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How to Treat Fleas in the Yard

Make Your Lawn a Flea Free Zone

By Gina Carey. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

How to Treat Fleas in the Yard

Riding your yard of fleas can be a daunting task, especially if you're not sure where to start. Learn where fleas can be found in your yard and how to get rid of them for good!

You’ve taken the steps to de-flea your house, but the battle might not be over yet. Fleas are pests that can endure and breed in the outdoors until they find a new furry home.

If your pets spend a lot of time in your yard, it might be necessary to treat everything from the lawn to your lawn furniture for these parasites. Learn where fleas can be found in your yard, how to eradicate them, and how to prevent future infestations.

How to Check Your Yard for Flea Infestation

It’s important to make sure the yard is not the source of your flea infestation. Walk around your yard wearing white socks pulled up to your calves, and linger in the areas your pet hangs out most. You’ll easily spot fleas against the white cotton of your socks if they are present.

Fleas prefer cool, shady, moist places. They especially like shrubs, leaves, and trees, and don’t fare well in sunny areas or in open grass.

The first place to look for fleas are the spots your pets frequent most. Anywhere your pet likes to sleep, rest, dig, or run is where fleas will likely be. Poke around the doghouse, kennel, outdoor furniture, and shady trees or gardens. Also check out the patio, underneath the porch, along fences, and around your house’s perimeter.

Preparing Your Yard for Flea Treatment

After you treat your pets and declare them flea-free, begin treating the yard. It’s best to keep pets out of the area until you eradicate the pests completely. If a few lingering parasites jump on your dog or cat, the whole process could have to start over again.

Begin by thoroughly cleaning your yard. It’s probably on your to-do list anyway! Mow the grass and pick any weeds you see. Remove debris from the garden as well as your lawn. Stacked wood, piles of leaves, and mounds of rocks are the ideal breeding ground for fleas. The more clutter, the more places fleas can take refuge. You should also keep the yard free of pet and child toys during this process.

Treating Your Yard for Fleas

Once you choose your method of flea removal, be it insecticides or a more natural solution (see below), focus on the places your pet frequents first. If you have a giant yard, you may not need to treat the entire area. If your pet doesn’t frequent the front yard, or is fenced off from certain areas, it won’t be necessary to treat those places. Doghouses and kennels should be sprayed with the same non-toxic product you use to treat your pet.

Using Insecticides to Treat Your Yard

If you choose to use a pesticide to eliminate outdoor fleas, follow the directions on the product label, and make sure to abide by all safety warnings. Most flea pesticides come in the form of hose sprayers or tank pumps. You can hire a professional to administer the treatments, but if you prefer to do it yourself, make sure to cover up. Wear a dust mask, protective clothing, and gloves.

Make sure you remove toys from the yard before spraying, and keep children and pets off the treated areas until those areas are dry, or until the product instructions indicates it is safe. Most applications of insecticide will need to be repeated in two to three weeks after your first round.

Flood Your Yard to Remove Flea Eggs

Once you’ve eradicated fleas from your yard, you still have to contend with their offspring. Fleas breed in those moist, shady areas we discussed earlier. Hose down garden beds, around trees, rock mounds, and anywhere else you suspect fleas are hanging out. Next, water your grass until it slightly floods. Eggs and larvae will not survive when flooded with water.

Beneficial Nematodes and Flea Removal

Nematodes are a natural, non-toxic defense against fleas. These microscopic worms are harmless to humans and  pets, and will not cause damage to trees, grass, bushes or plants. They feed on flea larvae and attack other pests in your yard as well, like termites. Nematodes typically come in spray form, and should be applied to the shady areas that fleas frequent, as they cannot tolerate the hot sun either.

Cedar Wood Chips and Fleas

Cedar chips are another natural way to keep fleas at bay. These parasites are repulsed by the scent of cedar chips and do their best to avoid them. Sprinkle the chips in those shady areas that fleas frequent in your yard, as well as under the porch, dog bedding, and outdoor furniture. You can mow right over cedar chips, turning them into a finer powder that will still repel the fleas. Sprinkle them along your fence to keep fleas from neighboring yards out.

Prevent Future Flea Infestations in Your Yard

If your pet is prone to fleas, take these measures to make your yard less flea-friendly.

  • Keep Your Lawn Dry: Fleas thrive in moist places, so do not over-water your lawn. You’ll create a flea-friendly breeding ground for the these parasites.

  • Use Cedar Chips Decoratively: Given fleas’ aversion to their smell, try incorporating cedar chips decoratively so they have a permanent place in your yard.

  • Consider Planting Pennyroyal: Pennyroyal, also known as fleabane, naturally repels fleas once it’s fully established in your yard. This plant is a member of the mint family, and fleas do not like its scent. Use pennyroyal with caution, as it is toxic to cats if ingested, and is not recommended around pregnant animals.

  • Prune, Trim, and Mow: A sunny yard is not an ideal habitat for fleas as they cannot tolerate hot sun for long periods. Frequently mowing your lawn exposes the soil to sunshine, keeping it dry and flea-free. You can also prune bushes and trim trees to increase the sunniness of your yard, and keep fleas out.
More on Flea and Tick Control Advice

Dog Hot Spots: What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis?
How to Kill Fleas in Your Yard
25 Startling Flea and Tick Facts
Oral Flea Control: Flea Pillls For Dogs And Cats
My Dog Has Fleas, What Should I Do?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website. 

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