The tick epidemic in the northeast US has been getting worse each year, as lyme and other tick-borne disease rates are on the rise in the region, and in other areas of the US as well. Due to the public health threat posed by several tick species that are abundant in the northeast, most homeowners in the region are, at least, reasonably well informed about tick bite-prevention strategies.
Because deer ticks, also known as black-legged ticks, are abundant in areas containing tall grass, many homeowners in the northeast mow their lawns regularly. This is certainly a wise thing to do, especially since deer ticks can easily attach themselves to dogs and cats, allowing the bloodsucking arachnids to gain entrance into homes. Deer ticks, and other tick species, are also well known for the ease with which they attach themselves to humans by eagerly waiting on a blade of grass for a passerby.
In addition frequent lawn mowing, it is also important for residents to remove grass clippings and other forms of dead plant matter from their property in order to reduce residential tick populations. However, a recent study has found most types of lawn grass do not necessarily need to be mowed on a weekly basis in order to prevent tick bites.
USDA Forest Service research entomologists recently conducted a study on Massachusetts lawns in order to find the ideal grass length for optimizing bee-survival while also minimizing the risk of tick exposure. Although the researchers only studied 111 lawns in one single city, it was reassuring to learn that not a single deer tick was found. The researchers only looked for deer ticks, but they tested lawns that contained grass of varying lengths and mowing frequencies. While none of the lawns were significantly overgrown, the results indicated that a bi-weekly mowing schedule is likely sufficient for adequately controlling tick populations in residential areas of Massachusetts that are located closely to urban centers, as opposed to residential areas located near forested areas. Residential areas that are located near tick-heavy forested areas may need more stringent lawn care practices in order to keep ticks at bay.
Do you mow your lawn often in an effort to reduce the number of ticks on your property?