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In the Landscape
● Remove leaf litter. Keep brush cleared.● Remove invasive bushes such as barberry and honeysuckle, which create safe havens for small rodents carrying ticks, protecting them from predators.● Keep grass mowed closely.● Create a 3-foot-wide buffer of landscaping material such as stone or woodchips to separate lawn from tick-friendly areas.● Move children's play areas away from woods.● Keep bird feeders away from highly traveled areas of yard (birds and rodents such as red squirrels and mice carry ticks).● Use the wide variety of deer repellent devices and compounds available on-line or in gardening and hardware stores. Use deer-resistant plants.● If possible, install a deer fence around your property.
NATURAL SPRAYS (RECOMMENDED)
SYNTHETIC SPRAYS (NOT RECOMMENDED)
● Products like tick tubes and bait boxes to control ticks on rodents are effective in small areas if strategically placed (along walls, near wood piles).● However, they must be consistently replenished, for rodents are enthusiastic reproducers. In the March-November breeding season, a mouse can have several litters, with an average of 4–7 mice per litter.
About Damminix tubes...
● Cardboard tubes are filled with permethrin-treated cotton balls that mice collect to build their nests. Available at garden centers. $29.99 for 6 tubes.● Tubes should be placed no more than 30 feet apart. An average 1-acre yard requires about 24 tubes per application.● Ticks feeding on nesting mice in the spring and fall are exposed to the permethrin and die.● Tick tubes are not effective for red squirrels, voles, and shrews, which do not build their nests as mice do.● Birds that eat mice that have been exposed to permethrin are not harmed.● You can make tick tubes yourself with toilet paper tubes and cotton, and if you do, you should wear rubber gloves and a mask. Be sure that there are no cats in the area, for when it is wet, permethrin is highly toxic to them.● Note: Some field studies have shown that tick tubes may not kill a sufficient number of ticks to prevent tick-borne disease. Alternative hosts like red squirrels, voles, and shrews can sustain a tick population by themselves.
About "Bait boxes”...
● These contain a wick soaked in fipronil, a synthetic pesticide that kills ticks on mice (the mice are unharmed), and are available through licensed applicators.● Put out in May, replace in August. A single dose will protect mice for 40 days.● Each box costs $50; 3–4 per acre.● The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station is currently studying the effectiveness of bait boxes.
● Scientists believe that a pathogenic fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae may be effective in killing ticks, and a granular insecticide containing the fungus called Novozymes MET 52 is commercially available. However, more scientific analysis is needed.● Nootkatone, a tick-killing botanical derived from Alaskan cedar, has done well in studies funded by the Centers for Disease Control. However, the cost of the cedar is high and the supply is limited.
● Guinea hens. Scientific studies have shown that guinea hens may feed more ticks than they eat.● Burning fields. While ticks are suppressed after a field is burned, scientific analysis has shown that they soon return. Furthermore, extensive field burning would cause a fire hazard on Islesboro.● 4-Poster Deer Treatment System. Maintaining enough four posters to effectively control ticks may be prohibitively expensive and labor-intensive.