Ticks: Why the concern and how to control them

It seems I can’t log on to social media anymore without a close up picture of a tick staring me in the eye.  The whole country has awoken to the dangers of these 8 legged creatures in the arachnid family that feast on our blood like tiny vampires.  Even just a small bite from a tick can be enough to transmit diseases to the victim.

According to the website Webmd.com, there are many diseases transmitted by ticks including the well-known Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted fever and Ehrlichiosis along with more than 5 others.   Although most of these diseases do not end in death, they can cause some major damage.  The fear of symptoms is bad enough to warrant a small panic attack when finding one lodged in your skin.

If you find you are picking off the creepy bloodsuckers every time you spend time in your yard, it is time to get active in the fight against them.  Here are a few ways you can combat these disease-ridden pests.

Go on the offense

The first step to keeping ticks from being happy in your lawn is to cut it short.  Ticks prefer living in long grasses where they can hide and stay cool.  If you let your lawn go a few weeks without mowing, the chances of ticks living it up in your long grass will increase.  Mow often and mow short for effective control.

If you find ticks are still a problem, it is time to get serious.  There are numerous products that can take out fleas and ticks for good.  Depending on your family, you will want to decide whether you want to use organic or synthetic methods which include Bifenthrin, Bug Blaster RTS, and Talstar.

Organics are better if you have kids and animals that use the yard regularly.  In my home, we not only have a child and a dog, but our guinea pigs love eating from the yard so we choose this method.  Try Essential -1 organic insect control.  This product hooks to your hose and mixes with water for a seamless application to the lawn.  We used this product at the O’Bryan house this year and have had no problems with ticks nor fleas for that matter.

Go on the defense

Defend your precious skin by using body sprays that contain citronella, lemongrass and other oils that have citrus scents.  Other oils that bugs hate the smell of are rosemary, mint, and lavender.

To keep ticks at bay, make sure to spray your ankles and shoes.  Ticks typically begin by crawling slowly but surely from the ground up.  If they smell the repellents, they will wait to hop a ride on someone else.  Organic sprays can also be sprayed on your pets that venture outside.

If you spray your whole body, you will have the benefit of warding off mosquitoes as well.

Plants can help

Looking at these organic products, you can see that they are chock-a-block full of plant oils, so why not plant these tick repelling plants and keep them from coming into your yard, to begin with.  The added bonus is that most of them are herbs that can be used in cooking.

Plant rosemary, mints of all kind, garlic, lemon balm and lavender and the bad, blood sucking bugs will keep moving to another yard that is more inviting to them.

Ticks can be very dangerous.  Being cautious and treating your lawn with an organic, responsible product can help with your peace of mind this Summer.