Five Natural Ways to Keep Ticks Off Your Property
Ticks are nasty little creatures; and to make matters worse, ticks and Lyme disease go hand-in-hand. With this in mind, it's very easy to understand why it is so important to find natural ways to keep ticks off of your property.
A Little about Lyme Disease
When ticks feed on your blood, the diseases they carry are allowed to enter into your system. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of the black-legged tick, a known carrier of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi – the cause of Lyme disease.
Once Lyme disease has entered the body, it typically produces symptoms such as:
- Erythema migrans - a characteristic skin rash
If the disease remains untreated, the ongoing infection becomes even more serious as it spreads into the heart, the joints and the nervous system. According to the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society, the disease can linger for many years causing a wide range of health issues, from painful joints and memory issues to acid reflux and panic attacks.
Diagnosis of Lyme disease is generally based on symptoms, physical findings and the possibility of one’s exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory tests are also used. Lyme disease can be treated through the use of antibiotics.
Steps can be taken to prevent Lyme disease. Typically advised methods are to use insect repellent, remove ticks promptly, apply pesticides and reduce tick habitat.
1. Eliminate Tall Grasses, Brush and Leaf Litter
Eliminate tall grass and brush as it is a favorite hangout for ticks.
Leaf litter is a favorite place to hide after feeding. Ticks fall from their prey and hide as they await their transformation into the next phase of development (larva to nymph to adult). Since leaf litter is a favorite spot in which to hide, clean up leaf litter as well.
2. Stack Firewood Neatly
Ticks are often found crawling around sloppily stacked woodpiles that are in shaded areas. Therefore, it is best to keep woodpiles neatly stacked in an area that receives sun every day. The wood will dry out faster, eliminating the moist wooded conditions that ticks enjoy.
3. Create Barriers
Create paths and other areas (buffer zones), especially around the edge of wooded areas on your property, using materials such as gravel and wood chips to deter ticks from entering your property or lawn.
4. Use Beautyberries to Repel Ticks
Plant American beautyberry bushes in areas where you want to repel ticks. Beautyberry leaves have been used to repel ticks. Since many birds relish the berries themselves, you will be providing a natural habitat for them as well.
5. Use Natural Predators
Guinea hens, chickens and fire ants are natural predators of ticks. Although I would never ever recommend anyone raise fire ants (I kill them whenever possible), guineas are an excellent choice in the battle against ticks.
Be sure you are allowed to have poultry on your property (many home owner’s associations don't allow) before implementing guinea hens or chickens.
Also, be sure to research the needs of guineas or chickens before going this route.
Grounding-feeding birds, such as robins, will also eat ticks. But, be aware that some birds actually carry ticks. So, be sure to keep all areas near birdbaths and feeders clear of brush, tall grasses, and debris which would encourage any ticks that the birds themselves carried in.
Hopefully, the ideas and methods shown here will assist you in your battle against ticks. Let me know what you think.