Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not jump. Only a few are found on maintained lawns. Instead, they tend to prefer shady areas where they wait for a host. Doug Tallamy of Bringing Nature Home says this:
Ticks do not run after us when we go into our yards. They climb up on vegetation and ‘quest.’ That is, they wait for us to walk by and then grab on when we do. So, one easy solution is to reduce your lawn to wide mowed paths, and then stay on those paths during periods of high tick infectivity (May and June in Southeast PA.) For me, staying out of the woods is not an option I choose to follow, so I remain vigilant. I (with a little help from my wife) check myself after I’ve been playing outside. Deer ticks like bare patches of skin near waste and sock bands or tight undies and with close inspection they can be easy to find. They also like to get between my toes. Fortunately, they avoid our hairy heads. When I find an embedded tick, I pull it off (sometimes I need tweezers for those tiny nymphs) and put Neosporin on the bite site. A Lyme researcher told me years ago that the Neosporin kills the Borrelia spirochete before it gets into the blood stream. I don’t know if that is true but I do know that I have never gotten Lyme disease when I follow this routine.Doug Tallamy, 2020,
Deer or Blacklegged Ticks
The blacklegged (deer) tick is a notorious biting arachnid named for its dark legs. Blacklegged ticks are sometimes called deer ticks because their preferred adult host is the white-tailed deer. In the Midwest, blacklegged ticks are called the bear ticks. Deer ticks are found primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, southeastern, and northcentral United States but extend into Mexico. This tick is of medical importance because of its ability to transmit Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, human babesiosis, Powassan encephalitis, and more.
How to Make Your Yard Tick Resistant
There are several things you can do to deter ticks in your yards:
- use natural plantings to encourage tick-eating creatures in your yard. These tick predators include frogs, spiders, birds etc.
- ticks do not like dry, sunny gardens, so plan accordingly
- ticks do like woodpiles, brush or leaf piles, and stone walls
- choose deer-resistant plantings as deer are primary tick carriers. Other options include deer fences and repellents
- Japanese Barberry has a higher incidence of ticks
- discourage raccoons, skunks, and opossums (all tick carriers) with tight-fitting garbage can lids
- keep your lawns cut low especially around features difficult to cut around. These include around trees, fence lines, play structures, sheds, shrubs, etc.
Personal Tick Protection
To decrease your risk of tick infection, you can try the following preventative methods:
- spray clothing with DEET repellent
- tuck pants into socks or boots in wooded areas
- wear light coloured clothing to spot them easier
- inspect children, pets, and yourself upon returning from wooded areas
- remove any ticks with tweezers