The weather has been nuts lately. Thermostats hit 90 degrees back in March. Yet it's almost May now and we're dealing with chilly, windy days. The one constant is that ticks are out full force.
Unfortunately we're sitting in the hotbed of Lyme disease. It is an epidemic in Loudoun County. You've probably heard that already. But, there’s no need to feel helpless; there is something you can do.
When going out . Use bug spray. Check for ticks. And when possible, go to the regional parks that have been sprayed for ticks (listed below).
To keep your home safe, consider creating a tick-free zone in your own back yard. With a little effort, you can feel safer in your own habitat by following these guidelines (download the pdf) from Congressman Frank Wolf’s office:
- Keep your grass cut short. Ticks love to hang out in high grass and hop on bare legs.
- Build a fence. Deer - the animals that usually transport Lyme-carrying ticks - can jump up to eight feet high, but they won’t jump over a fence through which they cannot see.
- Spray your own yard with a pesticide. Permethrin is the recommended active ingredient.
- In you have the space, landscape to discourage deer and ticks: Install deer resistant shrubs and plants (i.e. Achillea, Buddleia, Dogwood, Ferns, Forsythia, Sage and Thyme) at the outer edges of your lawn. Then, spread a nine-foot buffer area of wood chips or gravel. This - along with keeping your grass cut - is said to reduce ticks by 61-100%. (See image.)
Manassas-based Mosquito Squad provided the following additional tips, referred to as the 5Ts:
- Tip. Reduce standing water to eliminate mosquito threats, including those underneath and around downspouts, in plant saucers and dog bowls.
- Toss. Excess grass, leaves, piles, fire wood.
- Turn. Turn over larger items like children’s sandboxes, wagons or plastic toys.
- Remove tarp. If tarps stretched over firewood piles, boats or sports equipment aren’t taut, they’re holding water.
- Treat. Utilize a mosquito elimination barrier treatment around the home and yard. Using a barrier treatment at home reduces the need for using DEET-containing bug spray. Mosquito Squad’s eliminates up to 90% of the mosquitoes and ticks on a property.
Have fun out there. And, be safe.
Parks Treated for Lyme:
- Claude Moore Park
- Franklin Park
- Woodgrove Park
- Nell Boone Park
- Lucketts Park
- Conklin Park
- Phil Bolen Park
- Mickie Gordon Park