Summer brings plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors. As you head out, it is important to remember to take preventive measures against ticks.
What are Ticks?
Ticks are arachnids, relatives of spiders that live in wooded areas, brushy fields, along trails and around homes. They are also parasites that survive by feeding on the blood of animal hosts, including humans. Through their feeding, ticks can significantly impact the quality of life and health of humans and pets. Most importantly, some species of ticks may transmit diseases, such as Lyme Disease, which can result in mild to serious illness or death. Proper protection from ticks and prompt removal are crucial to preventing infection.
What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans (the “bull’s-eye” rash). If left untreated, infection can spread to the joints, heart and nervous system.
Create a Tick-Safe Zone Through Landscaping
You can make your yard less attractive to ticks depending on how you landscape. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
- Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.