Keeping Ticks Out of the Yard

With the fall weather here your family is likely to spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s still warm enough to barbecue and the kids love jumping in piles of leaves. What you don’t want to happen is for them to become victims of tick bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ticks on Long Island can spread diseases from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease to Ehrlichiosis and Babesiosis. So what can you do to keep ticks away from you and your family?

Well, there are a few options. The first is to use a tick repellent. There are both chemical and natural tick repellents available on the market that all work relatively well when applied appropriately. However, if you really want to enjoy your yard as much as possible, the best thing to do is to manage the tick population in your yard and try to keep them as far from play and living areas as possible.

Make sure there is at least a 3-foot barrier of wood chips or gravel between your yard and any wooded areas surrounding it. Keep it clear of leaf litter, which is one of a tick’s favorite places to hide. If you have playground equipment try to place it in a sunny location; ticks absolutely love the shade and this will help keep them away from the kid’s playthings.

Keep your grass trimmed neatly. Tall grasses and brush should be cut down whenever possible as they can carry ticks and spread them to anyone who walks by.

Some people use tick tubes. These are tubes filled with cotton doused in Permethrin which can kill and repel ticks. These tubes are placed all around the yard and can help reduce tick populations by using mice to do the work. Mice take the cotton and make nests out of it and that in turn helps to keep ticks, which breed on and feed on mice, at bay.

Another step to control ticks is to keep your woodpile far away from your house. Keep your wood neatly stacked and dry and away from your lawn.

Finally, one of the best things to do to keep ticks from your yard is to have it treated for ticks by a licensed professional such as Organically Green Horticultural Services. Their tick repellent services can last up to a month and will make your yard a safer, and more comfortable place for your family to spend their time.

Avoiding Mosquito Bites

Summer is here and that means spending a lot more time outside. Unfortunately, part of that time outside often includes bug bites, particularly mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control list mosquitoes as spreading a number of diseases from EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalitis), and Yellow fever to Zika virus and even—in other parts of the world—malaria. 

Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale when we breathe. 

So, unless you’re willing to hold your breath while outside the next best thing is to avoid getting bitten by using an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) registered insect repellent containing one of the following ingredients:

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535
  • Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone

All of these have been proven to be both safe and effective to repel mosquitoes when used properly and will help you to prevent mosquito bites.

The CDC also recommends preventative maintenance for mosquito control. This includes getting rid of or treating the breeding grounds that mosquitoes love. Any source of standing water from a plant saucer to a birdbath can become a place for mosquitoes to breed. If the water is necessary, such as a birdbath, treat it with a mosquito dunk. These are safe for birds and other wildlife but will kill any mosquito larvae and prevent eggs from hatching. All other sources of standing, untreated water should be dumped out. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also suggest avoiding the outdoors at dawn and dusk. These times of day are the most active for mosquitoes. If you must be outdoors at these times use mosquito nets around your seating areas, or wear long-sleeved shirts to help reduce the number of bites you receive. 

Finally, if you know you’ll be having an event in advance, it’s a good idea to have your yard treated for mosquitoes so that you and your guests can be worry-free. If you’d like to have your yard treated call Organically Green Horticultural Service and they’ll treat your yard so that your party can be as bite-free as possible.