The best way to prevent tick-borne diseases is by preventing tick bites. Take precautions in areas that are likely to be infested with ticks. Ticks often prefer shady, moist areas in wooded and grassy locations and hitch rides on animals and birds. Spending time outdoors walking your dog, camping, gardening, or hunting could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people find ticks in their own yard or neighborhood. Ticks can be the size of a poppy seed. They are black and will hide any place they can. Check in between your toes, behind your knees and ears, hairline, belly button etc. They prefer warm and moist areas.
- To help repel ticks, spray yourself with EPA Approved products that contain Deet, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Read and follow the products’ directions before use.
- Treat your clothing and gear with products containing permethrin. Permethrin should NOT be applied to the skin. Read and follow the products directions before use.
- Walk in the center of trails and paths.
- Wear light colored clothing to help spot ticks more easily.
- Check yourself & your pet thoroughly for ticks after being outdoors.
- Shower immediately to help wash off any ticks that aren’t attached.
- Place clothes in dryer for 30 min on high heat to kill any ticks before washing.
If a tick is found remove it properly and place it in a plastic bag or bottle for identification and testing.
You can make your yard less attractive to ticks depending on how you landscape. Here are some simple landscaping techniques that can help reduce tick populations:
- Clear tall grasses, brush and leaf liter around homes and at the edge of lawns.
- Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
- Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
- Keep playground equipment, decks and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
- Remove trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.
- Apply pesticides to help control ticks in your yard.