One way to keep ticks away from your home is to landscape your yard so that it will be less desirable for ticks. Ticks prefer to live in shady, humid, overgrown areas, especially in tall grass and overgrown vegetation. Ixodes pacificus (western black-legged ticks) are not usually found out in open, sunny, manicured areas such as mowed lawns.
To create a tick-safe yard through landscaping:
- Keep your lawn and decorative plants trimmed and well maintained.
- Remove leaf and grass litter from your yard.
- Create a tick barrier at the edge of your property by putting down a 3-foot gravel or wood chip border between your lawn and any unmaintained or overgrown natural areas that you may live next to (such as chaparral or woodland areas).
- Move yard furniture and swing sets away from the edges of the yard to more open and sunny areas.
For more information on chemical control of ticks and landscaping practices that may reduce tick prevalence, please refer to:
- The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station's Tick Management Handbook.
- California Department of Public Health Controlling Tick Around Your Home
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Preventing Ticks in the Yard webpage
Keep Ticks Off Your Pets
Ticks are the ultimate hitchhikers – they can easily grab onto a pet or other animal that might be exploring in tall grass or overgrown areas. Pets can then bring ticks back home into your yard or house. Protecting your pets against hitchhiking ticks helps keep you and your pets from getting diseases that are transmitted by ticks.
- Talk to your veterinarian about tick control medication for your pets. Some products can be applied directly on your pet, and others can be given by mouth. For additional protection against Lyme disease in dogs, there is a canine Lyme disease vaccine available.
- Keep your animals out of overgrown and brushy areas.
- Check your pets daily for ticks, especially after they have been outdoors in brushy, overgrown areas. If you find any ticks on your pets, remove them right away. Learn where to check your pets for ticks: CDC Preventing Ticks on Your Pets webpage.
Keep Wild Animals Out
In nature, ticks feed on wild animals such as rodents, deer, and birds. One way to keep ticks away from your home is to keep wild animals out of your yard and away from outdoor areas where people spend time.
- Use 8-foot fences to keep larger animals such as deer out of your yard and garden.
- Keep trash cans closed and away from your house to discourage rodent and other animal activity.
- Keep woodpiles neatly stacked and away from your house to reduce areas where rodents might live.
- Do not overfill bird feeders, since the extra food may attract rodents and other animals. Keep bird feeders away from outdoor areas where people spend time to reduce interactions between wild animals and humans.