Fields and natural areas in your neighborhood are full of beautiful wildflowers. Beautiful, colorful flowers seem like the perfect decoration to any outdoor area.
However, some people worry that these pretty blooms may actually be hiding a dangerous secret – they could attract ticks!
No! There is no link between wildflowers and ticks.
Ticks do not use plant pollen or nectar to get food.
Ticks feed on blood from animals. Some types of ticks even prefer to feed from specific kinds of animals, such as deer and large mammals like cows and horses.
Tick bites can cause several diseases, some of which can be fatal.
Ticks are most active during the warmer months when they will bite you in your garden or in a field that is full of blooming flowers.
For more information about ticks and flowers, check out this article.
Do ticks dwell in flower beds?
Safer landscaping with less concerns about ticks is one of the benefits of growing native plants in your yard.
Native plants are best for your local community of animals, because they naturally encourage populations of native birds, bees and butterflies.
Non-native plants may attract invasive species that are harmful to the environment.
When a strong-growing plant invades a territory – such as a patch of flowers in your yard or a pasture of grasses and flowers – it can crowd out biotic species of floral and faunal origin according to a research review of 2015.
Families in your neighborhood care about the wellbeing of their pets and children.
Wildlife-friendly yards are a great way to build safe outdoor spaces for everyone.
Nonetheless, native plants in flower gardens are not guaranteed to keep ticks away.
It’s possible to encounter ticks outside of natural areas with plenty of wildflowers.
In fact, some types of ticks live in suburban and urban settings as well as forests and grasslands.
It’s possible that ticks in your neighborhood may even have adapted to living in the soil of garden beds, backyard and flowerbeds that are not native to their region as this research study suggests.
Tick populations can be quite high, particularly in the spring.
As ticks need to feed on blood, they will happily crawl into any comfortable spot that gives them access to a good meal.
Ticks are not very picky about where their dinner comes from, either – whether it’s an animal or you! Pets and children are at risk of being bitten by a tick, as well.
A better solution is to landscape with plants that are indigenous to your area.
You can take steps to make your garden less inviting for ticks.
Use gravel paths rather than mulch, which ticks love. Keep grass short and remove excess leaf litter or prune overhanging branches that could hold ticks in place.
Do wildflowers attract ticks?
Yard and garden plants that are native to your area will not only keep ticks away, but can also provide food for you or your family.
Hedges, grasses or even attractive flowers may attract ticks.
You are better off planting native plants that are not popular hosts among ticks, such as daffodils.
These are safer ways to decorate your home without attracting blood-sucking bugs.
Wildflowers on the other hand, have no link with ticks.
Ticks do not use plant pollen or nectar to get food.
Nectar is a common food source for many types of pollinating insects, such as bees.
But for ticks, it is the blood of animals that they require.
However, be careful with plants that create groundcover.
Some of these crawling vegetation may be a haven for ticks and other insects.
What attracts ticks the most?
A higher concentration of ticks is found in wooded areas, but ticks are also attracted to grassy, open spaces.
Older and abandoned homes may also be more likely to host ticks because they tend to have overgrown yards with leaf litter.
Homes with children are encouraged to focus tick prevention efforts on under-utilized yards, as well as leaf piles and long grasses.
Although ticks are not known for living in flower beds, ticks are actually attracted to the carbon dioxide that humans and animals release when we breathe!
A 1998 study published in the Experimental and Applied Acarology journal that examined the behavioral activities during CO2 activation confirms responsiveness enhances during periods when ticks seek hosts.
While you can’t control your breathing, you can reduce tick populations by controlling weeds and removing leaf litter.
Piles of leaves and other debris on your property make a great place for ticks to hide from the sun.
In order to reduce your chances of getting bitten, it is important to keep weeds at bay and clear leaf litter from yards.
By taking these steps, you can maintain a safer lawn that is less likely to contain tick populations.
Plants that ticks live on
Lawns that are not very well-kept may allow ticks to flourish, while a clean and clear yard is less likely to contain ticks.
Including tick-repelling plant species in your garden will not only improve its beauty, but also limit risk of exposure to ticks.
Filling your yard with generic flowers may not be the best way to keep ticks out.
Some of the most effective plants for keeping ticks away are also natural mosquito repellants.
On the other hand, your plants could be offering more than just beauty – they could be home to ticks!
Biting insects like ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes are more attracted to certain smells.
Many aromatic plants emit the compounds that we associate with fragrant flowers.
Unfortunately, these same scents can attract and keep ticks in your garden.
Mosquitoes and other common pests love the smell of water lettuce, for instance.
Similarly, water lilies and papyrus have been known to attract mosquitoes.
In addition, ticks themselves enjoy the Japanese barberry. So, it may be best to avoid this shrub entirely if you live in an area where ticks are common.