Steps You Can Take
You don't have to be walking in the woods to be bitten by a tick. You can be in your own backyard!
Ticks like damp, shady, brushy, leafy areas, where they can wait for a person or an animal (like a deer or a mouse) to come by. The tick waits for direct contact with a passing person or animal.
Reducing ticks in your yard means making your yard less attractive to ticks, and less attractive to animals that carry ticks, like mice and deer.
Is your yard damp with shrubs and shade? Are there rotting leaves along fences, wood piles, or rock walls? If the answer is yes, your yard may be attractive to ticks and to animals that carry ticks like deer and mice. Reduce the number of ticks around your home by following these steps:
- Keep grass cut short. Ticks are more likely to be found in taller, unmown grasses and shrubs, where they wait to attach to a passing person or animal.
- Remove leaf litter and brush from around your home. "Leaf litter" refers to decomposing leaves where ticks can live, that can be raked up and removed.
- Prune low lying bushes to let in more sunlight (keeps the yard from being so damp and shady, so ticks will be less attracted to the yard).
- Keep wood piles and bird feeders off the ground and away from your home. This will make your yard less attractive to mice and other small rodents that can carry ticks.
- Keep the plants around stone walls cut short
- Use a three-foot-wide woodchip, mulch or gravel barrier where your lawn meets the woods. Ticks are less likely to cross the barrier into the lawn because they are prone to drying out. It also serves as a reminder that people who cross the barrier into the wooded area may be at higher risk of getting ticks.
- Ask your local nursery about plants to use in your yard that do not attract deer. Deer can carry ticks into your yard.
- Use deer fencing for yards 15 acres or more
Using Pesticides to Reduce the Number of Ticks
If you choose to use a pesticide to reduce the number of ticks on your property, hire a licensed applicator experienced with tick control. Your local landscaper or arborist may be a licensed applicator. In general, good tick control coan be achieved with no more than two pesticide applications in any year. When selecting an applicator, ask if they will provide:
- A written pest control plan that includes information on the pesticide to be used.
- Information about non-chemical pest control alternatives.
- Signs to be posted around the property after the application
Detailed information about ticks, including how to avoid getting bitten and how to manage them in your yard, is provided in the Tick Management Handbook (2007, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also have information on Preventing Ticks in the Yard.
Don't Forget to Check for Ticks
When you're done working in your yard to reduce the number of ticks, don't forget to check yourself for ticks.
This information is provided by Epidemiology Program within the Department of Public Health.