Although most ticks are harmless, some transmit diseases to both humans and animals. Neither Lyme disease nor Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) are a joy to have. And around 100 cases of RMSF pop up in Mississippi each year.
The problem is that you never know what ticks want a snack and which ones can leave you with a fever, muscle or nerve pain, and even arthritis.
The best strategy for dealing with ticks is always prevention.
Whether that means tucking your pants into your socks or using a tick repellent in your yard, there’s no wrong way to avoid ticks as long as its proactive.
Here’s how to find the right tick prevention for your yard:
The Types of Ticks in Mississippi
Unlike New England and the Midwest, Mississippi isn’t a hotbed for tick-borne illness – at least not comparatively.
But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have ticks – or disease.
According to the Mississippi Department of Health and Mississippi State University, we have 19 types of ticks crawling around our state. The majority of the local ticks prey on livestock: cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and deer. Others are specific to poultry or bats.
The most prominent tick is the Lone Star tick. It’s nonspecific and is happy to feed on anything. More importantly, it’s not only the most abundant tick, but it is also a potential agent of a Lyme-like illness found in the South. These little pests live in every county in Mississippi, including rural and urban areas.
How to Create a Tick-Free Zone
Issues like RMSF and Lyme disease are rarely reported in Mississippi, but that doesn’t mean you want ticks to run rampant in your yard.
There’s only one right way to get rid of ticks in your yard and that is a tick killer insecticide.
But even then, when, where, and how you spray can render the treatment more or less effective.
We’ll get into good tick sprays in a moment, but first, let’s explore what you need to do to prep your lawn for tick prevention.
Making Sure the Spray Reaches the Ticks
You can’t just spray the yard and hope for the best with a tick infestation. You also need to make your yard a dangerous place for them to be.
In most cases, creating an inhospitable environment means removing places for them to hide. Ticks love long grass, leaves, shrubs, and trees. Eliminating tall grasses and brush is critical.
Before you spray (and going forward on a regular basis), you should get rid of all the leaves from the treatment area and clear the tall grass around your lawn and home. You also need to mow the lawn frequently. The grass shouldn’t reach past your ankles.
Do you use firewood? Keep it neatly stacked and away from your lawn. The same goes for anything waiting to go to the dump (old mattresses, sofas, etc.). There should be nowhere for the ticks to hide.
By keeping your lawn neat, you remove their hiding places and ensure that the spray you use is more likely to reach them.
However, you also need to create barriers.
Put a Barrier Between Your Yard and the World
You aren’t going to spray the entire world for ticks, so you need to create a barrier between your haven and nearby areas.
Ideally, you should keep anything you intend to spend time on away from trees or the edges of your yard. These things include patios, decks, and playground equipment. Place these areas within the confines of the treated area.
If you live in an area known for ticks, use gravel or wood chips between your lawn and other areas, like wooded areas or grassy places. Make the barrier at least three feet wide. It serves as a tick’s version of the child’s game hot lava. Crossing the barrier is difficult for these tiny pests, and it prevents the ticks from wandering into your yard.
How to Choose the Right Tick Prevention for Your Yard
In addition to keeping your yard clear and inhospitable to ticks, you need an insecticide to kill them off and prevent them from coming back. A regular insecticide program is essential to control ticks.
Insecticides come in two formats: liquid and granular. Both are important for medium- and long-term protection from ticks (and other pests).
What Are Liquid Insecticides for Ticks?
Liquid insecticides provide broader protection from ticks when sprayed on problem areas, like areas without direct sunlight or where tall grasses and shrubs thrive. Ticks breed in shaded areas that trap water.
You also want to spray around the foundation of your home or outdoor areas like your doghouse or kennel to prevent ticks from crossing the boundaries.
The best active ingredients are pyrethrins (also found in granular insecticides) commonly combined with insect growth regulators such as novaluron and pyriproxyfen. While insect growth regulators do not promote quick kill of insects, they disrupt their ability to mature and subsequently breed.
Remember that even chemical sprays work best indoors, so they break down after periods of high rain or in Mississippi’s high humidity.
What Are Granular Insecticides for Ticks?
A granular tick pesticide is a dust-like pesticide, but the particles are bigger and coarser because they come from ingredients like corncobs and walnut shells. These particles receive a coating of an active, tick-killing ingredient, which releases slowly.
Common ingredients in granular insecticides include bifenthrin, clothianidin, permethrin, indoxacarb, and imidacloprid . Pyrethrum pesticides come from the Chrysanthemum flower, and are a natural insecticide effective against ticks as well as ants, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies.
These insecticides are ideal for use in yards because they stay put and prevent the active ingredients from drifting outside the treatment area. They also withstand rain and irrigation, so they work longer than liquid technologies.
Protect Your Yard and Your Family
We have 19 species of ticks in Mississippi. While we don’t suffer from the same rates of Lyme disease or RMSF as they do in the north, there is still a risk.
Using tick prevention for your yard is the best way to limit the number of ticks on your property. Both liquid and granular insecticides do the trick, but the combination of ingredients you use depends both on your yard and the other types of protection you want.
At Synergy², we do pest control your way and apply our liquid and granular insecticides in a way that makes sense for your yard – with no long-term agreements. Click here to learn more about what we do and what areas we service.
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