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Vegetable Gardening: Oh no ! Ticks in compost !!!!!!!!!

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Forum: Vegetable GardeningReplies: 11, Views: 23
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PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

May 5, 2006
2:19 PM

Post #2250973

I had opportunity to collect some of the best composted material I've ever seen. It was at a ladies home where the wood deck was decayed and being removed. There were large trees over the deck that had been dropping leaves for years and years, thus falling below deck and decomposing into dark, rich beautiful compost. Beautiful black gold.

I gathered it up and had 9 large leaf & lawn bags full. Wonderful !!!!! I promptly came home and mulched all of my corn and tomatoes with it. Only used up 3 bags of it. I was so excited ! Still have 6 more bags.

Later that evening, I found 3 ticks on me...embedded ! ! ! ! !! ! ! ! ! ! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiii, that means I have filled my garden with TICKS and now I'm afraid to go out there !!!!!!!!!! Oh dear, what can I do ?????????????? Is there a solution for ridding my garden of the ticks now ? I love my garden and can't imagine not being able to go out there after all the hard work I've done. It looks so pretty and all my veggies are coming along so well...due to my dumb, but excellent care of it. Whatever I use has to be safe enough to use around vegetables.. CAN SOMEONE HELP ME ??????? THIS IS A CRISIS in the life of my garden for this year. My garden is about 1,000 sq. ft. and I've got a lot invested in it. I just don't know what to do. I FEEL SO STUPID AND BEWILDERED !!!!
MaryMD7
Chesapeake Beach, MD

May 5, 2006
3:15 PM

Post #2251158

Calm down. Why do you assume you got the ticks from the compost? I wouldn't necessarily jump to that conclusion. Ticks are everywhere. They might have been in the compost or you might have picked them up while working out in the yard/garden even without the compost.

I certainly wouldn't go nuking indiscriminately. You'll kill the good bugs too and you just don't need to. Keep pants, shirts etc. tucked in and wear insect repellent. Then, check yourself for ticks daily when you've been outside. Be aware of lyme's symptoms and seek treatment if they occur, but the deer ticks that carry lyme's are so small you might not have noticed them or their bite to anway.
DrDoolotz
Oxford, NS
(Zone 5b)

May 5, 2006
3:49 PM

Post #2251264

I found the following recommendations online, if it does turn out to be in the compost:

Common recommendations for reducing ticks in your backyard are to keep
the weeds or grass well-mowed. There are commercial sprays effective
against ticks. If you live in tick-infested areas, always examine your
dog (and yourself!) after being outside. Control vermin around your
house and discourage deer and other wild or feral animals from your
property, as they are often vectors for ticks (as well as a slew of
other nasties).

Another positive point - when I first moved into a new home, which had previously been farmland (where deer roam frequently here in Iowa), my 2 dogs got a bunch of ticks from being in the backyard. The positive thing, however, is that the next year (which was last year) and so far this year, there have been no ticks at all. In order to survive, the ticks need hosts, so they can grow and lay eggs. If you do not have a lot of wildlife hosts in your backyard frequently (like deer) then they should not persist. If you do have lots of wildlife in your backyard, then they would be just as much a vector for the ticks as the compost is. Ticks need a blood meal in order to get through their life cycle, so they live on animals (or people!) and cannot obtain their needed blood meal from compost. So if in fact they came with the compost, they were likely in that yard where you got the compost because of the wildlife that frequents that yard. As long as their ability to reproduce is limited (i.e. no wildlife/people hosts) then they shouldn't be a persistent problem.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2006
4:03 PM

Post #2251302

Peggie, can you let the chickens into the garden, or will they destroy it? If you surround the seedlings themselves with open-topped milk jugs or something while the chickens take care of the ticks? The ticks won't stay in the garden, most likely; they'll look for tall pieces of grass to crawl up. Then they'll hold up their nasty little arms to grab whoever walks by, which will hopefully be a chicken.

Listen, when you remove a tick from your person, do tape it up on the calendar, on the date you found it, and note where on your body it was. This is helpful if any symptoms do develop.

I hate ticks too. They make my skin crawl.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 5, 2006
4:04 PM

Post #2251304

Also, you could borrow some guineas for a week. That would take care of the problem.

Lilypon

Lilypon
Moose Jaw, SK
(Zone 3b)

May 5, 2006
4:10 PM

Post #2251317

Peggie you probably picked them up when you were visiting the yard where you got the compost. Ticks tend hang onto tall grass where there is a greater opportunity to hitch a ride (and then meal) on wildlife that is passing by. They are usually found near water (great place for them to hang around waiting for animals coming for a drink). It takes them awhile to climb up your clothes, find skin and then dig in. I worked clearing trail one summer, many moons ago, and I'd often find some dug in many hours after we had quit for the day (and we would wear bathing suits under our work clothes so we could check each other before leaving the work site). They are so tiny prior to eating that they can be easily missed while on your clothes.

edited to say...There is a good chance that there aren't any in your garden.

This message was edited May 5, 2006 10:21 AM
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

May 7, 2006
7:26 AM

Post #2255785

I'm pretty sure they were in the compost. I could go into a lot of detail *why* I think that's where I got them, but just trust me, that's where they were. They probably had blood hosts (rats, mice, squirrels etc) that may have also lived under that old deck.

Now I'm afraid I've infested my garden with them. We've never had them here before, and I don't want them to become a problem in my yard and garden. Gives me the creeps. With all the rabbits I've seen so far this spring, yeah, they could survive... also garden is right next to chicken pen.

Zeppy, I'd like to let my chickens out, but my garden is just now up and doing so well...they'd think they were in chicken-heaven...eat it all.
I think there's too much garden to try to protect it from them, I've got about 1,000 sq. ft. of stuff that's all up and growing already. I've worked on it really hard, thus my distress.

My neighbor behind us has 3 guineas, but they don't cross the fence.

I wonder if there is a spray or something that can safely be used in the garden.

I have to do something...I'm allergic to the tick bites I guess, because where they were, I've got bumps the size of a quarter, all red and inflamed. I react the same way to flea bites. Allergic to them too.

BUMMER !!!!!!!!! I hope someone knows of something I can use,
as I truly love going to the garden every day. I bought some OFF spray to put on me, but I hate it, it stinks. I go to my garden probably 2 to 5 times a day...can't take a bath to remove the OFF each time.

Thanks everyone for your helpful comments. I know that if we continue to banter this thing back and forth long enough, we'll land on a solution.

I'm convinced that they are in the compost, as it contains lots of partly composted twigs and leaves from the trees.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

May 7, 2006
6:11 PM

Post #2256916

I want to put a short chicken wire fence around my garden and then make it into a "tunnel" for a chicken moat: the chickens will be able to range in the tunnel from their yard but not get into the garden. They'll patrol any buggies going in or out on foot.
TamaraFaye
Fritch, TX
(Zone 6b)

May 7, 2006
9:15 PM

Post #2257325

Peggie [i told you we needed to share an order of guineas ;-)] try to eat more garlic to help repel them from you. Wearing a bthing suit is a good idea, cause you could stirp outside or in the garden shed and check yourself, or have DH help.

Also, there is a mixture i make up to repel things, and i woul dsuppose it works on ticks too. Let me think... 8 ounces of olive oil [cold compressed], 3 drops each of ctironella oil, lavendar oil, and lemongrass oil. Or if you could get some oil of bay, oile of rue, and oil of pennyroyal, i hear that works well for all parasties, whereas my smisture is for UV protection, tanning, and repelling bugs in general...

I could send you a packet of pennyroyal. I haven't planted mine yet, but i bet i have WAY more than i need. You could plant it near your house, or near the chicken pen to keep the ticks from spreading there.

I like the moat idea. Wouldn't work for me cause i have little patches of garedn here and there. but i bet your DH could do that easily. the fence can be low enough for you to step over it and the chickens likely wouldn't go in...

tf

p.s. ordering my guinea keets the first of June! Let me know what color you want ;-)
Mobi
Denver, CO
(Zone 6a)

May 8, 2006
1:26 AM

Post #2257986

I came across this web site for ticks in yard
http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf517031.tip.html
leaflady
Hughesville, MO
(Zone 5a)

May 9, 2006
2:05 AM

Post #2260999

Guinea fowl don't seem to scratch soil as much as chickens do and ticks are their favorite food. The down side is the noise they make. I recommend them for anyone who lives in the country or has a tick problem.
PeggieK
Claremore, OK
(Zone 6a)

May 9, 2006
5:59 AM

Post #2261612

Thank each of you for your ideas. I am a lot more calm about it now, and
have adjusted to the idea that we are just going to have to resort to some type of chemical, much to my dislike. I just want everything that is used around my vegetables to be as organic as possible. But I guess I have to weigh the lesser of 2 evils, Lyme disease / Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever vs
bug spray. At least my vegetables are not too close to ready to harvest, so I guess that's the way we'll go. We are going to just spray where the compost is, and see how that goes.
I didn't realize that Sevin was effective on ticks. My dad used to use sevin dust on tomatoes. But I still hate to have to use it. Sigh, oh well, live and learn. Moral of this story ? Nothing is FREE !!!!! Beware of free compost ! LOL

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