How to Keep Ticks at Bay in Your Own Yard



While warmer weather and increased outdoor activities find more Marylanders outside, they also put people at greater risk for encountering ticks and contracting Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.


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Reported cases of Lyme disease continue to rise, with more and more Marylanders diagnosed each year. Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An illness that can have lifelong debilitating effects such as arthritis, fatigue and even neurological deficits, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer tick.


In addition to performing a tick check, there are specific actions a homeowner can take to reduce the tick population in their yards, thus reducing exposure for themselves, guests and their pets.


The six Cs to tick-proof your yard:


1. Clear out.

Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don’t position playground equipment, decks or patios near treed areas.


2. Clean.

Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges. Mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.


3. Choose plants.

Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.


4. Check hiding places.

Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.

5. Care for family pets.

Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.


6. Call the pros.

Professionals use barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot, as well as “tick tubes.” Strategically placed, “tick tubes” prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material in their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.


When outdoors away from home, the CDC recommends wearing long-sleeved, long-legged, light-colored clothing. Tuck pant legs into socks to refuse ticks an entry point. In addition, be sure to spray clothing and any exposed skin with a product containing 20% diethyltoluamide — DEET — the most common active ingredient in insect repellents. Clothing and other gear, but not skin, can be treated with Permethrin, a chemical that will kill ticks and mosquitoes on contact and should last through several washings.


Finally, be sure to check carefully for ticks after being outdoors.


About Mosquito Squad

With more than 200 franchise locations nationwide, Mosquito Squad specializes in eliminating mosquitoes and ticks from outdoor living spaces, allowing homeowners to enjoy their yards. Kendra Burnett, local owner of Mosquito Squad of Annapolis, has been fighting the bite in Anne Arundel County for more than 12 years. For more information, visit mosquitosquad.com or call 410-317-8385.


Mention Arundel Kids and receive $50 off the season.

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