A tick is a tiny mite that sucks the blood of animals or humans to survive. Tick bites are not very painful, but they often itch when the tick's saliva causes an allergic reaction. Ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Colorado tick fever. There are more than 800 species of ticks, but the ticks most commonly found in backyards are the American dog tick, the blacklegged deer tick and the lone star tick. You can take steps to get rid of the ticks in your yard to lessen the risk of being infected with a tick-borne illness.
Mow your lawn. Ticks need grass that is higher than three inches to survive. Short grass keeps the humidity level low, and ticks need a higher humidity level to live. Close-cropped grass will keep ticks from your yard.
Remove debris in your yard and pick or mow all weeds. Rake up any dead leaves. Ticks love to hide in these places.
Take down bird feeders and bird baths. Birds may carry ticks and can drop them right into your yard.
Replace plants that deer like to eat with plants they hate. Deer are notorious for transporting ticks. Deer enjoy eating azaleas and rhododendrons, for example, but dislike daffodils and marigolds.
Spray your cleaned yard with a pesticide that contains the active ingredient cypermethrin (such as Demon WP) or bifenthrin (such as Talstar). These chemicals will kill ticks and their eggs. Be sure to follow all of the directions on the package for the safety of your family and pets.
Ticks also enjoy living in thick-growing plants like ivy. Cut back or totally remove these types of plants to reduce the number of ticks in your yard.
Have a family member check you thoroughly for ticks after working on the lawn to keep you from bringing any in the house.