Tick born diseases are on the rise in America. Are you looking for a guaranteed chemical-free way to completely eliminate ticks from your land? Are you scared of the increasing regularity of tick-borne diseases being diagnosed by government health organizations and medical institutions? The purpose of this article is to show how you and other land owners can completely eliminate ticks that carry disease from a piece of property.
The solutions and preventative measures we see in every news article about Lyme or any other tick-related illness are always the same. Cover your body as much as possible, tuck in your pants legs, use harsh chemicals like DEET or just stay inside. I can assure you that there is a much better option that all landowners can use to safely and almost fully eliminate every tick on any property.
Meet the Guinea Hen!
This is the Godzilla to your ticks Tokyo. The guinea hen has proven itself as the destroyer of worlds when it comes to heavily tick-infested areas. It can wipe out completely an acre of ticks within just days as the hen constantly roams the ground leaves and grasses. The tick actually offers itself as a meal to the guinea which makes the job of the guinea that much easier. A tick will crawl up to the top of a blade of grass and hold out its legs to automatically grab on to any passing animal. The guinea however with its keen eyesight easily sees the tick and just picks them off one by one.
This is why we have long recommended landowners who are concerned about ticks and tick-borne diseases to release guineas over their property.
Eliminating Ticks in State and National Parks
Private landowners wanting to rid their land of ticks is one thing. But what about public lands where everyone can safely enjoy the outdoors? The same old recommendations of wearing long sleeves and tucking in pant legs are really not going to stop the ticks. They will still get on you and find their way to the skin. And do we really need to submerge in a DEET bath before we head off to enjoy nature?
A sure-fire way for state and national parks to drastically reduce tick numbers would be to release guinea fowl over these lands. Sure, they will get picked off eventually by predators and may not survive the year. But the damage they inflict on a tick population over such a short period of time would be so massive that its recovery would take years. In more suburban and semi-rural neighborhoods, releasing a limited number of guinea fowl would ensure that children could run outside and play without fear of a bite.
Wildlife management agencies already fund programs that introduce different fowl such as quail, pheasants, and doves into state and federal lands. Why not introduce adult guineas into areas that are frequented by hikers, campers or anyone enjoying what parks have to offer. National park visitation is actually down on a per capita basis with 21.6 visits per 100 people in 2014 from a high of 25.8 visits per 100 people in 1995. Do you think people might be staying home because of a fear of tick diseases? It’s possible.
The northeast of the country especially is high in Lyme disease cases. But the truth is there are all kinds of reports of tick-borne diseases on the rise all over the US. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is another disease that takes its toll on many new victims each year. Not to mention that new cases are being reported of allergies to red meat because of tick bites.
Guinea Hens – Expendable Commodity
Guinea hens are easily picked off by predators. Especially land predators. The males will sometimes fight off owls or hawks but they are no match to a fox or coyote that catches them on the ground. Or a raccoon that catches them asleep in a tree. But the devastation they inflict on tick populations is swift and devastating. It doesn’t take long for large plots of land to feel their effect. We have often called them an expendable commodity. You raise them or purchase them for the job they do and when they are all gone, each year you replace them. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and land free of an insect that could carry some life-altering illness.
Where Can I Find Guinea Hens
Search Craigslist is the best advice I can give you. We usually see them listed every year on there. We just bought 10 more for our homestead this year and released them on the property. If you have ever had guineas before, you know they can be loud and they are dumb. But I can deal with that. The noise is something I can get used too. What I can not deal with is one of my children getting a disease that will give them a tougher haul in life when that is totally preventable.
The biggest issue is awareness. Instead of offering solutions of wearing long sleeves or slathering yourself in chemicals, we need to start suggesting and writing letters to agency officials that there is a better solution. We can realistically and substantially decrease the tick population as a whole with this amazing natural predator. There is nothing more catastrophic to ticks than this loud and obnoxious bird.
If we really want to do something about tick-borne diseases, RELEASE THE GUINEAS!