You deserve the ability to choose from all available control products to help care for your home, lawn and family. For example:
- Proven, effective control products help you keep your family and friends safe by protecting them from pests that spread prevalent vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease. This is increasingly important since 50-65 percent of deer ticks in Maine carry Lyme disease, as reported by the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention for 2017.
- Your home and outdoor space is one of your biggest investments, both in time and money. The option to use control products reviewed by the Maine Department of Agriculture and Board of Pesticides Control, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows you to create and choose solutions that fit your lifestyle with The AND Approach.
Whether you’re preparing to entertain outdoors, kick around the soccer ball, or head out for a game of golf, keep choice alive.
Warm weather is here, meaning it’s time for golf, park days, backyard play and outdoor entertaining – all outdoor places where you have the potential to encounter ticks and mosquitoes.
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows cases of vector-borne diseases (spread by mosquitoes, ticks and fleas) have more than tripled since 2004, with cases from ticks more than doubling. Maine is a leading state for Lyme disease, and access to effective products approved by the state and registered by U.S. EPA is vital to control tick populations and reduce the number of Lyme disease cases across the state.
Controlling Ticks and Mosquitoes in Your Yard
Reinforce your home
- Remove leaves, brush and weeds and trim shrubs around the perimeter of your home and the edge of your lawn to prevent ticks.
- Mow your grass often to reduce areas for mosquitoes and ticks to live. Treat the perimeter of your yard with Maine and EPA-approved control products used according to label directions.
- Mosquitoes will fly through the smallest openings to enter your home. Make sure cracks and crevices in screens or on doors and windows are sealed to keep the pests out.
- Clean up your yard by removing trash and old furniture to help discourage potential problems by removing nesting and colony building opportunities. While cleaning up your yard, empty any cans, buckets, bottles, clogged rain gutters, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpot saucers, water tables and plastic wading pools, which attract mosquitoes and give them a place to breed.
Personal Protection from Tick and Mosquito Bites
- Put up personal barriers. Wear light-colored clothing and layer up with long sleeves and pants to prevent both tick and mosquito bites. Tuck shirts into pants and pants into socks for an extra layer of tick prevention, and always conduct tick checks when heading back indoors – for both you and your pets.
- Apply specific defenses. Apply EPA-approved bug repellent, such as DEET, on exposed skin. The CDC recommends a variety of safe and effective EPA-approved repellents for you and your family. Read and follow all repellent label instructions before applying.
The EPA approves personal repellents with proven fighting power against mosquitoes and offers a search tool to help you choose the right product for your specific needs. EPA-approved bug repellents work best when used properly:
- Follow the rules. When choosing and applying repellents, always read and follow the label directions.
- Get picky. Go for a repellent that protects you and your family from the target pest. Read the product label to see which bugs it repels.
- A little goes a long way. Avoid over-applying repellent. Check out the label directions to see how often you should reapply.
Finding a solution to your pest and plant health challenges doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Integrated pest management (IPM) provides the building blocks to home and lawn success through a balanced, sustainable approach.
IPM may sound technical and complicated, but it is a simple process. When practiced, IPM can help reduce the risk of unwanted weeds and pests around your home and yard. This thoughtful approach uses proactive problem solving and the use of state and EPA-approved products according to label directions when needed.
With grass sports fields at more than 90 percent of high schools in Maine, and natural turf as an important aspect of your golf game, you might be familiar with this approach. It’s the same one that’s used to care for and maintain those public spaces where you and your family spend time outdoors.
We’ve simplified the process into three easy-to-follow steps called The AND Approach to keep unwanted pests and weeds out of your home and lawn:
1. Find. Before you choose a plan of action, make sure you understand the problem. For example, what is causing the leaves or needles to fall off your tree in peak season? Different insect invaders require different approaches. Then, find the source of the problem and decide the severity.
2. Solve. This step depends on the problem you’re trying to solve. Find the combination of solutions that aligns with your time, expertise and situation.
3. Prevent. The best way to manage pest problems is to stop them before they start. Take care of areas in your yard that could invite the problem to return.
If you’ve completed these steps but are still experiencing issues in your home and yard, consider taking a trip to your local garden center or calling in a professional to help mitigate the problem.
If you decide it’s time to tackle the problem with an immediate solution, head to the store. Plan to spend some time reading the label directions before making a decision. This extra step helps ensure you’re choosing the right product to solve your problem.
Home and lawn care can be a challenge, but don’t let the fear of outdoor maintenance hold you back. As you prep your yard for summer entertaining, consider these tips to create a safe and party-approved outdoor oasis.
- Clean your deck and furniture. The spotlight of backyard entertaining, your deck is a great place to start when freshening up your yard. Sweep your patio floors and power wash your outdoor furniture and cushion covers. Incorporate new pillows for an inviting pop of color.
- Incorporate plants for a fresh feel. Make your guests feel at home by incorporating plants and flowers throughout your yard. Place flowers that grow well in your region in pots to decorate your patio. For your garden, inspect leaves for damage or disease and find products at your local garden center to revive your flower beds.
- Debug your yard. Before guests arrive, remove any standing water in your yard, and consider applying a yard treatment available at your local garden center to control both ticks and mosquitoes. Read and follow label directions, and remember you can always bring in the pros to help. Don’t forget to offer an EPA-approved bug repellent to your guests to repel the biting insects. Products registered by the EPA are proven to serve as a protective layer against biters.
- Entertain your guests. Create a summer-themed tablescape that’s sure to impress. Hang water-resistant string lights along your patio for continued fun even after the sun sets.
- Embrace your options. When it comes to your lawn and garden, explore a variety of maintenance products and methods in order to create a lawn care plan to fit your lifestyle. An added bonus? Seventy-three percent of homeowners say landscaping increases the value of their home, so protect your right to use products that work. The AND Approach is a great way to determine how to care for and maintain your yard in a way that fits your lifestyle.
As a Maine resident, it’s important to stay informed on the current conversation in your community about pest control and plant health products and their use on your private and shared public property. A handful of towns and cities have passed or are considering laws that take away your ability to choose how you control pests that can harm your family, pets, plants, lawns and shared outdoor spaces.
You can use the following resources to learn more about choosing and using the right pest control products:
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Insect Pests, Ticks and Plant Diseases
- Maine Board of Pesticides Control
- EPA Pest Control and Pesticide Safety for Consumers
For more information about pesticide ordinances across Maine and in your area, please contact us at [email protected].