Ticks can find their way to and take up residence in your yard for a number of reasons. They can’t fly, so in many cases, they are carried by wildlife and rodents: rats, mice, raccoons, opossums, deer, rabbits, bats, and even birds. Otherwise, they climb on or cross via vegetation or wood piles surrounding your property and make their home in areas that are good for both feeding and breeding. Even if your yard is clean and clear, debris in your neighbor’s yard can create easy migration paths.

Ticks are a nuisance as well as a health hazard, as they can carry and transmit a handful of diseases to humans. Dealing with ticks may require both prevention and treatment—here’s how to banish them from your yard.

Keep your yard clean

Ticks thrive in cool, damp, shaded environments, so tall grass is fertile ground. Keep your yard between 3 and 4.5 inches—don’t allow it to grow past 5–6 inches—and cut weeds back using a string trimmer.

Also, grass clippings and leaf piles are prime habitats for ticks and the rodents that carry them, so rake and bag these up instead of letting them accumulate, and move wood piles away from any structures.

Create mulch or gravel barriers

Because ticks prefer vegetation, other materials can serve as a physical barrier to them traveling into and through your yard. Putting a 3-foot-wide bed of gravel or dry mulch around the perimeter of your property—at the very least, at the edge of wooded areas or your neighbor’s yard—can create a huge hurdle for tick movement.

Pest-proof your space

While you might not be able to keep all critters out of your yard forever, you can take steps to minimize what attracts them in the first place by putting in deer-resistant plants, installing fencing, minimizing rodent-friendly habitats, and keeping waste, compost, and recycling bins and other sources of food secured. Don’t ever feed wildlife. If needed, utilize resources for humane pest control.

Target your tick treatment

If prevention efforts fail, you’ll need to change tactics to treatment. Tick tubes (which you can buy or DIY) attract the critters that carry ticks, making their fur less hospitable and killing ticks without harming the animal. Tick bait boxes do the same thing and are effective because they address ticks early in the lifecycle, but they’re generally more expensive.

You can use pesticides, but some experts say the risks are higher than the rewards.

#Ticks #Yard

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