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Have you heard…. this year is going to be one of the worst years for ticks!
When people told me this, I knew this was true when the first two ticks I saw in 2017 were in February! Typically, we never see ticks in the North East until at least April because the cold weather and snow keeps them away.
Now, that it’s almost May, I’ve seen several more and each time it reminds me that I have to do everything I can to keep ticks out of my yard. Not only does this make it safer for me to walk around my yard without picking any up, but it also prevents my pets from bringing ticks in the house. I do spray myself and my pets with natural repellents, which really helps, but I’m still scared to do much outside because I know they’re lurking in the grass.
When I started researching and experimenting with ways to keep ticks out your yard naturally, I was surprised to find that many of them really do work!
Ticks are real concern for us in the North East because we have such a high rate of Lyme disease. I have many friends that have Lyme disease, some with serious life-long health problems due to it.
So, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to keep ticks out of your yard naturally so you don’t have to worry about picking any up? Well, there are many things you can do to reduce the amount of ticks in your yard and keep them away!
Why it’s Going to Be a Bad Year for Ticks:
Many are predicting that it’s going to be a very bad year for ticks and Lyme disease. According to a biologist at Bard College, the risk for Lyme disease is going to be very high this spring. This is partially due to the mild winter we had as this helped many of the ticks survive.
In the North East, half the ticks you find carry Lyme disease, which can transmit to you when they bite your skin. Not only, can you get Lyme disease, but they can also transmit many other diseases as well.
How to Protect Yourself from the Ticks:
There are quite a few ways to prevent getting ticks on you and your pets naturally. In addition to using the strategies listed below for ways to keep ticks out your yard naturally, you will also want to include these in your regimen, as well, to prevent getting ticks.
1) Use a natural tick repellent on yourself- I spray this homemade tick repellent on my clothes, shoes, and skin before going outside. If you’re not into making your own, here’s a great naturally based repellent you can buy.
2) Use a natural tick repellent on your pets- I use this homemade spray with essential oils. It’s been very effective for my dog who likes to roll around in the grass outside. Here’s a natural one you can purchase if you’re not into making your own.
3) Wear light colored clothing so you can spot them easier and always check yourself and your children, and pets each time you come inside.
4) Take your clothes off when you come inside and immediately put them in the drier on the highest heat setting. Ticks won’t drown in the washer and will survive the cycle. But, they will die after just 5 minutes of being in the drier on a high heat setting. I’d leave the clothes in for a full 15 minutes though, just to be safe.
10 Ways to Keep Ticks Out of Your Yard Naturally
1. Use Plants that Repel Ticks Naturally– There are certain plants you can plant in the ground around your yard that will naturally repel ticks. These include: Lavender plants, garlic plants, lemongrass, chrysanthemums (specifically the pyrethrum variety), sage, rosemary, catnip and beautyberry.
You can plant them around your property borders and around the most used areas in your yard such as near a pool, patio or swing set to keep ticks away from areas you spend the most time at.
2. Get Chickens – This is one I’m testing out this year myself! Chickens naturally eat ticks in your yard among many other bugs and insects. They are great for pest control! I’ve talked with many people that have backyard chickens and let them free range around their yard and they say that they hardly ever see ticks any more.
3. Get Guinea Fowl (type of bird similar to chickens) – Several studies have shown that having guinea fowl significantly reduces the tick population. They eat pretty much any kind of bug/insect they see. According to the University of Connecticut, guineas are effectively used to reduce the deer tick population. Many people get them purely for tick and insect control. This may just be the most effective of all the ways to keep ticks out of your yard naturally, according to research, but you have to be willing to take care of them as new pets, which takes some work.
4. Mow the Grass Very Short and Frequently– Ticks like to hide in long grass, so keeping it short will get rid of their favorite place.
5. Use Cedar Chips– Cedar naturally repels ticks and many other insects too. Put down cedar mulch or cedar wood chips around areas you want to keep ticks away. I put a wide border (about 2-3 feet wide) of cedar all around a small fenced in area I let my dog out to. This creates a safe zone inside the border of cedar wood chips and ticks don’t like to travel across it. So it keeps them out pretty well! If you have a wooded area in your yard, you can make a perimeter border with cedar chips or mulch to separate the wooded area from grass. This will keep the ticks from migrating in to areas you don’t want them to.
6. Get as Much Sunlight as Possible– Ticks love to hide in shaded and moist areas. That’s why there always seems to be an abundance out when it’s a cloudy wet day. Trim or remove brush, trees, shrubs and any other landscaping that creates shaded areas. Also, clear areas of leaf piles, sticks and cut grass. In areas you want to be tick free, try to get as much sunlight to them as possible to keep the ticks away.
7. Use a Natural Perimeter Poison to Ticks – This is one I’ve heard of with great results, but haven’t tried it myself yet. Food Grade- Diatomaceous Earth is very effective for killing ticks. Most often pet owners apply it to their pet’s fur to eliminate ticks. But you can also use it in your yard and on your decks/patio.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a fine white powder that consists of fossilized phytoplankton and about 85% silica. It’s non-toxic and many people eat it to get health benefits such as increased collagen, and strengthening nails and bones.
To use it to keep ticks out of your yard naturally, either use it dry or make a spray combining it with water. To use it dry, you can dust it in outdoor carpets such as on your deck to keep ticks away. To use it in grass or other areas, mix about 10 teaspoons of food grade diatomaceous earth in a gallon of water and spray the mixture over any areas you wish to eliminate ticks. I’m going to spray the mixture around my back deck to prevent any ticks from coming on the deck.
I’ve heard of some people spraying it all over their yard to eliminate ticks from their yard.
Hope this helps you get rid of ticks!