Tick Control in Lawns

An open, sunny, regularly mowed home lawn is not a welcoming place for ticks, particularly the lone start ticks that are significant pests over most of the state. Ticks need tall overgrowth that provides essential humid air and protection from direct sunlight. Ticks can wait in these areas for passing wildlife that will provide them with blood meals. However, ticks can also end up in some yards. Here are some actions to combat this problem.

Figure 1. Lone star tick female with a white spot on its back (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK).

Figure 1. Lone star tick female with a white spot on its back (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK).

Figure 2. Engorged female American dog tick (left) and unfed male and female (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK)

Figure 2. Engorged female American dog tick (left) and unfed male and female (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK)

 

Tick Management

Make Lawns Inhospitable For Ticks

  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Remove leaf litter and brush.
  • Prune low growing bushes to improve air circulation and let in more sunlight.
  • Granular and liquid formulations of several lawn and landscape insecticides (common active ingredients include bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and permethrin) are labeled for tick control. Treat a 6-foot to 10-foot boundary area between woods or overgrown areas and the lawn. There is no need to treat large mowed areas.

Discourage Wildlife

  • Keep woodpiles and bird feeders away from the house; they provide shelter and food for small animals.
  • Do not allow pet food to remain outdoors and accessible to wildlife.
  • Keep vegetation along fences cut short.
  • Use deer fences when practical, and select landscape plants that do not attract deer.
  • Concentrate management on areas where lawns border wooded areas. Ticks can drop from wildlife in these borders. Keep grass short along the boundary to woods. Consider a 3-foot wide barrier of woodchips or gravel to restrict movement into the lawn.

Protect Pets

  • Ticks and cats can pick up ticks and bring them into yards or homes. Many flea control products also repel ticks.
  • Check pets regularly for ticks and carefully remove ticks.

Protect People

  • Limit activity in areas overgrown with vegetation when possible.
  • Use repellents as needed.
  • Check regularly and remove them carefully.

(Note: Some information in this article came from Ticks in Your Yard: Here’s What to Do! from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts government website)

 

By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist

 

 

Posted in Human Pests