Gardening and Ticks

It may only be mid April on the calendar, but I found my first tick yesterday. I know ticks are part of gardening, but I sure could go a season without getting bit and having to remove those little suckers.

It doesn’t help that I live in New Hampshire where there are no less than 15 different types of ticks being carried around by the most popular host which is a white-footed mouse. Now you have two of my least favorite parts of gardening – ticks and rodents.

There are obvious things I normally do to avoid tick bites including staying out of overgrown brush areas in the summer, wearing light-colored clothing, long sleeves, long pants, and hat, using insect repellent containing Deet, and checking myself.

This week as we continued our spring cleanup, we took down a couple of trees, cut down wild brambles and picked up fallen branches on the edge of the yard where it meets the wetlands. We raked leaves off the beds, and shoveled four yards of wood chips.

I consistently wore long sleeves, long pants, and hat, but it didn’t occur to me to spray because I thought it was too early.

Once bit by this nasty creature, I had to think about the potential of Lyme disease which can have deadly repercussions. I went to our state website and reviewed the fact sheet about Lyme disease. I will continue to monitor the bite site which is thankfully not showing any inflammation.

Usually living near the coast of NH is a benefit, however, when it comes to ticks 85% of them live closer to the coast than inland.

I’ll get the Off! Insect Repellent out this week, keep it handy with my gardening tools, and start spraying regardless of the date on the calendar. The ticks are alive and well and looking for a nice, warm place to hunker down which isn’t going to be me if I can prevent it.

If you want more information on ticks, our local UNH Cooperative Extension has a section on It’s Tick Season:  Protect Yourself!

BL_tick.jpgPhoto credit: Blacklegged tick, by Alan Eaton, UNH Cooperative Extension


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About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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7 Responses to Gardening and Ticks

  1. Thank goodness we don’t have ticks here. Midges and wasps are the worst little beasties here.

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    • Judy says:

      These ticks are bad news for gardeners or anyone else who lives to be outside. I didn’t know what Midges were so looked them up. Enjoyed your interesting wood pictures!

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  2. Susan Adcox says:

    I can handle ticks much more easily than poison ivy. Last year I had a reaction to that nasty stuff, and it has severely curtailed my gardening urges.

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    • Judy says:

      Well, now you’ve brought up something that is right up there on the top of the list of gardening annoyances. We have it in one section of the brush off the yard where our high bush blueberries are planted. I do not venture there because of several very bad bouts of it. Stay safe in the garden.

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  3. Just pulled one off my son last week! We assumed it was from the cat bringing them in, but maybe not… Scary stuff.

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  4. rivardfarm says:

    The ticks are out in full force here in Maine too. I’ve treated the cats but the ticks are still hanging on to their fur and coming indoors. Found four crawling arounding on the house on Saturday. I hope its not like this all summer! Diane

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  5. Torie Bejjani says:

    Gardening is my own pastime simply because it really assists myself to enjoy and unwind. I like to grow plants and flowers both indoors and outside the house. My personal favorite plants are tropical ornamental plants as well as fresh fruit bearing plants.

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