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How to Avoid a Tick Problem in Your New Backyard

Written by Posted On Friday, 23 June 2017 10:51

The last thing you want during your first summer in a brand new home is a tick problem. Ticks that carry lyme disease occupy half of all U.S. counties as of 2017. With such high numbers, avoidance, prevention and protection are now tantamount to the successful management of summer tick problems. Check out the following tips to gain a head start on this summer's inevitable attack of the ticks.


Try to Avoid Direct Contact During Peak Season

Peak tick season roughly spans April through September. Ticks generally abide within brushy areas, woods containing leaf litter and high grass, and in moist, humid places. Actively avoid these areas. If you must traverse them, walk in the center of trails.

Check for ticks before, during and after your hikes and other periods of outdoor rec in congested tick habitats. If you can, remove ticks before they seize the opportunity to transmit disease.

Ticks tend to attach to you in constricted body locations, such as waistbands, the backs of your knees and your armpits, but they can (and will) also attach just about anywhere on your body/person that presents itself at an opportune moment.


Prevent Access to Ticks By Dressing Accordingly 

Ideally, you should cover up as much of your skin as possible, although this is understandably unrealistic (and uncomfortable) for small children. For adults, at least try to wear long sleeves and pants, and tuck the hems into your socks. Contrary to popular misconception, ticks do not jump or fly; they crawl. They start low and work their way up, so tightly shielding ankles is quite sufficient prevention.

For your children, consider tick-repellent clothing. Popular styles include durable mesh tops and bottoms worn over regular clothing, including shorts and tees. The mesh restricts ticks' access to your child's skin while remaining breathable and transparent.


Repel and Kill Ticks Whenever Possible

Stock up on bug spray. Invest in formulas containing DEET and formulas containing permethrin. Bear in mind that DEET merely repels ticks, but permethrin kills them on contact. Ideally, spray your skin with DEET and your clothing with permethrin. Thus, ticks repelled from your skin to your clothing die instantly.

Take DEET percentages into consideration. A higher percentage does not indicate more potent protection. Rather, the percentage of DEET within bug spray refers to the length of time it successfully repels insects. A DEET concentration of roughly 7 percent reliably repels insects for up to two hours.


Follow Up On Tick Prevention When You Get Home 

When you return home after potential exposure to ticks, bathe or shower within two hours. Perform full-body checks of yourself and your children, including within belly buttons, between the legs and within the hair.

Complete detailed examinations of all your pets and your gear. For added insurance and protection, run all clothing in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes, longer for moist clothing. If your clothing is also soiled, moist and possibly ridden with ticks, then launder it in hot water and dry on high heat.


Manage Your Landscape to Reduce Tick Populations

Ticks are attracted to the same conditions in your backyard as in the wild. If possible, remove leaf litter, store wood chips and gravel away from recreational areas, and keep brush and tall grasses around your home to a minimum.

Explore DIY or professional pest and tick control services. Acaricide, a popular mite and tick killer, is available via retail or through professional services. You can obtain it at home improvement stores and disperse it yourself using your own pressurized garden sprayer or with a ready-to-use product that has a built-in sprayer. There are also organic sprays available if chemical use is not an option for you.



This summer, destroy the ticks. Follow these tips, and reduce your potential exposure. Stay mindful and safe, and feel free to check and recheck yourself, family members and pets for ticks. In the war on ticks, the best prevention is vigilance.

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Carol Evenson

Carol is a home renovation specialist with a background in organization and sales. She assists realtors with business management and growth.


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