In the past few years, we have seen an explosion in the population of ticks in many parts of the country. Now, things like going to play in the park or kids tinkering around in the woods out back are cause for concern.
For most people, this summer is the best time in a long while to get outdoors and have some fun. We’ve been constrained in what we could do for over a year, and now it’s time to go out and enjoy the weather and be with friends and family.
The last thing you want to do is obsess over tick bites and, worse, have to deal with getting rid of ticks on you or your kids.
Thankfully, there are a good number of wild animals like ducks, swans, frogs, lizards, and other animals that love to eat ticks and can help with tick population control.
Being near to these animals and encouraging them to stick around can help you reduce the chances of getting bitten by a tick.
Here’s a list of some of the most common tick predators and what you can do to increase their numbers around you.
Common Tick Predators
If you’re not interested in raising chickens (who also love to eat ticks and other insects), there are some things you can do to increase the number of wild predators on your property.
Many people are surprised to hear that possums are the most voracious tick-eaters around. Every year, a possum will consume thousands of ticks. These nocturnal hunters love to seek out ticks.
A lot of property owners see a possum on their property and immediately start to worry and think about how to get rid of them. If you’re worried about ticks, though, you should leave them be and know that they’re doing a great job of keeping your yard tick-free.
In addition to possums, you should know that birds like wild turkeys, guineafowl, and ducks and swans, love to eat ticks as well.
Before you start setting up fencing to keep those wild turkeys from strolling across your lawn, just remember that they’ll vacuum up any ticks while they are on your property.
Squirrels are known for tracking down acorns, but they also enjoy eating many types of insects. So, if you have some trees in your yard, don’t get rid of them!
Squirrels will scamper down when you’re not around and go through your grass and comb the base of the tree looking for ticks and other types of bugs.
Finally, frogs, lizards, and other reptiles eat insects as a large part of their diet, and ticks are small enough to be a good snack for most reptiles you’ll find in your yard.
How You Can Help Get Rid of Ticks
Promoting an environment where wild predators can come in and get rid of your ticks is a great idea. Simply not discouraging them is a good step, but there are also steps that you can take to make things easier for squirrels, birds, and other natural predators.
Likewise, some general landscaping practices will also help you keep tick numbers very low.
Here are some easy ideas:
Install Some Mulch – With a mulch barrier around your yard, it will be much more difficult for ticks to make their way into your grass or bushes and set up camp. The rougher terrain is harder for them to get through, and if they do try to cross, it’s easier for predators to see them.
Cut Your Grass Short – Long grass makes it easier for ticks to hide and move around protected. Shorter grass gives them less cover so it’s easier for predators to spot them and catch them.
Trim your grass regularly to discourage them from moving around.
Also, don’t just cut the grass and leave the clippings laying around. Pick them up and get rid of them. Make sure you wear gloves and long sleeves when you do because there are probably some ticks in the grass piles.
Get Rid of Weeds – Perhaps more than grass, ticks look for weeds to offer a sanctuary against predators. They can hide and it’s harder for animals like squirrels to get to them there.
Indeed, a lot of tick bites happen when people venture into a thicker brush in the forest, so it’s natural to think that more ticks live there. Stay on top of weeds in your yard or garden and that will go a long way in keeping tick numbers low.
Find a Good Pest Control Company – Of course, you can always leave solving your tick problem to the experts. Not everyone can just wait for a flock of wild turkeys to come around.
If you’re worried about ticks and don’t have a lot of natural wild predators near you, look for a pest control company that can come and treat your property for ticks. They will have years of experience in the area and will know what needs to be done to get rid of them for good.
Treat Your Yard Yourself – You can also try treating the lawn yourself to save some money. Most neighborhood hardware or lawn and garden stores will have tick treatment solutions available. Give some a try and see what works.
Preventing Tick Bites
You can go to great lengths to eradicate tick populations, but sometimes they just seem to keep on coming. Especially in the summer, ticks can seem to be everywhere, and things like taking your dog for a walk or letting your kids outside to play in the yard can be worrisome.
Prevention is a great way to limit the risk of tick bites and keep everyone safe. The best thing you can do is wear long sleeves and pants whenever you’re out playing in the woods or walking through long grass. To be extra careful, tuck your pants into your socks to stop ticks from crawling under your pant legs.
Spray you and your family with some tick-deterring bug spray.
Whenever you come back inside from a trip through brush or in forested areas, inspect yourself, the kids, and any pets for ticks. You should go inch by inch over the body to make sure you don’t miss any spots.
Ticks are small, so it’s easy to confuse them for a mole or something else like that. Take your time and, hopefully, if you do find any ticks, it will be before they take a bite.
Finally, if you’re extremely worried about ticks, you can always avoid tick-infested areas. Many local governments post warnings about places where there have been a higher number of reported tick bites. Steering clear from these forests or parks can reduce the chances of getting bitten.
The Final Word
Thankfully, we live in a world where, in general, ecosystems balance. Ticks are a pain, but there are a lot of wild predators out there to keep their numbers in control.
What happens, though, is that as humans take measures to push things like reptiles and squirrels out, ticks have free reign. Doing some small things to encourage wild predators to come and eat up all of your ticks could be the prevention tip you’ve been looking for.