With experts warning of an abundance of ticks and an increased threat of Lyme and tick-borne diseases this year, summer gardening should be far more than seeding lawns and planting flowers, advises the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance, a national nonprofit dedicated to the eradication of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme. To significantly help reduce the risk of being bitten by infected ticks, TBDA recommends that homeowners and property caretakers create Low-Risk Tick Zones, which can easily be implemented and at minimal cost.
Following TBDA’s simple TICK-OFF Checklist is an easy, inexpensive guide to creating Low-Risk Tick Zones around the home. While the latest statistics about Lyme and tick-borne diseases can be disturbing, these simple outdoor and indoor measures can provide added protection against these diseases:
Tidy up by removing leaves, branches and debris, which create hiding places for ticks and their hosts
Install 3-foot wide gravel or wood chip barriers along the edges of stone walls, ornamental gardens and woodlot perimeters
Create gravel or wood chip pathways linking the house to frequently used outside areas
Keep woodpiles and bird feeders far away from the home as they attract rodents which ticks feed on
Open up areas to direct sunlight and keep lawns cut short to reduce the humid environment that ticks thrive in.
Form play and recreational areas at least 10 feet away from wooded edges; place playsets on wood chip beds and in sunny areas
Fully use patio and non-grass or non-vegetative areas as much as possible
"When making your home and property more attractive this time of year, it’s equally important to make it less attractive to ticks," said Robert Oley, who serves on the TBDA's Board of Directors and holds a Master's Degree in Public Health. "With an estimated three quarters of all Lyme disease cases acquired from ticks picked up during activities around the home, creating Low-Risk Tick Zones should be a priority in everyone’s landscaping and gardening plans."
For more information about preventing tick-borne diseases and other related topics, visit the TBDA website.
Disclosure: I received no compensation in any form for sharing this information.