Flea Prevention in the Home and Yard
By Diane Morgan
Fleas are tough pests that multiply quickly. They can live in furniture, carpet, hardwood floors, your pet’s bed, or even your own bed. Outdoors, fleas prefer moist, shady areas with lots of organic material. If you have a porch, the area underneath can turn into an overwintering site. Spots like tall grass, leaf litter, weeds, wood piles, gravelly areas, and sandy patches are all attractive to fleas. Even the tiniest crack in concrete can harbor them. With so many potential living places for these insects, it’s crucial to practice flea prevention in your home and yard.
For most of the US, flea season begins in May and lasts until temperatures are consistently below freezing. The worst time of the year for fleas is September, October, and November in many parts of the country. With our changing climate, however, flea outbreaks can occur at any time. Fleas are generally inactive in cold weather and usually “wake up” when night temperatures rise above 60°F and day temperatures average 70°F.nbsp;
Outdoor flea populations can be greatly reduced or even eliminated by practicing proper lawn maintenance. Reduce debris in your yard and cut your lawn regularly. Long grass, ragged fencerows, and garbage attract fleas and pests that harbor them like mice, rats, skunks, and raccoons. Because many animals are most active at night, you may not even know there’s a problem. If your home has regular wildlife visitors, you may need to capture them with a humane live trap. You can buy pet-safe rodent bait boxes to deal with smaller pests.
Fenced yards are less likely to invite flea-ridden strays. Remember—most pets get fleas from other pets, so it’s crucial to keep your furry friend away from foreign animals. If you have a cat, keep them indoors at all times for their own safety. Indoor cats will not bring in fleas.
Vacuum your home regularly—including upholstery—especially near areas where your pet plays or sleeps and areas under furniture and drapes. Dispose of what you vacuum in a sealed bag and discard the contents immediately. Be sure to vacuum your car as well.
If you have a flea infestation, use a commercial product that will keep flea eggs and flea larvae from developing, or choose one that aggressively kills eggs and larvae. Our Magic Coat® Flea Comb
is perfect for removing fleas and their eggs from your pet’s coat, and our Magic Coat® Flea and Tick Shampoo
is specially formulated to kill these pests.
MONTHLY FLEA PREVENTIVES
Keep your pet on a monthly flea prevention program. Inspect them for fleas and wash their bedding in hot water regularly. The wash cycle alone may not kill all the fleas, but 30 minutes in the hot dryer will destroy any remaining fleas and their eggs.
After you clean the house, let your furry friend roam free and check them often. Fleas will soon die if you’ve treated your pet, but a quick check will tell you if they are still in the house. The more you keep up with proper prevention practices, the safer you and your pet will be!