attach to them without harming the mice.
Finally, take precautions to protect yourself. It is advised that you wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, socks, and closed-toe shoes when working on your lawn. In addition, use insect repellent to protect yourself from any lingering ticks. Some of these products offer as much as 8 hours of protection against ticks.