Fleas: Yard Remedies

golden Lets TalkYou’ve treated your dog. You’ve treated your house. Now it’s time to treat the yard, the home of most of your little flea enemies.

First, let’s talk environment. If you can create an environment that is unfriendly to fleas, you will see significantly less of them finding their way into your home. Fleas flourish in humid areas, away from direct sunlight. While eggs and pupae are pretty resilient to their environment, flea larvae, who prefer to be in dark, cool, wet areas, tend to be more susceptible to treatments.

Try to keep your yard dry and well maintained with a minimum of overgrown grass and weeds. Short grass keeps the ground more exposed to sunlight while tall, shady grass becomes a playground for larvae. Cut back bushes and trees to further eliminate deeply shaded areas (the kind that get no sunlight all day), especially if those areas are close to where your dog and family spend most of their time outside.

If you have a play area for your pet or children, try to separate it from unkempt areas of the yard where fleas are likely to be. Some use a three-foot border of wood chips or gravel to create a buffer zone that fleas won’t feel inclined to cross. Also, if you compost, keep the compost pile away from high traffic areas since flea larvae will gravitate toward such a nutrient-rich spot.

If your area has a high population of wildlife, you may want to think about who you might be inviting into your yard. Deer, raccoons, and other creatures may very well be shuttling fleas into your yard for your dog to pick up later. You may want to put up a fence and avoid putting out food to attract other animals into your yard.

Next, see if you can find the problem spots in your yard. Do you notice a higher concentration of fleas in certain areas of your yard? You can check where the critters might be hiding by walking around your yard in white socks and checking where you seem to pick up the most fleas. As said above, shady spots away from harsh sunlight are prime for flea breeding. You will also want to check the dog house, if you have one, and under the porch.

Many insect sprays for yards include treatments for fleas. If you get a yard spray, make sure that the label specifies that it is effective against fleas. Some may even have insect growth regulators (IGRs), which are chemicals meant to halt certain flea life stages, such as preventing adult fleas from laying eggs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when using these products. Also take care to remove all patio furniture, kid and pet toys, and anything else that might accidentally get chemical residue on it. As with other flea treatments, the yard spray will not be effective if it is only done once. To kill all the emerging eggs and pupae, you’ll need to repeat the process again after two weeks.

Another popular flea killer is beneficial nematodes. These friendly, pest-killing micro worms will target flea larvae and pupae. They can be purchased at garden centers. Many pet owners like this flea control method because it does not introduce strong chemicals into their yard environment. For application, you can apply them directly to moist soil or add them to a watering can or pump or hose sprayer to coat your yard. These flea fighters also prefer shady areas away from direct sunlight, so take care to put them in the spots where they’ll thrive the most. Conveniently, these spots will also be the areas where the fleas are doing well too, so the nematodes can go right to work. If you plan to also spray your garden, be sure to use a product that will not harm the beneficial nematodes, otherwise you’ll be undoing one of your own treatments!

If you’re looking to do some new landscaping, or if you are up for planting some new foliage around your house, you can look into using plants that will act as a repellent to fleas. Although these plants will not kill fleas, they will discourage the pests from hanging around. If planted all around your house or around the outdoor areas you and your pets spend time, these plants can work as a sort of flea protection buffer. See the next post for specifics on which plants do the best repelling while posing no threat to your pet.



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