Keeping Ticks Away

Tips for making sure these bugs don't bite.

Ticks Are a Garden Nuisance

Ticks Are a Garden Nuisance

Avoid and treat ticks.

Avoid and treat ticks.

Ticks. Just the word makes my skin crawl and head itch. Unfortunately for me, since moving to a house in the woods, spring means ticks, and lots of them. Which means the risk of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme diseaseRocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichia. So what’s a gal with a healthy fear of disease-carrying parasites to do.

I’m determined to keep my yard and body tick-free, so I’m reading up on how to best ward off the little beasties. Repellent-wise, the Centers for Disease Control and my entomology pals at the University of Tennessee both agree that bug repellants with DEET as a main ingredient are the best chemical repellent for all arthropods (the bug group that ticks fall into). Mosquitos are arthropods as well, so you’ll be doubly protected.

Not down with the DEET? You can try a natural repellent containing rose geranium oil, but your best bet is creating a barrier with your clothing. Before heading out into potentially tick-infested areas (high grass and heavily wooded areas), make sure you’re wearing long pants and sleeves. Ticks can’t fly; they crawl up from the ground or drop down from trees. So, tuck your pant legs into your socks and wear a hat to keep the little suckers at bay. Additionally, wearing light colors makes ticks easier to spot.

Fashion has to take a backseat when we’re dealing with ticks, guys.

Lastly, you can take measures in your yard to reduce the number of potential pests. Your biggest defense? Mow the lawn. Mowing the grass decreases tick “questing,” which is the way they stalk their prey…meaning you. It also increases the temperature, meaning fewer cool clumps of tall grass to hide in, and ticks don’t like the heat.

Sometimes the drawback to living in a beautiful outdoor landscape is dealing with nature’s smallest predators. Do you have a tick problem where you live, or are you plagued by other pests? We'd like to know how you combat these blood-suckers.

Next Up

How to Remove a Tick

Forget the folk remedies and pick up the tweezers.

Keeping Mosquitoes at Bay

A female mosquito typically lays several broods of eggs, and she needs only a thimbleful of water. Here are some non-chemical approaches to managing the mosquitoes in your yard.

How to Keep Yellow Jackets Away

How to avoid this wasp in bee’s clothing.

Stink Bugs in the Garden

Because the stink bug releases its unpleasant scent when crushed, drowning may be preferred to squashing.

House Centipede

Harmless and even beneficial, this insect can point to other problems in the home.

Pleasing Fungus Beetle

These large beetles do their best work at night: feeding on wood-destroying fungi.

Invite Dragonflies Into Your Garden

Inviting dragonflies into your garden can provide a lot of magic and fewer mosquitoes.

Wheel Bug

A member of the assassin-bug family, the wheel bug is a beneficial insect.