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Pest Control 101

How to get rid of fleas

5 min read

dog scratching in yard from fleas

Having fleas in your yard can lead to health issues. Not only can fleas transmit tapeworms to pets, but they can also infect you with typhus and other diseases such as the plague. Thus, getting rid of fleas in your yard as soon as possible is in your best interest.

How does your lawn get fleas?

Fleas are an incredibly common pest that can live in a variety of places around the world. In many cases, they are brought into your lawn by animals that are already infested. This might include your pets, but it can also include raccoons, possums, foxes or stray animals that might be wandering around your neighborhood.

When these critters venture onto your property, the flea eggs fall off their body and hatch in your grass. Once that happens, they can hitch a ride on your pet or they may even find their way onto you or your family’s clothes, and then they get into your home.

Once they are in your yard, it’s only a short amount of time before they find a way into your house. Thus, you are probably wondering how to get rid of fleas. While this process may take some time and effort, getting rid of this pest can be accomplished.

outdoor dog biting to rid himself of fleas

How to get rid of fleas

When it comes to getting rid of fleas, there are several steps that you’ll need to take. While this won’t necessarily guarantee that the fleas will be gone for good, it can greatly reduce their numbers and ensure that they don’t get into your home or on your pet. Here are the steps you need to take when wondering how to get rid of fleas:

Treat your lawn

There are a variety of different chemical treatments you can apply to your lawn that will kill fleas. These include fertilizers, which will also feed and strengthen your grass, and insecticidal sprays.

If you use a spray that contains pyrethrin, this will kill the adult fleas. To ensure that you take care of the larva and eggs, you need to use an insect growth regulator such as pyriproxyfen and Methoprene. Using all three of these chemicals is the best way to ensure that you target and kill all the flea stages to reduce their numbers and prevent an infestation.

When using chemicals to treat your lawn, make sure to read and follow the instructions. These chemicals can also be hazardous to humans and other animals, so make sure you are using them correctly to reduce the chances of injury to you, your family and your pets.

Some natural flea treatment options you can consider include diatomaceous earth and nematodes. Diatomaceous earth is a fine dust made from the fossilized remains of algae called diatoms. It is completely safe for mammals, but deadly to fleas. To use this properly, you will need to spread it around your lawn, concentrating on areas where your pet spends the most amount of time. Keep in mind that diatomaceous earth only works in dust form, so it can’t get wet.

Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on flea larvae and other pests that might be in your yard, including termites. They are harmless to humans and pets, and they also won’t damage trees, bushes, grass or other plants. Nematodes usually come in spray form, and you will need to frequently apply this to the shady areas in your yard. Don’t spay in sunny areas, as nematodes can’t tolerate the sun.

Create a perimeter

Once you have treated your lawn with chemicals or natural products, you’ll then need to create a perimeter around your home. This includes creating a vegetation-free area that is 6 to 18 inches wide by removing brush, leaf litter and plants. You’ll then want to spray a flea-killing chemical or line the area closest to your house with diatomaceous earth to keep fleas away.

Fleas aren’t fond of cedar, so you can also use cedar-based mulch close to your home and in various places around your yard. You might even consider placing cedar mulch in places where your pets like to play and rest to reduce their chances of being infested with fleas.

Keep your lawn at the ideal height

When it comes to cutting your lawn, you want to ensure it’s at the ideal height for the grass type. If you leave it too long, this will give fleas a place to hide. Cutting it too short will make it unappealing to ants and spiders, both of which eat fleas.

You’ll also want to keep the thatch in your yard to half an inch or less. A thick thatch layer will create the perfect environment for fleas, their eggs and their larvae to hide.

Don’t overwater

Fleas are incredibly fond of moisture, and if you are overwatering your lawn, you are once again creating an environment that will help this pest thrive. In most cases, your lawn should only need about an inch of water on a weekly basis, and this includes moisture it gets from rainfall and/or your sprinkler system.

Increase the amount of sun your lawn receives

Not only do fleas enjoy moisture, but they also like to hang out in the shade. Thus, as a way to reduce the number of fleas in your yard, you’ll want to get rid of as many shady spots as possible. This means trimming trees and shrubs and getting rid of any clutter you might have on your property.

Get rid of wildlife

Since a variety of different animals can bring fleas into your yard, including squirrels, rabbits, feral cats and skunks, keeping these away from your property can stop a flea infestation. You might consider putting up a fence or other deterrent to keep wildlife away.

Protect your family and pets

Having fleas in your yard means that they will have easy access to your home. When it comes to how to get rid of fleas, the most important thing you need to do is make your lawn uninviting and uninhabitable. These steps require some time and effort, but keeping your family and pets protected is worth it.

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