Over the next few weeks, TBDA will share a three-part series of posts exploring ways to protect homes and surrounding property from ticks through a comprehensive landscape management plan aimed at creating low-risk tick zones within commonly used areas. By reducing the tick population around the home, one can substantially minimize the likelihood that family members or friends will be bitten by a tick and contract one of many tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease, babesiosis, anaplasmosis, bartonella, or other viral infections.
Tick Talk with Bob Oley
This post is part of TBDA’s three-part series exploring ways to protect homes and surrounding property from ticks through a comprehensive landscape management plan aimed at creating low-risk tick zones within commonly used areas.
When working to protect the home and surrounding property from ticks, homeowners should deter deer from feeding on vegetation in the yard because deer are almost always infested with feeding ticks. Once fed, these ticks drop off deer wherever they happen to be, whether in flower beds or lawns. To keep deer from entering private property, residents should install deer fencing high enough (approximately 7 to 8 feet) to prevent them from entering. If this is impractical, residents can try to eliminate plants that attract deer to the property.
Deer enjoy browsing on a variety of vegetation including apple, pear and cherry trees as well as rhododendrons, mountain laurel, rose bushes, impatiens, pansies, daisies, lilies, tulips and black-eyed Susans. While no plant species is completely immune to deer browsing; plants such as daffodils, marigolds, lily of the valley, honeysuckle, common lilac, forsythia, common boxwood, American holly, Norway spruce, wisteria and American bittersweet are their least favorite food items and generally will not attract them.
Research has shown that the majority of ticks found on a property are located in close proximity to a lawn’s perimeter (ecotone) with woodlands, stone walls, shady perennial beds and garden plantings. Thus, perimeter spraying of these particular areas with a pesticide that kills ticks can prove an important component of any landscape management plan.
The most common tick control agents used today for perimeter spraying are synthetic pyrethroids such as permethrin, befenthrin and cyfluthrin. Pyrethroids are organic compounds synthesized to be similar to the pyrethrin insecticide produced naturally by chrysanthemum flowers. When sprayed, these compounds do not leach through the soil, but are broken down over several days within the top few inches. They can prove toxic to fish in small ponds or streams, so caution must be used when spraying in close proximity to water bodies. For those not inclined to use synthetic chemicals, natural organic spray alternatives are available, such as cedar oil and a mixture of rosemary and peppermint oils.
Any perimeter spraying should be done three times each year: during the middle of May and the middle of June, to kill nymph deer ticks, and then again in the middle of October, to kill adult deer ticks.
Hardscape and xeriscape landscaping practices provide another beneficial component of a comprehensive landscape management plan. Hardscape landscaping practices make greater use of hard surfaces (as opposed to vegetated surfaces), such as flagstone patios, brick or gravel walkways, wooden decks and other similar features where family members and friends may congregate. Xeriscape landscaping incorporates plants that require less water and are thus more likely to survive in a drier environment, the type of habitat in which ticks cannot survive.
This post is part of a three-part series discussing ways to protect the home and surrounding areas from ticks. In the next article, we will offer quick tips for protecting your landscape from ticks. In case you missed the first article in this series, Part 1, click here.
If you think you are leaving your tick troubles behind when you board that plane with your family for that long awaited warm weather vacation, think again. Ticks are a worldwide phenomenon and can be found on just about any continent, including North America, Central America, South America, the British Isles, most all of Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Asia, and Australia.
Outdoor enthusiasts beware! Whether you are walking your dog, playing winter golf, enjoying cross country skiing, hunting, or just going out to the woodpile to get wood for your fireplace, you need to know that deer ticks are lurking out there, just waiting for you to make an appearance. Unfortunately for all of us, deer ticks do not disappear during the winter months, and can be quite active all year round.
It is that time of year again when we are getting in the holiday spirit, and thinking about going out and buying a Christmas tree or cutting one down on your own. Before doing so however, keep in mind that a holiday surprise may be waiting for you in the branches of the tree: that seemingly inescapable deer tick. Adult deer ticks are looking this time of year for a host to feed on, and that host could be you, a family member, or your pet.
Going back to school after a summer free from the drudgery of homework assignments can prove to be a real challenge for some children, but not for the reasons you might otherwise expect. If your child was bitten by a deer tick during the summer months or at the start of the school year, he or she may have become infected with Lyme disease or one of its co-infections such as babesiosis or anaplasmosis. Whether bitten by an infected tick during the summer or while participating in outside school activities, the end result can be devastating to a child, transforming him or her from a productive and happy student to one who is chronically ill and unable to function in the school environment.
Your pets, especially dogs and cats, are easy targets and fair game whenever they go outside in areas endemic for ticks—which nowadays means just about anywhere. The woodlands, high grass and brushy areas, all those places your pets like to romp, can harbor scores of ticks, but with a few proactive steps, you can prevent your pet from falling victim to any dreadful tick-borne diseases.
Although the summer months are especially bad for ticks, your pets can be bitten just about any time of the year. The types of ticks likely to bite your pets include deer ticks, American dog ticks, brown dog ticks and Lone Star ticks, depending on the region you reside in or are visiting.
Summer camp season has arrived, and you have probably packed your children for some memorable weeks away from home. Weeks spent in nature though will also carry risks, and you have no doubt done everything you can to make sure your kids are prepared. Unfortunately, there is a tiny but serious threat that you may not be fully-informed of: the deer tick.
Deer ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of a variety of hosts, including people. Children are especially at risk due to their predilection for playing in grassy or forested areas, particularly during the summer, a peak-time for deer tick activity.