Why You Might Want to Go Easy on Mowing Your Lawn

Nobody likes ticks. Therefore, it stands to reason that mowing your lawn would be a good way to evict ticks from your front lawn, as it would deprive them of long blades of grass to reside on. A 2019 study, however, might cause you to rethink your lawn care plans.

Tracking Ticks and Bees

This report comes courtesy of the USDA’s Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, and was published in the journal PLOS ONE. The study authors directed their focus towards lawns in the city of Springfield, MA, and documented the presence of both blacklegged ticks and honey bees. Bees were in plentiful supply, as the researchers identified 111 bee species in just this small group of lawns.

Blacklegged ticks were a completely different story, as not a single tick was observed among these lawns. This was the case even though these lawns varied notably in terms of mowing frequencies and grass heights.

Is the Coast Clear?

In response to the report’s findings, study author Susannah Lerman stated that the study “has two significant take-aways: you do not necessarily invite ticks if you mow the lawn every other week instead of every week, and common assumptions about nature are always worth investigating; scientists may be surprised by what we find.”

However, it should also be noted that this doesn’t mean that your front lawn isn’t harboring ticks; Lerman also noted ticks love to take up space on decaying leaves and in other humid environments. In contrast, lawn grass is often too dry to house ticks. Black legged ticks have developed a deservedly bad reputation, as they both carry and transmit Lyme disease. In the United States, the prevalence of these insects has grown dramatically. A 2016 study found that black legged ticks were present in roughly 45 percent of US counties, compared to just 30 percent in the late 1990s. Consequently, black legged ticks are now present in 37 states, putting increasingly more people at risk of Lyme disease.

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