A friend had a puppy get Lyme disease in February in Long Island. Normally ticks would not be a problem until spring. Unfortunately with climate change tick season is longer, and if ticks are not killed off by a cold snap at some point, much more severe.
So what to do? As far as having someone come onto your property and spray chemicals, they are detrimental to people, and also to insects, amphibians, and aquatic organisms. The animals up the food chain will also be impacted by having diminished food source. Importantly, they have not been shown to be effective at decreasing Lyme disease.
Professional applicators most commonly use Bifenthrin. This is a synthetic permethrin, often billed as just like natural pyrethrin from chrysanthemum, but it isn’t. It is only available to professional applicators, has significant aquatic organism toxicity and is linked to disrupting thyroid hormone. Studies have shown that it decreases the tick population up to 60 percent, but does not decrease the incidence of Lyme disease.
Some applicators also suggest cedar oil or rosemary oil, but there is no proof they are effective. The white footed mouse is a major tick reservoir, so tick tubes are sometimes used. They have permethrin in them. The oily pesticide is put on cotton that the mice bring back to their dens. It is effective in decreasing the tick population on mice, but not on squirrels or chipmunks. It has not been shown to decrease the incidence of Lyme disease. It is a better solution than broadcast spraying, though.
Researchers are currently studying a bio insecticide to see if it is safe and effective. A strain of Metarhizium anisopliae, Met52, is manufactured by Novozyme. Early indications look promising.
And of course, avoid wandering through tall grasses where ticks can hide. Cover up and use a topical repellant if you do, and tick check carefully when you come back in. Take your clothes off when you come in and wash and dry them. Dry them being the most important part. Dry on high for one hour, that will kill them. They can actually survive the wash cycle.