Ticks can be found almost everywhere in the world, at nearly every elevation. From the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic shore, you can bet that, given the right conditions, ticks will be present. As they transmit a number of diseases — such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever — we know it’s important to be as safe as possible when dealing with ticks.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to protect your yard, and make it safe from the presence of ticks. You should be able to walk through the grass and your kids and pets should be able to run freely outside, without having to worry about health implications that can come from tick bites. See some tips on having a tick-free yard from Galaxy Diagnostics, and in the event a tick bite does occur and you need some pathogenic testing to get a proper diagnosis, feel free to place an order through our site.

Create a Barrier

Walking across certain surfaces for ticks is equivalent to walking across glass as humans. By creating a barrier around your yard, you’ll be reducing the risk of ticks entering your property, solely because they won’t want to cross the threshold.

In order to create this barrier, Consumer Reports recommends making a 3-foot-wide border around your property — if you want even further protection, you can have this border separate your yard from walkways leading to your yard, but this likely isn’t necessary. This space should be filled with something that’s dry and can get hot when exposed to the sun, such as wood chips or gravel.

If your yard is in the middle of a suburb, you’re probably fine without the physical barrier (unless you live in an area where ticks are highly prevalent, then you might want to consider it). But if your yard borders a forest or is close to a wooded area, it’s highly advisable to create this space. You’ll be protecting animals and humans alike from getting a potential tick bite.

Keep Your Lawn Trim

As pest management coordinator Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann explained in Consumer Reports, “Ticks like to climb to the top of tall grass blades and look for questing opportunities—the chance to grab on to animals like deer or humans.” Even if the grass in your yard is only up a little past your ankle or creeping towards your shin, this can still be a favorable environment for ticks to live and survey their surroundings.

Make sure that your lawn is consistently trimmed and cut, and if you’re out on vacation or are unable to get to your yard, hire someone else to take care of it for you. That way when you’re able to trim it once more, you (or anyone else interacting with your yard) will be protected from ticks.

Neatly Stack Woodpiles

Who doesn’t want some cut wood ready to go for that next nighttime bonfire or crackling fireplace? Having a woodpile is just fine, but it should be organized and neatly stacked to prevent ticks from wanting to call your woodpile their next home. Messy or unorganized piles can be just the spot for ticks — particularly if they’re in the shade. If your woodpile is currently in a spot where it’s always shaded or covered, move it to a location or reposition it as necessary so that it gets some sun exposure. This can help make your stacks of wood more uninhabitable.

Avoid Spraying Your Yard

Pesticide might seem like the easy and obvious way to keep your yard free from ticks, but this can have more damaging effects than positive ones. Pesticide can seep into the groundwater, which not only harms the water, but it negatively affects the water cycle (and is harmful to humans over periods of exposure). Spraying pesticide can also hurt other creatures in the ecosystem. If you’re worried about getting bit by a tick while out in your yard and you’ve taken all the other precautions, spraying insect repellent on yourself is a better bet than using pesticide on your entire lawn.

Test Out Some Natural Repellents

While pesticide is not a great solution, there are some other natural repellents that could be more beneficial. Planting the American beautyberry bush is one such example — it’s been shown to repel ticks, who don’t seem to be fans of the plant’s leaves. Another repellent is a bit more time-consuming at first, but chickens and other ground-feeding birds love to snack on some ticks! However, certain birds can carry ticks, so if you decide to have a chicken coop or space for birds, make sure it’s away from any tick-friendly areas. But having some living tick-eaters that also provide you with fresh eggs is a pretty cool way to limit tick exposure!

These are some ways to protect your yard from ticks, and can make a huge difference in human and animal safety at home. But in the event you’re out and about, end up getting bit by a tick, and start experiencing some negative symptoms, know that proper diagnoses and testing are essential to your recovery. The pathogenic testing from Galaxy Diagnostics offers some of the most accurate tests available for Lyme disease, and can be ordered by medical professionals — by doctors, medical clinics, and veterinarians alike. Learn more about how to order a test kit, and contact Galaxy Diagnostics with any questions you have, or information you might need.