The CDC also provides suggestions for reducing the tick population on your property. Click here for more information.
- Preventing Tick Bites:
- Create a Tick Safe Zone through landscaping:
The following actions are suggested to minimize tick exposure on your property (provided by Dr. Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute):
- Using repellents such as DEET on skin or clothes (including socks and shoes) during prime tick season (May through August). Adult ticks are active in fall and early spring, but they’re much bigger and easier to detect and remove than the tiny nymphs, which transmit the great majority of cases.
- Using acaricides like Permanone and Duranon sprayed on clothing (including socks and shoes).
- Doing careful tick checks (and bathing, if possible) after time spent in risky zones, like woods and shrubby areas.
- Keeping lawn grass short, to facilitate tick mortality from desiccation.
- Generally, whatever reduces mice reduces infected ticks, so trapping mice or facilitating predators like foxes and owls will help. Predators do better when a forest remains unfragmented. Keeping mouse shelters like woodpiles and stone walls away from houses/play structures may reduce tick exposures, but this has not been directly tested.
- A “4-poster” deer feeding station: Municipalities can invest in these devices, which apply tickicide directly on deer, especially its ears, as it interacts with a feeding station. Four-poster feeding stations work, but need to be operated continuously (year after year) and deployed over large areas. A drawback is that the feeding stations may attract groups of deer, causing herding and the spread of other diseases. For more information, check: http://wildlifecontrol.info/TickStudy/Pages/default.aspx (Cornell study)
Some commercial products, which kill ticks and the pests that carry them:
- Tick Tubes: The widespread use of tick tubes containing cotton infused with permethrin can significantly reduce larval stage tick populations over time. This process works by mice carrying the cotton to their nests where larval ticks live; the permethrin kill only the ticks – not the mice. One such product is “Damminx” (http://ticktubes.com/).
- Professional pest control experts can apply effective pesticides, especially during the peak nymphal season for Ixodes ticks (spring and summer).
- Household soap can be used to keep deer from eating plants.