What Temperature Do Fleas Flourish In? What is it Fleas Like?

BY | September 19 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
What Temperature Do Fleas Flourish In?

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Flea & Tick
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Discover what conditions, like temperature and humidity, lead to the optimal environment for fleas and ticks.

There's lots of talk about "flea and tick season," (in certain circles) but depending on the climate where you live, fleas and ticks may be a year-round concern. That's why it is important to maintain year-round protection with a preventative like Advantage Multi or Nexgard. Discovering the conditions that lead to an optimal environment for fleas and ticks -- like warm temperatures and overgrown bushes -- can help you know when and how to ramp up your preventative measures. And don't miss our flea and tick maps and alerts.

Temperature

Both fleas and ticks flourish in warm climates. The ideal temperature for these parasites is within the 70 to 85-degree range, but they can live in cooler and warmer temperatures as well. For many states, the most prevalent seasons for fleas and ticks are the spring and summer, or roughly from May through September. For southern and southwestern states, the flea and tick season typically occurs year-round.

Extremely high heat will destroy fleas and ticks, as well as their eggs. If youโ€™re suffering from a flea infestation, washing and drying your petโ€™s bedding on high heat is a helpful eradication method. Similarly, after being outside in a tick-friendly area, laundering your clothes is a good way to destroy any ticks that may be clinging to your outfit. (Note that ticks have been found to live even after a cycle through the washing machine, so be sure to also dry clothing on high heat.)

Once the temperature falls below freezing for several days in a row, adult fleas will die. However, for fleas in a different stage of the life cycle -- the eggs, larva, and pupa -- the cold weather is not destructive. The non-adult fleas will go dormant, and when temperatures rise again, those fleas will begin to look for a host. Similarly, ticks are only dormant, not dead, when the weather is below freezing. If the temperature rises in the wintertime, be cautious of tick bites just as you would be in the summertime.

Humidity

Ticks and fleas require a high humidity level, ideally around 70 percent.

The moisture in the air is a matter of survival for ticks: it allows the larval ticks to mature into nymphs. During the nymph stage, ticks feed upon hosts for the first time. Tick eggs and larvae are frequently found in moist organic matter like leaves and brush. As adults, ticks can be found on leaves, bushes, and taller plants. The ticks climb upward seeking potential hosts; when they grow dehydrated, the ticks crawl back down.

Humidity also plays a key role in fleasโ€™ survival: the moisture is necessary for eggs to hatch and for fleas to progress through the life cycle.

Woods, Grass, and Brush

Ticks generally live in the woods, where they can easily find warm-blooded hosts like rabbits, squirrels, and deer. Fleas tend to like dark spaces around homes, like the crawl space or under bushes. Suburban and rural areas are quite comfortable for both fleas and ticks -- you could easily catch fleas in a dog park, and ticks can be present in gardens if there are deer around.

As larva, fleas prefer dark cracks and crannies but as fleas progress through the life cycle, their main goal becomes seeking out a warm-blooded host.

Light

Both fleas and ticks are sensitive to extreme heat and a lack of moisture. Eliminate shaded areas around your home -- keep bushes well-trimmed and mow grass frequently. This will lead to dried-out soil and direct sunlight, which is an inhospitable environment for fleas and ticks.

Residents of warmer climates are unfortunately living in ideal zones for fleas and ticks. Preventative measures -- like applying monthly medications to pets, checking for ticks after being outside, and landscaping outdoor areas thoughtfully -- are recommended to ward off tick bites and flea infestations.

Do I Need to Protect My Pet After Flea Season?

This question could easily have a one-word answer โ€“ yes. Yes, we do recommend you give your pet year-round preventative flea and tick medication. Yes, it really makes a difference. And yes, youโ€™ll thank us later.

It is a common misconception that preventative flea and tick methods should only be used during โ€œflea and tick season.โ€ Sure, as the weather turns warmer, fleas have a much stronger presence than during the icy winter months but that doesnโ€™t mean they disappear altogether, especially in warm winters like many parts of the country have experienced. No matter where you live or what the weather is, you need to protect your pet. Pets are like family. You wouldnโ€™t want your toddler to hit the beach without sunscreen, so why would you let your dog run around without their flea and tick armor?

A Stitch In Time Savesโ€ฆ Money

Not only will year-round prevention ensure your pet can avoid having to scratch and claw its way through an incredibly uncomfortable flea infestation, but preventative care is also far less expensive than dealing with fleas once they arrive. Your home can easily become subject to flea eggs, larva, feces, and more. Plus, your pet will be suffering (fleas bites hurt your pets and they can lead to worse damage like tapeworms or even hot spots;  ticks can cause diseases!) and that can easily be avoided.

If you wait for flea and tick season to hit it may be too late. Many oral medications, and even topical treatments like PetArmor, can take months to reach their full effect and actually combat a fleaโ€™s full life cycle. The sooner you get started on preventative flea and tick health care, the happier both you and your pet will be. Most medications are taken only once a month and are easily administered so there really is no excuse. Protect your pets year-round. 

Related Products

K9 Advantix
Advantage II for Cats
Frontline Plus
Comfortis

More Flea and Tick Control Advice

How to Get Rid of a Tick
Tapeworms in Dogs: How Fleas Can Be to Blame
Will I Overmedicate My Pet if I Mix Flea Meds?

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 professionals 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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