Shortly many of us will be faced with removing fallen autumn leaves from our yards. According to an article that recently appeared the National Wildlife Federation’s magazine, National Wildlife, how you dispose of these leaves can have a significant impact on the number of blacklegged ticks that will infest your yard next spring.
Three ticks that are of great concern to Georgians are the lone star, American dog and blacklegged.
According to the piece, a study conducted by the Monmouth County, New Jersey Mosquito Control Division, revealed that homeowners that raked or blew the leaves from their yards into nearby wooded areas each fall actually promoted the blacklegged tick population in their yards. It seems that the following year the blacklegged tick population was three times greater than that found in their yards the previous year.
This is significant since blacklegged ticks carry tick-borne diseases such as Lyme’s disease.
A better way to deal with the leaves is to either compost them, or use them to create or enhance wildlife habitat in an ill-kept section of your property. In garden situations, leaving leaves on the ground helps valuable insects overwinter and creates feeding habitats for wintering birds.