Tips to Stay Tick-Free
Before you go out and cover all your grass with concrete, consider taking these steps to prevent ticks from invading your home and body:
- Keep your grass short. Ticks love to settle on high grasses and weeds so that they can snag a ride with a passer-by. Keeping your grass short prevents their ability to brush against you and your pets.
- Keep shady spots and piles of leaves away from your home. Ticks love cool, shaded environments. If your yard is shady, consider thinning out the trees and shrubs to allow more sunlight.
- Remove fallen leaves promptly from your yard. A pile of leaves is nothing short of Shangri-La to a tick.
- Wear light colored clothes and cover up your legs. If you have to walk through high grasses, make it easier to spot ticks by wearing light colored clothes. Tuck your pants into your socks (not the coolest look, I know). Ticks move pretty slowly, so a periodic review of your legs should help you spot them in plenty of time.
- Try to stick to cleared trails. The less brush rubbing against you, the better.
- To DEET or not to DEET? Studies suggest that 20% DEET will prevent ticks. I’m not a huge fan of DEET, so I use a natural pest repellant that is heavy on the rosemary and eucalyptus oils. It seems to do the trick just fine, but it does make me crave chicken...Neem oil also seems to do the trick, though I haven’t used it personally. But if I was going camping, or taking a serious hike, I’d probably consider the DEET.
- Apply a tick repellent to your cats and dogs. Even if you think your pets are “indoor pets,” you’d be surprised. My little pup goes out into the yard to do his business and immediately comes back to the house. And still, I’ve found ticks on him.
- Get in the habit of nightly checks. Before you slip into your jammies, give yourself a once-over. Check your body’s hot spots, especially: arm pits, behind the knees, up under your hair, behind your ears.
- Get some guinea hens or chickens. Seriously. I have friends who have three or four chicken and/or guinea fowl roaming freely around their yard. These friends swear they haven’t seen a tick in years—not on their dogs, their kids, anywhere.
- Consult with a professional. Your local pest control company may be able to offer you the added expertise and tools needed to help you create a yard that is inhospitable to ticks.