Have a Tick Free Yard

1. Practice Tick-Safe Landscaping

These techniques should be considered for making your home as tick free as possible. Ixodes ticks, the ticks that transmit Lyme Disease, need the higher humidity levels of the woodland to survive; they die quickly in drier environments. Increasing Landscape graphic of tick safe zone around a house exposure to sun and air by removing leaf litter, mowing the lawn and clearing tall grass and brush around houses and at the edges of lawns will reduce the numbers of ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Laying down wood chips or gravel where lawns butt up against wooded areas can reduce the number of ticks on grassy areas by creating a drying barrier.

(Graphic adapted from CT Agricultural Experiment Station)

2. Use Chemical Control

The use of pesticides to control tick populations is another highly effective option. Pesticide application to residential properties should be supervised by a licensed professional pest control expert and should be conducted when nymphal Ixodes populations are at their local peaks.

Permethrin is an insecticide that is effective in both killing and repelling ticks in your yard. The best time to apply permethrin to your yard for ticks in Fairfax County is between late March and early May.

A pesticide designed to kill ticks is sometimes called an acaricide. Acaricides can be very effective in reducing tick populations. If properly timed, a single application at the end of May or beginning of June can reduce tick populations by 68-100%. 

The Environmental Protection Agency and your state determine the availability of pesticides. Check with local health officials about the best time to apply acaricide in your area, as well as any rules and regulations related to pesticide application on residential properties. Or contact a professional pesticide company to apply pesticides at your home.

3. Discourage Deer

A relationship exists between the abundance of deer and the abundance of Ixodes ticks in the community. Tick populations do not decrease substantially unless deer are eradicated or considerably reduced. Constructing physical barriers and removing food, such as spilled bird seed, from your yard will discourage deer from entering your yard.  In addition, removing plants that attract deer and constructing physical barriers may help discourage tick-infested deer from coming near homes. Lists of deer-resistant plantings are available from garden centers, nurseries or local extension agents.

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