Although ticks might look like harmless insects, they can actually cause a whole host of problems if you’re bitten by one. Ticks carry bacteria that can lead to serious infections and illnesses such as Lyme disease. There are some easy ways you can keep yourself safe from tick bites when you’re out in nature, but what should you be doing at home to protect yourself from ticks? Here are some ideas to keep you and your family safe from ticks.
Check your garden for ticks
If you want to see if your garden is a prime hotspot for ticks, consider trying out a trick that’s called a tick drag. Cut a .003-square-metre swatch of fabric and tie it to a stick or pole that measures about 45 centimetres. Grab onto the pole and then drag the fabric along any tall grass or weeds you might have on your property. Ticks will normally transfer themselves onto the swatch, so you can tell whether ticks are hanging out around your home.
Keep your grass cut short
If you’ve found that you do have ticks in your garden, it’s important to keep your grass cut short. Taller blades of grass can create shadows and shade for ticks to hang out (since they don’t like dry or hot environments). Keeping your grass cut to around 10 centimetres should deter most ticks from staying in those areas. Also, make sure that you clean up any lawn clippings that are left behind – ticks can thrive in this type of environment.
In addition to keeping your grass trimmed, you should also cut any tall grass blades or weeds on your property. Ticks use tall elements to climb up and look for animals or humans that they can attach to and feed on. Keeping grass and weeds trimmed low means that it’s harder for ticks to latch onto you, your family members or your pets.
Make a mulch moat
If you have wooded areas near your property, these environments can also be a great breeding ground for ticks. To deter ticks, you can add a 91-centimetre wide barrier of mulch around the perimeter of your property. It’s recommended to use dry wood chips or bark for the mulch, since the damp and shredded kind can actually attract ticks. The mulch then acts as a physical barrier that is dry and hot (which ticks dislike), so it creates more protection for your garden.
Get rid of fallen leaves
Although some people use mulch and grass clippings to help nourish their garden, leaving behind things such as fallen leaves can actually bring more ticks within the vicinity of your home. Make sure your garden is clear of debris by bagging cut grass or leaves – either dispose of them or compost them in a pile that’s far from your house. By eliminating this waste, ticks will have fewer places to hide on your property.
Focus on killing the ticks
While the previously listed tips will help lessen the number of ticks near you, if you want to fully obliterate the tick population on your property, you’ll have to focus on actually killing them. There’s always the option of spraying your entire garden with a pesticide, but lots of experts say this method can actually be pretty ineffective (and possibly dangerous for animals and humans alike). However, one helpful option is to use products that treat the fur of mice or deer (which are frequent carriers for ticks) with tick-killing agents. For example, one product is made of cardboard tubes that are stuffed with cotton that has been treated with permethrin (a tick-killing chemical). Mice end up taking the cotton back to their nests. The permethrin ends up binding to the oils on their fur, which kills ticks without hurting the mice in any way. Plus, these contraptions are pretty cheap to purchase.
One way to protect your home is to keep yourself safe as well. This can mean wearing long-sleeved shirts and trousers, as well as closed-toe shoes, any time you’re going to be working out in your garden. You can even tuck your trousers into your socks to ensure that no skin is left exposed to ticks. Also, consider applying insect repellent to your body before heading outside so you can deter any ticks that might be on your property.
If you do find you’ve been bitten by a tick, make sure to remove it as quickly as possible, with either tweezers or specific tick-removal kits. You can then send the tick to a lab to be tested for Lyme disease. Also, be sure to pay attention to any physical symptoms you might be having after the initial bite occurred. And always consult a doctor if you think you’ve contracted any type of infection from a tick bite.
Your home should always be a refuge and a place of peace. So don’t let ticks get the best of your garden. Follow these tips to keep your home safe against ticks.