Dealing with fleas is something no pet owner ever wants to experience. These jumping, biting pests are not only aggravating, but they can transmit nasty parasites like tapeworm to your dog or cat, or even typhus in humans. To find out how to get rid of fleas in your yard and prevent your pets and home from becoming infested, take a look at these important tips.
The Life Cycle of a Flea
Understanding the life cycle of a flea is paramount to eliminating them from your life. Oftentimes people will manage to kill all the adults, but become frustrated when the problem keeps returning. In order to get rid of fleas permanently, you need to focus on attacking the eggs, larvae, and pupae as well.
The four stages of a fleas life cycle are:
Factors like temperature and humidity affect the duration of an entire life cycle. The ideal environment for fleas to develop is around 70 percent humidity and temperatures of 70-85℉. It can take anywhere from two weeks, to several months for a life cycle to complete.
Tips for how to get rid of fleas in your yard
Getting rid of fleas from your yard is key to keeping your pets and home flea-free. Take a look at these tips for how to break their life cycles and remove them from your yard for good
1. Tidy up your yard
Take a look at your yard. If you have leaf piles or a messy heap of compost — the first thing to do is clean up. Fleas thrive in shady, moist environments, so it’s important to remove even small build-ups of clutter around your property. Eliminating debris in your yard allows sunlight to penetrate more surface area. More sunshine means less fleas as it desiccates fleas in the larval stage.
Another way of encouraging more sunlight in your yard is to prune foliage and branches on trees, bushes, and shrubs to cut back on shade. Mowing tall grass also decreases the amount of places fleas can hide and reproduce, just don’t forget to pick up the lawn clippings afterwards.
2. Water Your Lawn Frequently
You may be thinking, “but if fleas prefer moist conditions, shouldn’t I let my lawn dry out?”. On the contrary, watering your lawn frequently actually helps break the reproduction cycle of fleas. This is because larval fleas feed on the feces of adult fleas, so by watering your lawn you’re simultaneously washing away their food source.
3. Try Nematode
Nematodes are microscopic worms that prey on flea larvae and pupae. They also reduce the presence of other pests such as mosquitoes, some moths, and termites among others. Though they’re technically parasitic insects, nematodes are harmless to you, your pets, and other larger animals. They work by first entering their host and then killing them from the inside.
In fact, using nematodes to eliminate outdoor fleas is a great non-toxic alternative to using chemicals and insecticides. Plus, some nematode treatments like this one are sprayable, making it easy to apply. This method works best for the moist, darker areas of your lawn, so if there are spots where you just can’t get the sun to shine — consider nematodes.
Like the fleas they kill, nematodes can’t stand high temperature and sun, so apply this treatment at dawn for best results. The best part is that they get to work quickly. You could even see results in as little as 24 hours.
4. Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth offers another non-toxic way of getting rid of fleas in your yard. It’s an all-natural material made from the fossils of extremely small, aquatic organisms known as diatoms. When insects like spiders, ants, and fleas come into contact with it, the diatomaceous earth cuts into their exoskeletons and dehydrates them until they die.
Fleas are unable to build an immunity to this method too, so it’s consistently potent every time you use it. It’s most commonly found in powder form, but some places offer it in a sprayable liquid form. Apply it to the ground in areas around your yard that are likely sources of fleas, such as shady corners and other dark spots. This organic option is a great product to get started with.
Diatomaceous Earth can also be used indoors on carpets and other soft surfaces you think fleas may have been. Sprinkle it on and let it sit for three days, then just vacuum it up. Repeat every 30 days to be thorough.
If you’ve tried different ways to get rid of fleas in your yard and nothing seems to be working, then an insecticide or pesticide may be in order. These are chemical sprays that kill adult fleas. However, if you really want to get rid of your flea problem, then an insect growth regulator (IGR) is another good idea. IGRs work by attacking the larval and pupal stages of the flea so that they aren’t able to grow into adults and reproduce.
When using this method, don’t apply it to your entire yard — just around areas where fleas are likely to dwell. Spots like dog houses, crawl spaces or similar areas, underneath patios and decks, and around dense shrubbery are good places to spray. Sunny areas or places where there’s high foot traffic are typically fine to leave alone.
6. Keep Stray and Wild Animals Out
Once you have the flea population in your yard under control, you’ll want to keep stray and wild animals out of your yard. Common animals like stray dogs and cats, raccoons, deer, and rodents may not pose much of a danger, but they could be carrying fleas and other nasty pests. To prevent another infestation of fleas in your yard try out these tips to deter animals:
- Fix holes in fences
- Establish barriers around your property
- Keep garbage area tidy and lids locked
- Remove bird food / pet food from outdoors
- Remove places where small animals could hide
Though they are certainly a pain to deal with, it is possible to eradicate fleas around your property and keep your home, pets, and family safe. Hopefully these tips will help you win the battle and get rid of fleas in your yard.
Here’s a very informative video about fleas that I found on Youtube