It's not like I think ticks just magically disappear forever during the winter. I'm sure we all wish they would, but it isn't likely. At a friend's house last weekend, he found one on him. And naturally wasn't sure where it came from. And my nephew found two on him when he got off the ground from playing with his dog.

It's not even May. So I suspect this season will make up for last season's allegedly "light" year for ticks. We didn't have a lot of deeply cold weather, nor did we get that much snow around here. Granted, it kept snowing into the first two weeks of April, but this winter has been considerably more mild than last, which went a long way to controlling last summer's tick numbers.

But here's a few things you can do to try and mitigate them in your yard, according to

  • Remove leaf litter and brush from your yard. This will decrease the areas where ticks can hide.
  • Keep your lawn mowed to 3 inches or less. This lowers the humidity at ground level making it difficult for ticks to survive.
  • Create a 3-foot barrier of mulch or crushed stone around the outside of your yard. Ticks do not like to cross over dry areas.
  • Do not plant invasive plants such as Japanese barberry and glossy buckthorn. These plants provide the perfect habitat for deer ticks. If you already have these plants in your yard, consider removing them and planting native perennials or shrubs.
  • Increase sunlight by pruning the lower branches of trees or thinning out shrubs and hedges. This will cause ticks to dry out and die.

Obviously, you can also hire a professional to come and spray chemicals around. But seriously, hire a professional. Handling chemicals shouldn't be done by just anybody. Also, try to limit the number of rodents you have in your yard. Keep wood piles a little further away, and keep rock walls clear of vegetation. These are always traditional hiding spots for rodents, which larval ticks love to feed on.

As far as your person, take general precautions. Wear long clothing in the woods. Use DEET containing repellents. And most of all, every time you do engage in outdoor fun, make sure to check yourself all over for the blasted buggers. They love warm, moist areas on your body like armpits, and hair.

So be careful out there this summer, and don't let these stupid little arachnids get you down!


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