Thinking of “Going Green” this Earth Week? What is “Greener” than Organic Tick & Mosquito Control?

Spring sprung late this year but the ticks and mosquitoes are already out in full force and most experts predict it will be an explosive year for these pesky and potentially dangerous pests. Now is the time to act. Being proactive in your approach to limit the populations on your property is your best defense.

Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t really have an off season. Even with snow on the ground, ticks can still be active in the winter months. Although less of a threat in the colder months, warm spells during the winter causes some activity. Once spring hits you can bet they are hungry and looking for a meal.

So, are pesticides the only way to keep ticks and other non-beneficial insects away from you and your kids and pets? The short answer is yes but all hope is not lost. We use a product called Tick Free. This is an effective, organic alternative to pesticides. With proper and timely usage, it has proven to be effective tool in controlling the ticks, fleas and mosquitoes, all while leaving the beneficial insects like Honey Bees and Butterflies alone!

How Does It Work? Cedar Oil!

Cedar oil is derived from cedar trees and has been used for centuries to prevent moths from eating clothing. Through modern technology Cedar oil has been adapted to keep your property safer.

By using a concentrated Cedar oil spray around your property we can kill existing ticks as well as create a perimeter to prevent new ticks from entering. The best part… Cedar oil is safe to use around children, pets and play structures. In fact there is no re entry period at all which means that you, your kids and pets can get out and enjoy your property right after the application.

At Green Sphere, we will apply concentrated liquid cedar oil to the following places on your property:

  • Around the perimeter of your property, the woods line, right of ways, brush piles and wood piles
  • Around your foundation shrubs and under decks
  • We spray the lawn and focus on shaded and damp areas that ticks or mosquitoes may use as a habitat for breeding.
  • We apply mosquito specific treatments up and into the canopy of your trees

Cedar oil suffocates ticks and mosquito insects and controls in all the stages of their life cycle, including eggs and nymphs when the threat of disease is most prevalent.

How often does your property need to be treated?

Treatment frequency depends on what insects you are trying to control. Tick control requires at least 5 treatments throughout the season starting in April. After that first peak activity period we apply every 6 weeks or so. Other factors such as heavy rain, a more densely wooded lot or overly prevalent carrier animals such as mice, raccoons, squirrels and deer that visit your property may require more frequent sprays.

If mosquitoes are what you are after the treatment is required monthly. This is for a couple reasons the most obvious being that mosquitoes can fly over the perimeter and there’s no control for that! The treatments address areas that the mosquitoes like to rest in such as under decks and the underside of plant material. We will kill the mosquitoes in these areas and set up barriers to keep them from resting. While we can reduce the mosquito population on your property it definitely works best when your neighbors participate in treatments as well.

Can we control ticks and mosquitoes at the same time? Yes, these would need to be done on the monthly schedule and the difference between a tick spray and mosquito spray is that we are treating many of the same areas but get up into the canopy of the trees to control the mosquitoes as well.

How else can you deter mosquitoes?

Citronella candles they smell great and provide lighting while keeping the critters away. There are also plants that can be used as natural deterrents. Planting boxes on your deck/ patio or very nearby by with things like:

  • Marigolds
  • Lemongrass
  • Lavender
  • Basil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Nepeta (catmint, my personal favorite) Don’t plant if you have cats though, you’ll never get them out of it!

So not only can you repel mosquitoes but you can make a great little edible garden for yourself.

Tips on deterring ticks?

Sure! There are also many ways to remove tick habitats around your property but the key is to remember that ticks thrive in humid, dark places. Ticks typically aren’t in the lawn after the early spring if it is maintained and not overly tall.

Be aware of theses typical tick habitats:

  • Brush piles, leaf litter (leaves that accumulate along the edge of your property) and compost piles
  • Overgrown/ brushy places on your property
  • Woodlands and tall grass
  • Dark and moist areas such as under decks and stone walls

Maintaining the perimeter of your property to remove leaf litter, brush or grassy weeds will improve your tick perimeter. Installing crushed stone along the property edge is another good option to create a warm dry barrier to keep them out.

Other animals such as mice, skunks, deer, birds, squirrels, deer and even your beloved pets have the potential to be a carrier for ticks. A not so fun fact is that our local White Footed Mouse is the primary host to the nymph ticks. This stage of the tick life cycle is when they are most likely to pass diseases along to their host. An effective way to treat the mouse nest is through the use of Tick Tubes. These tubes are full of cotton soaked in permethrin. Simply stick the tubs in stone walls, wood piles and under decks and the mice will find them and take the cotton back to the nest to use bedding and treat the nest. Note that permethrin is a pesticide so if you are looking for a 100% organic program, this won’t fit the bill.

Lastly, make sure you do a thorough tick check on yourself, kids and pets after you’re done playing or relaxing outside. This means head to toe, behind the ears, in the hair, groin and armpits. Always use bug spray to complete your multi prong approach to keeping your family safe from ticks and mosquitoes and wear light colored clothing to help make the ticks easier to spot.

One last landscaper’s tip: Don’t spray yourself with bug spray while standing on your prized lawn. Depending on the product, it can cause burns on the lawn and lawn repair is a subject for another blog entirely!