How to Keep Ticks Off Your Lawn

A mild winter means a bad tick season is ahead for Connecticut, and some businesses have been extra busy trying to fend them off of lawns. 

TurfMasters in South Windsor said their phones have been ringing off the hook.

“We’ve fielded an awful lot of phone calls on ticks specifically being such a mild winter," Gary Donovan, owner of TurfMasters, said.

The business has received phone calls from residents like Kmila Briton, who just moved into her South Windsor home and has already found ticks on her children.

“The ticks are just crawling all over them. We’ve actually found a few in bed and ones in their hair and like on their stomachs," Briton said.

To prevent that from continuing to happen, Justin Donovan, a service manager with TurfMasters, is spraying her yard to fight against ticks.

Donovan said ticks aren’t very mobile. They have to jump on a host, like a mouse, to get from point A to point B to get into the yard.

Ticks typically live in shady places where there’s moisture, such as a wooded brush, under pine straw or in tall grasses.

TurfMasters uses an insecticide that is a synthetic pyrethroid.

“Basically it attacks the nervous system of the insect. And it’s derived from the chrysanthemum. It’s a natural defense mechanism that the chrysanthemum flower has to prevent insects from eating it that they found does a great job killing insects," he said.

Donovan said the spray works for the most part, unless someone or a pet brings ticks onto a property.

“The ticks aren’t extremely mobile – but pets certainly can be and kids can be, so if the dog runs off and goes into a neighbor’s yard he could absolutely end up with ticks and this application isn’t going to do anything to stop that,” Donovan said.

He recommends anyone coming back from an untreated area, like a park, check themselves and any pets for ticks.

If someone finds any ticks, remove them in a different location instead of on their lawn to prevent ticks from coming back in.

Dr. Kirby Stafford, the chief scientist and state entomologist for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, and other researchers at CAES have done studies on insecticides, including the synthetic pyrethroid that the company, TurfMasters, uses.

He said pyrethroid is extremely effective in controlling ticks and is probably the most effective option. After the spray dries on the lawn, it does not move. Stafford said it stays on for a long period.

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