Habitat Modification

Leaf CleanupKeep Grass & Vegetation Cut

Since ticks lay in wait on vegetation for passing hosts, keeping grass and brush cut back around your yard and along pathways can reduce the chance of encountering questing ticks. Keep your lawn mowed, to a height of 3 inches or less. This will lower the humidity at the ground level, making it difficult for ticks to survive. Mice and other small mammal hosts will avoid these areas because they cannot easily hide or find food and nesting materials. By keeping the grass short, while also pruning trees to increase light and airflow, you can create a drier and less hospitable tick habitat. Consider removing dense plant beds close to your houses, such as ivy and pachysandra.

Remove Leaf Litter

Research has found that removing leaf litter in forested areas around homes can reduce nymphal deer tick populations by 73 to 100% during the peak months of activity. Larvae in areas where litter was removed were also controlled during the summer. Leaf litter was removed with hand rakes and blowers. As with vegetation management, by removing cool, moist cover you are making the area less hospitable to both ticks and their hosts. Remove any brush, weeds, leaf litter, and yard debris from in and around your yard. Rake back leaf litter and cut away undergrowth several feet into any woods that border your yard.

Discourage Host Rodent & Other Wildlife Populations

Reduce tick-carrying rodent populations near your home by removing leaf, brush, stone and trash piles. Consider storing firewood and lumber well away from your house and away from patios or decks. Reduce rodent and bird food supplies by moving feeders away from your house, storing bird seed in rodent-proof containers, securing garbage cans with spring top-lids, and cleaning up gardens every fall. Deer play a key role in the life cycle of Lyme disease-carrying ticks. Deer fences can significantly reduce these tick populations. Landscaping with plants that are not attractive to hosts may also be helpful.

Avoid Activity in Tick Habitats

Keep picnic tables and lawn furniture as far from woods, shrubs, and undergrowth as possible. Move children's play areas as far away as possible from woods or other overgrown sites. Consider using fences to keep children from entering tick habitat. Create your vegetable and flower gardens in the middle of large areas of open lawns and keep them well-maintained to avoid accumulating litter or debris.