There are many factors that cause ticks to be attracted to your yard.
Ticks love semi-darkness and high humidity, and will favor places with dense vegetation. So if you have a large yard, you might be struggling with an explosion in tick numbers in certain areas. With a severe infestation, the average residential lawn in the US can host even over 250 ticks on a quarter of an acre.
The weather is another important factor. Even though the peak season of tick activity begins in spring, the warm winters, high temperatures, and a mild climate in Georgia cause these loathsome pests to stay active all year round.
Keep reading to learn more about what kind of environment ticks thrive in, and what you can do to keep the lawn ticks away.
A tick infestation can easily start on your property as it only takes one tick. You or your pet might bring the pest into the home or yard after coming into contact with a tick in a wooded or bushy area. The tick can attach itself to your body and bury itself into your pet’s fur.
Sometimes humans and animals act as hosts for ticks, which causes tick-borne diseases a serious health problem.
– Weather Conditions
Tick activity goes up as soon as the temperatures rise. A consistent temperature of 70-90°F will cause an increase in tick breeding and population.
On the other hand, extreme heat will cause ticks to die, particularly when high heat is combined with dry and sunny weather.
All species of ticks thrive in darkness, and warm, humid, and rainy weather. They need at least 80% humidity most of the day to survive. Therefore, they tend to congregate in shaded, moist areas.
Ticks can become dehydrated and dry out during times of low humidity. This will cause them to become inactive, or go into diapause, a period when they stop developing due to unfavorable environmental conditions.
The favorite hiding spots for ticks include areas with unmown tall grass with weeds, damp soil, and plenty of shade.
Even if your lawn is cut short, they may still hide in the outer areas, where they can find low-lying ground cover plants, foundation plantings, or low-hanging shrubs, and use them as shelter. In fact, over 80% of ticks reside in the outer 9 feet of the lawn.
Ticks are also commonly found in moist ground litter, leaf piles and brush, low tree branches, and among other yard debris. They can also be found in yards that are close to woody areas and forests.
As they usually live in areas around ground level, they cling to vegetation, ready to jump off onto their next prey.
Wild animals such as deer, raccoons, and small rodents can bring ticks into your yard. Birds transport ticks as well. If you have a bird feeder or bird bath in your yard, it can attract ticks as the birds will bring and drop them off, letting them thrive on your property. This is especially true when the feeder is located in a damp and shaded area over the grass.
Unfortunately, ticks are able to lay eggs just about anywhere. They have been found to lay their eggs in any warm, damp, and soft place indoors or outdoors.
Even though this tiny pest is no larger than 0.08 inches, each one can lay thousands of eggs.
But there are some simple ways that will help you figure out if there are ticks in your yard:
Do a quick test, called a tick drag, to check if you have a tick infestation in the yard. Take a light-colored towel or sheet attached to a rod or stick, and drag it over the areas you suspect the pests might be hiding.
After pulling the towel through the yard, inspect it carefully for ticks. They will usually climb onto the towel, which helps in locating them. If you find any, transfer them into a sealed Ziploc bag and destroy them.
You can also inspect the yard manually using a flashlight. Check the following locations for signs of ticks:
– In areas of dense or tall grass.
– On trees and in landscaping bushes.
– Along brick, rock, or retaining walls.
– In piles of yard debris, firewood piles, and areas where leaves or other organic debris has accumulated.
– Places where your pets spend most of their time, such as outdoor kennels.
Check your outdoor pets for ticks after they’ve come back home. Run your fingers through their fur and press gently to feel for any hard bumps or a small mass that will indicate a tick. If you find ticks on your pet’s body, chances are they’ve picked them up in your yard.
Here are some great ways to keep ticks out of your yard:
– Check for ticks regularly, as described above.
– Mow frequently. Cutting your grass more often and keeping it well-maintained and free of weeds, can help rid your yard of these pests. This is because ticks don’t tolerate dry conditions and short vegetation.
– Prune back any dead tree branches. Trim any tall plants and shrubs. The vegetation may rub against people or pets that pass by.
– Clean up lawn clippings and remove piles of old leaves.
– Put down a barrier of mulch or gravel around your yard. The barrier will make it harder for ticks to migrate from the surrounding wooded areas.
– Introduce animals that are natural predators of ticks to naturally prevent tick infestation in your yard. The animals that feed on ticks include spiders, ants, and birds, chickens, frogs, squirrels, lizards, guinea fowl, and wild turkeys.
Also, opossums are one of the top tick predators. Opossums can eat up to 5,000 ticks per season, killing over 90% of the ticks they come across.
– Additionally, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time application of an acaracide tick pesticide, such as bifenthin, in the spring to greatly reduce the number of ticks in the yard.
Are ticks taking over your yard?
You don’t have to grin and bear it, hire an exterminator who can help eliminate ticks from your yard.
Contact us today – the team of tick control experts at American Pest Control in Athens, GA, are here to help! Using our professional outdoor pest control services is the best way to protect your yard from infestations of these harmful critters.