The impressive jumping abilities of fleas allow them easy entry into your home, hitching a ride on your pants leg or on your pet’s fur. Once inside your home, fleas will torment your cat or dog, and multiply at a swift and overwhelming rate. Ticks, which can be more frightening from a disease perspective, hide in grass and can also easily attach to you or your pet. Prevent your backyard from becoming a comfortable breeding ground for these harmful parasites, and find out how to eliminate these pests if they’re already cozily in place.
Preventing Fleas & Ticks From Inhabiting Your Yard
Your lawn can be tempting for fleas and ticks, particularly if it is somewhat overgrown. Try following these easy tips to ensure that your backyard stays free of pests:
- Keep grass well-trimmed: While fleas and ticks like to lurk within the grass, direct sunlight will make the soil and grass too hot for them to survive. Mow the lawn frequently to maximize sun exposure.
- Water Abundantly: Flooding areas with a flea population can be another strategy, since it drowns and destroys flea larvae.
- Be Deer-Free: Deer are prime tick-carriers, so prevent deer from coming on your land with fences. Avoid planting fruits and vegetables that are particularly appealing to deer, such as tulips and lettuce.
- Organic Matter: Compost, piles of leaves, and other organic matter are a prime breeding ground and home for fleas and ticks. Avoid having organic matter where your family or pets walk and play, not that we'd want to deter you from composting altogether!
- Separate play areas: Your deck, playground equipment like slides, and the grassy areas you and your pets walk on, should be kept separate from complete nature with a barrier of wood chips or gravel. The CDC recommends keeping this barrier 3-feet wide.
Eliminate Fleas in Your Yard
But what if it’s too late to prevent fleas, or if you live in a warm climate, where fleas and ticks are nearly unavoidable? Try one of these solutions:
- Chemical Remedies: To remove fleas and ticks from the yard, you can spray an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). These treatments are generally safe for people and pets and will inhibit the flea’s life cycle and prevent further offspring. Be cautious about applying these near a water source, and note that IGRs are harmful to fish. Acaracides, or a tick pesticide, can be applied on a yearly basis to ward off and destroy ticks in your backyard.
- Diatomaceous Earth: While hazardous to ingest or breath in, this natural product can be used as an insecticide without harm to humans or pets. Apply food grade Diatomaceous Earth on dry days to areas of the garden where you have spotted fleas and ticks. Wear gloves while sprinkling it around to avoid irritating your skin. When fleas, ticks, or insects encounter or ingest Diatomaceous Earth, it dehydrates and shreds their bodies, eventually destroying them completely.