Gardening Tips and Highlights

Controlling ticks

and mosquitos

by Christine Yesko

 

Gardening isn’t always sunshine and roses. A major downside for many of us is confronting harmful insects, namely ticks and mosquitoes, which are at best a nuisance and at worst a source of disease. Here are tips on driving these pests out of your yard and garden and protecting yourself from their bites.

Ticks live in damp, humid environments, such as wooded areas and tall grass. You may wish to apply an acaricide (a pesticide used to kill ticks), but consult with a professional pesticide-application company for organic and non-organic options, and other information.

Make a three-foot-wide barrier zone between woodlands/wild areas and your lawn and garden that will discourage ticks from moving from the woods to the areas you use. This three-foot strip could be constructed of wood chips or gravel (less maintenance) or grass mowed short (more maintenance).

Take steps to prevent mice, which are actually the source where ticks pick up the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Remove wood piles and brush piles where they may nest. Mice do not like to travel without the cover of tall grass or brush. As much as possible, stay out of areas with dense, tall plants or moist woodsy conditions.

 

When you do enter these areas to tend to your plants, protect yourself by wearing a hat, long sleeves, long pants, tall socks, and shoes or boots. Wear light colors, as to spot ticks easily. After gardening, check for ticks, especially on exposed areas like behind the knees, inside the elbow, and behind the ear.

 

Standing water, even as little as water in a kiddie pool, watering can, or a wheelbarrow will be an ideal spot for mosquitos to breed. To avoid mosquitos, stay indoors during their most active times of day-the hours around sunrise and sunset. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and a hat. Sprays that contain DEET are most effective but follow directions when spraying on children. Also, remove tall weeds and excessive brush to eliminate the places where adult mosquitos rest during the day.