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The six 'Cs' to tick-proof your yard

1. CLEAR OUT. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them wit...

1. CLEAR OUT. Reduce your tick exposure by clearing out areas where lawn and tree debris gathers. Ticks thrive in moist, shady areas and tend to die in sunny, dry areas. Locate compost piles away from play areas or high traffic. Separate them with wood chips or gravel. Don't position playground equipment, decks and patios near treed areas.

2. CLEAN. Eliminate leaf litter and brush by cleaning it up around the house and lawn edges, mow tall grasses and keep your lawn short.

3. CHOOSE PLANTS. Select plants and shrubs that are not attractive to deer and/or install physical barriers to keep deer out of your yard. Check with your local nursery to determine the best choices for your area.

4. CHECK HIDING PLACES. Know tick hiding places and check them frequently. Fences, brick walls and patio retaining walls are popular hiding places.

5. CARE FOR FAMILY PETS. Family pets can suffer from tick-borne disease and also carry infected ticks into the home. Talk to your veterinarian about using tick collars and sprays. As with all pest control products, be sure to follow directions carefully.

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6. CALL THE PROS. Professionals utilize both barrier sprays that can kill live ticks on the spot as well as "tick tubes." Strategically placed, "tick tubes" prompt field mice to incorporate tick-killing material into their bedding, effectively eliminating hundreds of tick nymphs found in each mouse nest.

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