Skip to main content

Assessing Effectiveness of Recommended Residential Yard Management Measures Against Ticks

Journal Article

Ilya Fischhoff, Felicia Keesing, Jennifer Pendleton, Deanna DePietro, Marissa Teator, Shannon Duerr, Stacy Mowry, Ashley Pfister, Shannon LaDeau, Richard Ostfeld

Public health authorities recommend a range of nonchemical measures to control blacklegged ticks Ixodes scapularis Say, 1821 (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in residential yards. Here we enumerate these recommendations and assess their relationship to larval tick abundance in 143 yards in Dutchess County, New York, an area with high Lyme disease incidence. We examined the relationship between larval tick abundance and eight property features related to recommendations from public health agencies: presence or absence of outdoor cats, wood piles, trash, stone walls, wood chip barriers separating lawn from adjacent forest, bird feeders, fencing, and prevalence of Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii DC [Ranunculales: Berberidaceae]). We assessed abundance of larval ticks using two methods, flagging for questing ticks and visual examination of ticks on white-footed mice Peromyscus leucopus Rafinesque, 1818 (Rodentia: Cricetidae). More questing larvae were found in yards where trash or stone walls were present. These effects were less pronounced as forest area increased within the yard. Counts of larvae per mouse were lower in properties with >75% of the yard fenced than in properties with less fencing. We find partial support for recommendations regarding trash, stone walls, and fencing. We did not detect effects of outdoor cats, bird feeders, barriers, wood piles, or Japanese barberry. There was low statistical power to detect effects of ground barriers (gravel, mulch, or woodchip), which were present in only two properties.

Year of Publication
Journal of Medical Entomology
Oxford University Press (OUP)
0022-2585, 1938-2928
Related Project
The Tick Project [Research]The Tick Project
Publication File