As the warmer weather brings bright blooms to life, it also brings a less welcome addition to our gardens: ticks. These pests are not only annoying, but they can actually be dangerous if left to infest.
Ticks like to take big bites out of people as well as pets, and blacklegged ticks in particular carry Lyme disease. These ticks, also known as deer ticks, live throughout Ontario in woodlands, tall grass and bushes.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from these nasty critters is to cut them off at the source: your garden.
Tips for controlling ticks in your garden
Here are some tips for reducing tick-friendly hiding places around your yard:
- Ticks like darkness and moisture, so clear out any old piles of damp firewood, leaves or other yard waste that could be collecting water.
- Keep your grass short. Ticks are more often found in longer grass.
- Deer and mice are prone to carry ticks, so avoid plants that deer like to chomp on, and keep your eyes peeled for large populations of mice.
- Looking for a natural tick-tackling solution? Try planting chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium, which is known as a natural pesticide.
How to avoid being bitten by ticks
Bugs are a natural part of gardening, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them feast while you beautify your surroundings. There are a number of precautions that you can do to reduce ticks and other bugs’ ability to treat you like a snack.
For starters, wear light-colored, long pants. This will allow you to see when a tick has landed on you, and by covering your legs, it will also block the little pests’ access to your skin. If you are very concerned, you can also tuck your pants into your socks.
Protect your hands! Since you use your hands for everything from weeding to planting to watering to pruning, you need them to be in good, un-bitten shape. The new Dig It High 5 handwear has an extended cuff that provides additional protection up past your wrist. Not only does it offer the same hand and nail protection as our entire Dig It line, but the additional 5 inches of protection means less exposed skin for an intrepid tick to bite into. We’ve got you covered!
Lastly, when coming back into your house after an afternoon of gardening, do a quick tick check to make sure you’re not bringing any of them into the house with you.
Have a serious tick problem? Call in the pros
Because of the mild winter, many experts are predicting that ticks may be appearing earlier than normal this year, and that Lyme disease will be more prevalent. If you’re facing an anxiety-producing number of ticks in your yard, it may be time to call in professional pest control experts to handle it.
There are many options, from all-natural solutions to more robust insecticides if the natural route doesn’t work. If you are particularly concerned, the CDC outlines some recommended actions to take. However, by keeping a well-maintained yard free from debris, overly long grass and other environments that ticks prefer, most gardeners can keep the pests at bay themselves.