Ticks & Mosquitoes can Definitely take a bite out of fun
Do these scenarios sound familiar, annoying, or even frightening?
- You're sitting by your outdoor fireplace minding your own business when a flock of mosquitoes start buzzing around making you run for the hills and give up an evening of marshmallow toasting
- Your dog treks across the lawn and through the planting beds, and you find a tick on his head. No real problem, but then you wonder - has he been tracking them in the house?
- You watch your children playing on the lawn all afternoon only to discover the terror of a tick behind an ear at bathtime!
- You find a tick in the kitchen - where did that come from?
- You wake up with red itchy mosquito bites - where did those come from?
- You learn a friend has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease (or West Nile Virus)!
Dragonfly Landscape Design offers a number of programs targeted to protect you from local nuisance pests like ticks and mosquitoes - to help ensure your enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces. And, because we provide these with our own in-house team, we can easily coordinate all planned applications with your scheduled landscape maintenance.
Tick Control - All the Time
Ticks are commonly found in wooded or high-grass areas, but they can also be transported into populated areas, neighborhoods, and backyards by people as well as unexpected visitors like deer, rabbits, and other rodents. While many tick bites are harmless and don’t cause any symptoms, this is not the case with ALL tick bites. Some ticks can cause allergic reactions, and certain ticks can pass dangerous (or even deadly) diseases to humans and pets. Tick exposure can occur year-round, but ticks are most active during the warmer months from April to September when most folks are enjoying outdoor activities! So, tick avoidance and backyard tick control are becoming more important than ever in the greater Westhampton area (including Eastport, Remsenburg, Westhampton, Westhampton Beach, Westhampton Dunes, Quiogue, Quogue, East Quogue) where we have heavy deer and rabbit populations.
At Dragonfly Landscape Design team, our tick control program typically includes six applications from late Spring to early Fall; these applications target ticks’ front and back yard habitats of woodland edges and perimeter areas where lawns meet ornamental plantings, providing consistent control to reduce exposure to ticks. And, as an added benefit, the product that we use for tick control also provides flea control to further protect any four-legged family members.
In addition to including a tick spray program with your landscape maintenance, we recommend the following to help you just plain avoid ticks whenever possible.
Before going outside:
- Know where to expect/avoid ticks (in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, in gardens, or even on pets)
- Treat clothing with products containing 0.5% permethrin.
- Use insect repellents (please read the labels)
After you come indoors:
- Check your clothing and pets for ticks - Ticks may be carried into your house on clothing and on pets, and they can move between pets and people with ease!
- Shower soon after being outdoors - Showering may help wash off unattached ticks and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check.
- Check your body for ticks after being outdoors - Conduct a full-body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks, as these areas are tick favorites:
- Under the arms
- In and around the ears
- Inside belly button
- Back of the knees
- In and around the hair
- Between the legs
- Around the waist
Create a "Tick Safe Zone" at your home
A fear of ticks shouldn't stop you from going outside! In addition to our professional tick control applications, there are several steps you can take to create a "tick-safe zone" at your home. According to the Centers for Disease Control, you should:
- Remove leaf litter
- Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of lawns
- Place a 3' wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to restrict tick migration into recreational areas
- Mow lawns frequently
- Stack wood neatly and in a dry area to discourage rodents
- Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees
- Discourage unwelcome animals (deer, rabbits, raccoons...) from entering your yard by constructing fences or using appropriate sprays
- Remove old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide
While it's unlikely that you have old mattresses hanging around, it is important to keep up with ongoing landscape maintenance. As far as tick-avoidance goes, landscape neatness counts!
Tick Myths (Debunked!)
It's important to have the facts about ticks so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones. The following was borrowed from information distributed by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital:
- The only tick disease you need to worry about is Lyme Disease - FALSE - One tick can carry multiple pathogens. It is entirely possible to be infected with more than one of these diseases all from the same tick bite!
- The best way to remove a tick is with vaseline and a lit match - FALSE - The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers, grabbing it as close to the skin as possible and pulling up with a slow and steady motion. If part of the head stays embedded in the skin, that's OK, it will eventually work its way out.
- You will develop a rash if you've been infected by a tick - MAYBE - Less than half of people infected by Lyme Disease develop a bull's eye rash and other tick-borne diseases do not result in a rash at all.
- You don't have to worry about ticks after the first hard frost - FALSE - Ticks may be less active in the winter, but they can become active again when temperatures are above 40 degrees and there is no snow to insulate them.
- When I come in from outside I can kill ticks by throwing my clothes directly into the washing machine - FALSE - Actually, put clothes in the dryer first - the high heat causes them to dry up and that's the best way to kill them.
Visit the Regional Tick-Borne Disease Resource Center for more information on ticks and tick-borne diseases in our area.
And, even if you don't venture into wild areas, keep in mind that ticks are also carried into your yard by deer and other wildlife. By deterring deer from enjoying your property, you also decrease the risk of contracting tick-borne illnesses near home. Our deer spraying program focuses on targeted plants to deter deer browsing. After routine and consistent treatments, deer feeding habits are interrupted, encouraging deer to go elsewhere in search of food. If that doesn't work, we also offer deer fencing!
Mosquitoes - More than just a nuisance!
Mosquitoes are flying insects that feed on human and animal blood (female mosquitoes feed on blood for egg development). The bite from a mosquito typically results in an itchy welt, but can occasionally transmit diseases such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus, and Eastern Equine Encephalitis - all of which are quite serious. So, it makes sense to take steps to reduce and avoid mosquito populations.
At Dragonfly Landscape Design, we offer a mosquito management program that targets areas of mosquito harborage and breeding, including trees, shrubs, ground cover, and under decks. But, it is important to note that since mosquitoes are flying insects they are nearly impossible to eliminate on a property. That said, there are always steps you can take to avoid mosquitoes and their itchy bites.
How to Discourage Mosquitoes from Moving in & Taking a Bite
While nothing is foolproof, the following will help to discourage the local mosquito population from taking up residence in your back yard:
- Get rid of standing water - Puddles and hot tubs can be a lot of fun. Birdbaths are pretty to look at. You know what else they’re good for? Bringing new mosquitoes into the world. Female mosquitoes require stagnant water to lay their eggs. Deny them that, and they won’t settle down in your yard. Our advice: Change the water in birdbaths regularly (at least once or twice a week), fill or level any areas of your yard or driveway prone to puddles, and keep unused hot tubs securely covered.
- Keep the yard neat - remove debris around ponds, remove leaf litter from yards and gardens, and trim overgrowth - all of this eliminates places where mosquitoes rest.
- Plant mosquito-repelling flowers around your home - Flowers aren’t just for looking pretty - they can also keep mosquitoes away by just being themselves. A few good options for keeping bloodsuckers at bay are Marigolds, Lavender, Basil, Rosemary, and lemon-scented Geraniums.
- Mow your lawn more often - Tall grass and weeds make great hideouts for mosquitoes. Mowing your lawn regularly will make your front and back yards less welcoming to mosquitoes.
- Use mosquito repellent - use hand-held sprays and implement a property-wide spray program to maximize effectiveness.
- Make yourself less appealing to mosquitoes - see below...
Effective mosquito management requires a neatly mowed lawn, clean planting beds, and a puddle-free driveway - all part of good landscape maintenance.
What Attracts Mosquitoes to Specific People?
To avoid getting bitten, it’s important to understand what attracts them to us in the first place. There are several ways that mosquitoes sense people — and certain people more than others:
- Heat - Mosquitoes are drawn toward body heat to help them find targets to feed on. People that generate more heat (like joggers or overweight people) are more likely to get bitten.
- Carbon dioxide (CO2) - Mosquitoes can detect the CO2 exhaled in a person’s breath from up to 30 feet away. Heavy breathing, such as during exercise, is more likely to attract mosquitoes.
- Sweat - Mosquitoes are attracted to both water vapor and lactic acid, which are produced when people sweat.
- Dark colors - Research has shown that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, particularly black. Lighter colors are a better option.
- Alcohol consumption - Interestingly, a study in 2002 showed that people who consumed beer were more attractive to mosquitoes than people who did not.
All of this aside, our mosquito management program is most effective immediately following its application, so it is a great option immediately prior to a special event.
Special Event Treatments are a MUST for Mosquito Management!
Do you have an outdoor event planned? Don't let mosquitoes ruin your special day! From outdoor weddings and community events to backyard birthdays and family gatherings, mosquitoes don't have to be on the guest list. With just 48-hours' notice, Dragonfly Landscape Design can play bouncer, discouraging mosquitoes from entering your outdoor event space.
Labels for the products we use for your tick and mosquito spraying care can be found on the resources page of this website.
Protecting the Hamptons from Ticks & Mosquitoes
We serve the residents in the greater Westhampton area (Eastport, Remsenburg, Westhampton, Westhampton Beach, Westhampton Dunes, Quiogue, Quogue, East Quogue, Hampton Bays), and neighboring communities. We are here to deliver professional service, local expertise, garden joy, and responsive customer support for your landscaping projects.