Protect your family and pets from pest infestation
Backyard ticks are tiny parasites that thrive on the blood of humans and animals. Australia has around 75 tick species, 16 of which feed on humans. A tick bite is sometimes uncomfortable and disturbing, and it can lead to several symptoms and diseases like rickettsia infections.
Pets are also vulnerable and may suffer from illness, paralysis, or death. Therefore, preventive and corrective measures must be taken to avoid the severe consequences of ticks to human and animal health and this article will show you how.
Where do ticks come from?
Some people have the misconception that ticks drop down from tree branches, but they’re actually closer to the ground. Their favourite hiding spots include unmown areas with tall grasses and weeds.
Ticks usually move onto animals and humans that brush against weeds and grasses, and then they climb upward and look for a spot to bite and feed. Around 75% of tick bites happen during usual home activities like backyard play and gardening.
Effective methods to prevent ticks in the garden
Driving ticks away from the lawn is not a one-step process. Sad to say, there is no silver bullet available that can immediately resolve a homeowner’s tick concerns. Several things must be done to achieve the best results:
- Trim grass regularly.
- Avoid excessive watering of plants.
- Use pesticides outdoors to manage ticks.
- Make a tick-safe zone.
- Put plants that deter ticks away from the backyard.
- Create your own natural tick repellent.
- Seek professional pest control services.
Trim grass regularly
Some types of ticks hate hot and dry environments. The temperature gets cooler as the grass grows taller because the blades provide shade. As such, leaving a thick lawn is not a good idea for areas that are rich in ticks. Experts say it’s alright to let the grass grow to about 10cm. Trim them down to approximately 7cm every cut, which is a length promotes healthy growth. Cutting them too short will shock the grass.
Avoid excessive watering of plants
Poorly drained lawns serve as an invitation to ticks. Although watering the plants is up to the owner, they should look out for areas that do not drain well, as these areas must be aerated.
Use pesticides outdoors
Pesticides help reduce the tick population in the treated areas, but make sure to follow the instructions stated on the label and do not rely solely on spraying pesticides to decrease the risk of infection.
Before you spray, consult with the local health officials or agricultural specialists regarding the most effective type of pesticide to be used, the right time to apply the pesticide in the area and the rules and regulations related to using pesticides in residential properties.
Experts recommend spraying the entire perimeter of the home (windows, foundation, door frames) as baseline protection. This applies to ticks and other unwanted insects as well. After treating the perimeter, spot-treat also areas where ticks are likely to hide –including underneath landscaping rocks, low-hanging trees, and moist or shady areas.
Create a tick-safe zone
Aside from cutting grass, other simple landscaping techniques can help reduce tick populations. Always remember, neatness is a big factor when it comes to getting rid of ticks. Here are some tips on how to make a tick-safe zone:
- Discard leaf litter. Ticks become more active in cold weather since they are looking for a warm body. Leaf litter serve as the ideal habitat.
- Remove tall grasses and clean the edge of the lawns.
- Put a 1m wide wood chip or gravel barrier between wooded areas and lawns to prevent tick migration into residential areas.
- Store wood neatly in a dry area (this will also discourage rodents) and avoid leaving bundles, lying around the area.
- Keep decks, playground equipment, and patios far from trees and yard edges.
- Prevent unwelcome animals like possums from entering the yard by building fences. Ticks use mammals to travel. Driving away the big animals will help manage the tick population in the yard.
- Take away mattresses, furniture, and trash from the yard that may provide ticks with a place to hide.
- Rodents should also be controlled since they can serve as carriers of ticks, so expect ticks where there are mice. Rubbish bins attract rodents, so place these far from the backyard.
Include tick-repelling plants in your gardens
If you want to stay away from chemicals, use plants that naturally drive away ticks. For example, the Chrysanthemum Cinerariaefolium has high amounts of natural pyrethrin that naturally dispel ticks. Other plants that serve as natural tick repellents include:
Create your own natural tick repellent
There are also recipes for natural repellents available such as cedar oil, neem spray, and diatomaceous earth. Below is a simple recipe for a citrus-based repellent:
- Boil 2 cups of water.
- Add 2 chopped limes, lemons, grapefruit or oranges – either alone or a combination of these.
- Allow it to boil for a minute or so. Simmer the concoction for at least 1 hour.
- Strain the fruit pulp and allow the mixture to cool down.
- Put the mixture in a sprayer and apply it in areas where ticks may hide.
Seek professional pest control services
Chronic tick problems may need to be dealt with by a pest control expert. They use sprays that eliminate ticks on contact long with tick tubes, which are biodegradable cardboard tubes that contain permethrin-treated cotton balls (mice will use the cotton balls to build nests. The ticks that feed on mice will die upon exposure to permethrin).
Contact Vital for Pest Inspection in Western Sydney
Aside from protecting your family and pets from pests like ticks, you must also protect your property against destructive pests such as termites. Have your property inspected by a pest inspector at least on a quarterly basis as part of preventive measures.
Also, for your termite pest inspection needs, contact Vital Building and Pest Inspections. Our team provides a comprehensive report that enables home and building owners to make wise decisions like pest and termite control. Our pest inspection report contains information on the current infestation, existing damage, and areas at risk of infestation.
For enquiries or to book a pest inspection, feel free to reach us on 0401 012 074 from Monday to Saturday, 7 am to 9 pm, or email us at [email protected]. Alternatively, feel free to send us an online message by clicking here and one of our friendly team will get back to you as soon as they can.