You can reduce the number of deer ticks near your home by the way you landscape and maintain your property. Studies show that tick numbers can be cut by 50% or more by making simple landscape changes to your property. Every home can benefit, although results do vary from year to year and property to property.
Deer ticks live in the woods and are sustained by its higher humidity levels. They do not fly, jump or drop from above. Most Lyme disease cases are caused by the tiny nymphal deer tick which makes its home in leaf litter that accumulates on the forest floor, around stone walls and under groundcovers.
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you can and should make changes to your landscaped areas:
Most ticks on lawns are found in the transition area between the lawn and the woods. Create a zone-defense here. Increase light and reduce dampness. Thin tree branches that overhang the lawn to let in more light. Clear out low brush, vines and leaf litter each year. Keep weeds cut. Keep a well-manicured border with the woods. Install a wood chip, mulch or gravel barrier where your lawn meets the woods. The dry barrier makes it more difficult for the ticks to migrate.
Deer ticks feed on many small animals including mice and birds. These animals are responsible for infecting the deer tick with the Lyme disease. Discourage wildlife from entering your safe zone by reducing their habitat and food sources. Seal cracks in foundation, screen areas under porches and decks. Place woodpiles far from the house. Locate bird feeders outside of your tick safe zone. Consider suspending bird feeding in the spring and summer when nymphal ticks are most active.
Stone walls provide shelter for mice and small mammals that carry deer ticks. Clear away brush, leaf litter, fallen trees and rocks each year.
Deer are a critical component of the deer tick's life cycle. Don't attract deer to your tick safe zone by planting flowers, shrubs or trees they like to eat.