Ticks definitely deserve the ‘ick’ in their name.
These little blood-sucking insects have been becoming a lot more common throughout Canada. There are a number of factors that have been contributing to this. Shifts in the climate and changes to animal migration patterns are the two of the main contributors.
They aren’t Just Icky…
The problem is, ticks can spread vector-borne diseases – such as Lyme, and others. The main tick variety to watch out for are deer ticks. They’re the ones that can carry Lyme disease, but that doesn’t make wood ticks desirable… That’s why it’s important to protect yourself and your family as best you can.
You should always wear long-sleeved shirts and pants tucked into boots when you’re going into wooded areas, long grass and brush. Some research shows that ticks are more attracted to dark colours, in particular black, so pick lighter colours to wear. This will also help you spot any ticks that happen to land on you. If you happen to find any on your clothes, you can just brush them off if they haven’t latched on.
You should also consider using insect repellent or bug spray that contains DEET or picaridin. Always follow the directions on the label before using these products, particularly around children. This will help repel ticks, but keep in mind that it’s not a guarantee.
Always check for ticks!
It’s still important to do a visual check after you’ve spent time outside. Be sure to check children and pets carefully, because ticks can be as small as a poppy seed. Ticks also love warm, dark places. Focus on checking joints (behind the knees and elbows, and in armpits), behind the ears, and in the hair. Taking a shower can help wash off any ticks that haven’t latched on.
To prevent ticks from living on your clothes, put them in the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes, or wash your clothes in hot water – the heat will help kill the ticks.
“My family stayed in our yard… Do we need to be worried about ticks?”
If you don’t make a habit of going for hikes in the woods, you might be thinking that this doesn’t really apply to you. However, it’s important to remember that ticks can hitch rides on the animals and birds that visit your yard, so you should still take precautions.
All of us at Greenhorizons Sod Farms want you to be able to enjoy your yard and garden with peace of mind. That’s why we’ve compiled some suggestions on how to protect your property from ticks.
Protect Your Family from Ticks!
Since ticks do travel on other animals, one way to help prevent having them in your yard is to keep the animals from entering in the first place. If you have a fence, repair any holes or sags where wildlife can gain access; this will also help protect your fruit and veggie harvest, if you’re growing your own food.
Don’t Give Them a Place to Settle Down!
These blood-sucking bugs don’t like an environment that’s too hot and dry. Consider cleaning out any brush in your garden; try to avoid overwatering your lawn; and keep your lawn on the shorter side. You can let your grass grow to around 4 inches and then mow it down by about an inch. (Tip: Regardless of your desired lawn height, never take more than 1/3 of the grass blade off) This will keep it short while also promoting healthy lawn growth. While generally it’s a good idea to mulch the clippings into your lawn for the health of your grass, if your lawn has grown to 5 inches or higher, or if you’re located in a tick hotspot, you might want to bag the clippings instead, to prevent giving ticks a habitable environment.
Finally, if your tick situation is REALLY bad, there are some options when it comes to spraying your lawn with pesticides. You need to research the different choices available in your region, and decide whether that’s the right route for you.