Ticks may be one of the smallest summer pests in my neighborhood, but they’re also the scariest because they carry Lyme disease. I’ve had Lyme, my daughter had Lyme, her BFF two doors down had Lyme, and my dog got it twice.
I blame the herd of deer that live in my side yard for giving us all Lyme, a bacterial illness carried by tiny, black-legged ticks that live on woodland animals like deer, field mice, chipmunks, and my dog, Spot. This spring, I’m taking the ticks to war by:
- Going after the ticks shacking up with field mice
- Creating a tick barrier on the edge of my yard
DIY Tick Tubes
To get at the ticks living with the mice, I sprayed cotton with a permethrin (about $6 at home improvement stores), a pesticide that kills ticks but not mice, and stuffed the cotton in toilet paper tubes. Then I put the tubes in the brushy undergrowth in the woods edging my lawn.
My plan is that the field mice will use the cotton to build little tick-killing nests in my yard.
If that sounds like too much work to you, for $30 you can buy enough premade tick tubes online to cover up to an acre.
To make it hard for the ticks to walk into my yard, I cleaned the winter leaf debris from the edge of the woods surrounding the lawn.
If your yard is small enough (or your tick warfare budget is big), you can create a tick barrier by putting a yard-wide swath of mulch, stones, or gravel between the wooded areas of your yard and your lawn.
I also moved my daughter’s play equipment (a field hockey goal) to the center of the lawn to keep her away from the tick-filled woods.
If none of these options appeal to you, you can do what one tick-hating mom I know did — she moved her family from a wooded neighborhood to one with big houses on tiny lots where people, but not ticks, like to live.