Pesticides for Ticks

Deer Tick (Ixodes scapularis) female, dorsal view by Michael Bok

TheGardenLady would love to have a party in my back yard. But my back yard is not typical or usual in that it is across from a stream in a wooded area. This area is lovely, but I fear insects, especially Lyme ticks, that might join the party to feast on the guests. I have never taken out any of the trees in this back yard, though previous owners had, so there is a lot of open space where a party would look lovely. Still most of the time, because there is some woodland around the open space, this is a haven for wildlife. Deer come out of the wooded area to cavort. I have seen a fox, turkeys, rodents, snakes and lots of birds in the yard. So if I do have a party back there I want to use the safest pesticides possible. I hate using any toxic substance on this land.

But it would be so pretty back there for a party. What can I do?
I checked Rutgers list of fact sheets about horticulture, agriculture, entomology and wild animals, to see what they had to suggest. Rutgers, as well as other state cooperative extensions, have lots of free information online that one can read and even download.

On the Lyme Tick fact sheet,  not only does it show what the different ticks look like and what the symptoms are if you were to get lyme disease, but it tells you the safest pesticides to use if you want to be sure there are no ticks on your property but can’t put up a fence or take other precautions against ticks.

The only products listed as authorized to use are:
SEVIN (carbaryl)
PERMETHRIN (a pyrethroid)
TEMPO II (a pyrethroid)* (*This insecticide is for use only by professional applicators.)

Of course,  you MUST READ AND FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS ON THE LABEL if you are doing it yourself.

The fact sheet says that

Granular insecticides provide good control of nymphs, since it penetrates foliage (liquids, if used, must be
applied with enough pressure to disturb the leaf litter) Apply once a year (late May). Research shows >90%
control of nymphs targeted in this lifestage with one properly timed granular treatment.
Liquid insecticides provide good control of adult ticks. Thoroughly spray on vegetation until run off. Apply after leaves have dropped from the trees in November, and\or in April before leaves appear. Control levels have reached 95% during these times.

Then it says that a product called DAMMINIX

provides insecticide-laced nesting material to mice. It kills immature ticks feeding on mice in their burrows. Place it only in areas where mice frequent. Damminix may also be used in combination with the above insecticides and habitatmodification.

These pesticides kill many insects. For a complete list of insects killed by Sevin, go to this website.

Remember that pesticides that kill harmful insects will kill beneficial insects as well. So think long and hard before using anything and then use any pesticide wisely. This GardenLady has not made up her mind about the party. I do love my wildlife, beneficial insects included.

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