“Lyme disease is a public health crisis in the Commonwealth with over 4,000 new cases of Lyme disease being reported in Massachusetts in 2009, the last year for which official totals are available.” Confirmed Lyme disease cases in 2009 in Hampden County were up to 196 and in Hampshire County 118, with data showing steady increases in all counties year after year. – April 2011, Mass. Dept of Public Health

Ticks in Your Yard: Here’s What to Do!

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.

Treat your property with Tick Control Applications

Tick Control applications can be made using granular or spray treatments of foliage and vegetation. The treatment area extends up to 10 feet into the primary harborage area when possible with the most critical treatment being the transition zone between the primary harborage area and the manicured environment. There is no need to treat more than 5 feet into the manicured environment.

To achieve adequate control of ticks including American Dog Tick, it is recommended to treat in Spring, Early Summer, Mid-summer, and Fall.

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.