Safety: Lyme disease

Because no method reduces tick abundance 100%, always practice personal protection and frequent tick checks if you live in an area where tick-borne diseases are common.

Specific Recommendations

Keep your property clean. Remove leaf litter and brush as far away from your house as possible. Prune low lying bushes to let in more sunlight. If you live in the woods consider cutting down some of the smaller trees, and rake up any leaves in areas you or children may frequent. This should be done every fall because ticks prefer to over-winter under leaf-litter.

Landscape Plantings. Deer(and hence ticks) are attracted to a variety of plants, bushes etc. planted near houses. Check with your local tree nursery to determine what plantings will not attract deer.

Woodpiles are a favorite harborage for mice and other small mammals which carry infected ticks. Try to keep your woodpile neat, off the ground, and in a sunny area or under cover where it remains dry.

Gardens (especially perennial) should be cleaned up every fall. Foliage left on the ground over the winter months only provides shelter for small mammals that may act as hosts for immature ticks.

Stone walls on your property should be avoided because they attract small mammals and increase the potential for ticks, especially in certain areas of the northeast. Though they may be beautiful to look at, stone walls should not be used as a "picnic table" during the late spring or summer months.

Lawns, especially shaded ones, may support tick populations in highly endemic areas. Keep lawns mowed on a regular basis and trim the edges. Fields may be mowed to keep them short, or if "planted in flowers", mow several paths through them so you may enjoy the wildflowers close-up without brushing against potential tick habitat. Mow the entire field in the fall and preferably with a rotary mower to avoid thatch build-up where mice and ticks may over-winter.

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