Tick Management Programs
Grassman's Tick Control and Management
The incidence of tick-borne diseases, particularly Lyme disease, has increased dramatically in recent years. This is due largely to reforestation and the increase of wildlife that hosts ticks. In 2002, a record-setting 4,631 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Connecticut alone-the highest number in the United States. And, unfortunately, Lyme disease affects its victims for the rest of their lives.
Of course, the trouble with ticks is that you can barely see them! Therefore, the key to controlling ticks is by understanding their life cycle and habitat. With this crucial knowledge, we at Tick-Be-Gone can get to them before they get to you. So, protect your friends, family and pets against Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses, and enjoy peace of mind by implementing a tick management program with Tick-Be-Gone. Our goal is to reduce the tick population in an affected area by 90-95% within a year, and 100% reduction is not uncommon.
Where do ticks live and where should you spray to eliminate them?
Properties that border woodlots present the most risk. Therefore, we treat:
- The first 10' border of grass that meets the woods, plus 15' to 20' into the woods
- Tall grass and weeds
- Low brush (up to 36")
- Ornamental groundcover in shaded areas
- Unpruned landscape beds where sunlight can't penetrate
- Stone walls
- Leaf litter
- Brush and woodpiles
- Beneath porches and sheds, because rodents seek shelter in these areas
- Around bird feeders, where rodents and birds congregate
To spray or not to spray?
Research shows that pesticides are most effective at reducing ticks when combined with landscape changes that decrease tick habitat. Effectively treating for ticks throughout the year, and at the proper stage of their life cycle, dramatically reduces the number of ticks around your property.
Ticks are extremely small and require very little spray for quick control-usually 1½ ounce of insecticide mixed with 100 gallons of water. We use an odorless, low-dosage insecticide made by Bayer. It is safe enough to be labeled for indoor use and is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Connecticut. Your property will be usable approximately 1 hour after treatment.
Everyone's favorite question: "How much does this service cost and how many treatments are needed?"
The size of one's property and how much tick habitat requires treatment determine the cost. Typically, three treatments (in spring, summer and fall) do the trick, because in these seasons the treatments interfere with the tick's life cycle. However, tick density and the population of host animals vary by property, and these factors ultimately determine how many treatments will be required. For example, on thickly-wooded, tick-dense properties, we many need to use an additional application and schedule treatments closer together. Please call or e-mail Grassman for a free evaluation and estimate.
Have you or anyone you know been bitten by a tick?
Ticks may carry infectious bacteria that can affect you, your children, and your pets for the rest of your lives!
A misconception we hear from people is, "I have no deer on my property, and therefore I must not have any ticks." Wrong!
Chipmunks, mice (particularly the nocturnal white footed mouse), birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and wild turkey all carry ticks. If any of theses animals frequent your yard or surrounding areas, you are at risk.
Pets Get Lyme Disease, Too
People usually associate Lyme disease only with human beings, but it also is a threat to dogs and cats. Almost every pet owner in Connecticut has encountered a tick on their pets. The dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) and the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) are the two ticks most commonly found in Connecticut. Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Deer ticks are extremely small, about the size of a pinhead. Their life cycle consists of four stages and takes about 2 years to complete. Throughout their life cycle, they need blood meals to pass from larva, to nymph, to adult, and this is where your pets play a vital role. Ticks can easily go undetected in your pet's fur for days, which is why we recommend doing DAILY tick checks. Using tick-prevention products recommended by your veterinarian, such as Frontline and Topspot, is strongly suggested, especially if you take your pets off your property and into an area that may have a dense population of ticks.
Pets can carry ticks into your house and expose everyone to a tick bite. Ticks can live in your house for up to 3 days before drying up due to a lack of moisture. Sleeping with your pets puts you at risk because a tick can easily migrate to you in the middle of the night and go undetected. Using a containment system for your pets (i.e. fencing or even invisible fencing) and implementing a tick management program within this area will drastically lower your pet's exposure to ticks.
Developing A Tick Management Plan
The establishment of homes in wooded areas has increased the potential for contact with wildlife and ticks. The abundance of the black-legged deer tick is directly related to the abundance of white-tailed deer. Several approaches can be taken to avoid exposure to ticks and reduce their numbers on your property.
To reduce exposure to ticks, wear a hat to help keep ticks out of your hair, wear light-colored (to aid detection) and tightly woven clothing, tuck shirts into pants and pant legs into socks, use repellents and inspect frequently for crawling ticks. In addition, avoid short-cutting through heavily wooded areas, stay in the center of paths and avoid sitting on the ground.
Unfortunately, most people don't remember to follow these guidelines on a daily basis, so environmental management may be necessary in high-risk areas.
The key here is to make the environment as inhospitable to ticks as possible while maintaining the type of landscape you desire. This includes:
- keeping grass cut short
- removing brush/woodpiles from the property
- keeping the property free of leaf litter
- trimming vegetation around the property to allow air flow and sunlight
- neatening stone walls to deter chipmunks and other such rodents
- moving bird feeders away from areas that you will be using
- avoiding landscape plants that deer like to eat
- installing fences to prevent deer from frequenting your property.
- reducing ground cover in areas of your property that are not be exposed to sunlight
In some situations, adding a 3-foot-wide landscape border consisting of mulch or crushed stone around the perimeter of your lawn will help to reduce ticks on your lawn. Installing crushed stone beneath decks and sheds will help to deter rodents and ticks. Using crushed stone or mulch in all your landscape beds will help to reduce tick habitat.
The use of a low-dosage insecticide is currently the most effective means of reducing ticks in residential and recreational areas. With just one application, we can significantly reduce the number of ticks and lower the risk for exposure to Lyme disease. Most critical is the timing of the applications. Treating the nymphal ticks when they reach their activity peak in the spring and summer keeps the numbers down throughout these high-risk periods. Fall (September/October/November) is another crucial time for control of the adult tick.
Our goal is to reduce the tick population in the areas treated 90% to 95% by year's end, and 100% control is not uncommon. Tick-Be-Gone services the entire state of Connecticut.