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MANAGING TICKS ON YOUR
Prepared by Kirby C. Stafford III, Ph.D. (March 2005)
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, 123 Huntington St.-Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504
(203) 974-8485, Web site: http://www.caes.state.ct.us
In Connecticut, the two most common ticks are the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis,
which is commonly known as the deer tick, and
the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis
. The establishment of homes in wooded areas has increased the potential for contact with wildlife and their ticks. You can reduce the number of ticks near your home by landscaping changes, manipulating or treating tick hosts, and the selective application of least-toxic pesticides. Most people acquire Lyme disease from the nymphal stage of the “deer” tick, which is active during late spring and summer. Therefore, most control efforts are targeted towards the nymphal stage. Adult I. scapularis
are active in the fall, warm days of winter, and spring. More detailed information is available in the Experiment Station’s Tick Management Handbook or other fact sheets (available on our website).
Landscape modifications . . .
Exclude key wildlife . . .
Deer ticks are most abundant in the woods where hosts for Deer are important to the reproduction of the the tick flourish and ticks find high humidity levels
deer tick. The exclusion of deer from large
necessary for survival. On lawns, most deer ticks (82%)
areas by fencing and reductions in the deer
have been recovered within 9 feet of the lawn edge,
population has been shown to reduce tick
especially areas adjacent to woods, stonewalls, or
abundance. For example, deer tick larvae,
ornamental plantings. Fewer ticks are found in the sunny,
nymphs and adults were reduced by 100, 85,
manicured areas of the lawn. Ticks may also be found in
and 74%, respectively 300 feet within an
groundcovers such as Pachysandra
area surrounded by an electric deer fence.
Fencing smaller areas probably would not be as effective without the addition of other management strategies (eg. landscape modifications, perimeter barrier application of an insecticide, bait boxes, etc.).
Don’t attract key wildlife hosts. . .
Discourage tick wildlife hosts (not all wildlife) by reducing targeted habitat and food sources. Clean up stonewalls near the home that provide shelter for mice and chipmunks. Place woodpiles away from the house.
Create a tick safe zone by altering the landscape to
increase sunlight, reduce tick habitat and discourage
rodent hosts. Create a clearly defined, manicured border.
A dry wood chip, tree bark, mulch, or gravel barrier
between woods and lawn can reduce tick migration into
the lawn. The removal of leaf litter at the lawn perimeter
also can help reduce the number of I. scapularis
on the lawn. Landscape modifications include:
• Prune trees, mow the lawn, and clear leaf litter and
brush, especially along edges of the lawn, stonewalls,
completely resistant from deer damage, some plants are highly
• Move play sets away from the woodland edge.
susceptible to deer browse. Plant the most deer resistant plants
• Restrict groundcover in areas frequented by family.
along the edge of the property to deter deer from including your
• Adopt some landscaping practices such as gravel
landscape as part of their feeding territory. A list of susceptible and
pathways, mulches, decking, stone, tile, and other
resistant annuals, periennials, shrubs, and trees is available in
hardscapes around the home. Wildflower meadows,
Experiment Station Bulletin No. 968 Limiting Deer Browse
herbal gardens, etc. have very few ticks and may be
Damage to Landscape Plants. A deer repellent may also reduce the
an acceptable alternative to grass in some areas.
Chemical control . . .
Acaricides (pesticides or insecticides that kill ticks) may be applied to lawns and woodland edges to kill ticks around the home. Many pesticide products are restricted to licensed commercial pesticide applicators. Both liquid and granular formulations have been reported effective against I
. A sufficient spray volume and pressure for thorough coverage and penetration of the vegetation and leaf litter is needed. Wooded areas adjacent to the home should be treated for maximum effectiveness.
TIMING AND FREQUENCY OF APPLICATION:
The optimum time for an
application to control the nymphal deer ticks would be mid-May to early June. A
single application of most insecticides is sufficient for the summer tick season. A
fall application may be used to control adult I. scapularis
(with an early spring
application if no fall application was made).
Acaricides labeled for the control of ticks in the residential landscape include the following chemicals.
Information is intended as a guide, always read and follow EPA approved label on product container.
(Talstar®, Ortho® products). A restricted use pyrethroid insecticide for use by licensed applicators only.
(Sevin®). Carbamate insecticide. A common garden insecticide, some products are for commercial use only.
(Tempo®, Powerforce™). A pyrethroid insecticide. Most products for commercial licensed applicator use
only, some homeowner formulations now available. One of the most commonly used commercial products for tick control.
(DeltaGard®). A pyrethroid insecticide that can only be used by licensed applicators.
(Scimitar®, Demand®). A restricted use pyrethoid insecticide for use by licensed applicators only.
(Permethrin, Mosquito-Off®, Astro®, Ortho® products, Bonide® products,, Tengard® SFR, others). A
pyrethroid insecticide. Some are concentrates and some are ready to spray products, mainly for homeowners.
. (Pyrenone®, Kicker®, Organic Solutions All Crop Commercial & Agricultural Multipurpose Insecticide®)
Pyrethrins are derived from the chrysanthemum flower. They are often combined with the synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO), which increases the killing power of pyrethrin, or insecticidal soap. Only a combination of pyrethrin and PBO with either insecticidal soap or silicon dioxide (diatomaceous earth) was found highly effective against ticks. Thorough coverage appears vital for these materials to be effective as there is little residual activity. Two applications may be required.
Note that the Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled chlorpyrifos (Dursban) and diazinon for residential
Treatment of Tick Hosts . . .
Maxforce® Tick Management System.
A rodent bait box that treats mice and
chipmunks with fipronil has been shown to reduce the tick population in a large-scale island community trial. The Maxforce TMS is available commercially through a licensed pesticide applicator. Maximum benefit is most likely if many residents within a neighborhood use the box. Boxes are placed every 30-60 feet around the lawn-woodland perimeter of the property and potential mouse nesting sites
Permethrin-treated cottonballs target larvae and nymphs of I
on white-footed mice. Product
effectiveness is dependent upon the collection of the cotton as nesting material from distributed tubes. No reduction in the number of infected, host-seeking deer tick nymphs in woodland and residential areas of about 4 acres or less was found in CT and NY trials. A reduction in nymphal ticks was reported in a Massachusetts study with the treatment of one 18-acre site.
Permethrin is labeled for passive application to deer in many states via the 4-poster deer feeding stations.
Licensed by the American Lyme Disease Foundation, the devices have been shown to reduce tick populations in treated neighborhoods by roughly 60-70% over several years of use (~1 per 120 ac). Use of the 4-poster device is not approved in all states and permits from state wildlife authorities may be required.
Use pesticides safely!
The pesticide label provides information on the active chemical ingredients, formulation, pests and sites for which it can be
legally used, directions for use, precautions, hazards to humans, wildlife and the environment, and first aid instructions. Always
read and follow pesticide label directions and precautions.
Not all brands of a particular pesticide will be labeled for area tick
control, check the label. Medical information about the active ingredients in a pesticide is available from the National Pesticide
, telephone (800) 858-7378
. Most of these chemicals are highly toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms
and application to or near water should be avoided.
Mention of a pesticide product does not constitute an endorsement by the CT Agricultural Experiment Station
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