These steps may only slow down deer ticks, which is why it is so important to continue tick prevention.
Control Ticks on Your Property Through Landscape Management
In addition to protecting yourself and your family, there are several approaches you can take to lower the risk of contracting a tick-borne disease by reducing the number of ticks on your property. Best results will come from using as many methods as are available that fit your particular circumstances -- an approach called Integrated Tick Management (ITM). Self protection and getting rid of tick habitat will be the first and most benign steps. Where infestation with infected ticks is high, people and their pets are becoming infected, and children are at risk, very effective acaricides can be sprayed on your property by a licensed applicator with specialized equipment who is required to minimize any environmental impacts.
1. Start by putting distance between tick habitat and people habitat. Deer ticks aren't out in the middle of your mowed lawn. They live and thrive where yards border wooded areas, or where there are ornamental plantings, gardens or areas that provide shade and moisture.
- Create a 3 foot-wide buffer of stone, wood chips or other landscaping material to separate your lawn from tick-friendly areas—and to serve as reminders of the difference between areas where ticks are and likely aren't.
- Move children's play areas away from tick habitat.
2. Create a tick-safe zone through landscaping.
- Clear brush, leaf litter, and other debris from lawns and the sides of trails.
- Completely eradicate invasive vegetation, particularly Japanese barberry, honeysuckle and bittersweet. These plants provide excellent deer tick habitat.
- Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
- Keep swings, slides and other children's outdoor play equipment away from yard edges and trees.
3. Apply acaricides (tick-killing pesticides) sprays or granules to your yard perimeter, shady perennial beds, and along woods paths and trails.
- You can treat relatively small areas with over-the-counter products, but lower concentrations of active ingredients and inadequate penetration force may limit their effectiveness.
- If you have larger areas, you may need to hire a professional to apply an effective acaricide with sufficient force to reach ticks deep in the leaf litter.