Fleas do not just take up residence on animals like dogs, cats, birds and other wildlife. They are ectoparasites that prefer to live, mate and lay eggs on many hairy animals. But they can also live in areas where animals are frequently laying down, which could be in your yard if you have a pet.
While fleas are wingless, they are powerful jumpers. As you or your pet walk around your yard, fleas in the yard can quickly jump on you or your pet and hitch a ride into your home. Once inside, they can reproduce, and their eggs, larvae and cocoons can spread to bedding, furniture, carpets and rugs. These different flea stages will be found where your pet commonly rests.
This is why it's important for pet owners to have their pets treated by a veterinarian for fleas, ticks and other parasites. This helps prevent flea infestations and issues in your home and yard.
How to know if you have fleas in your yard
Fleas are tiny — similar to a brownish-black pen point dot. While their small size makes them difficult to spot, there are a few ways to tell if you have fleas in your yard.
- Watch your pets' behavior in the yard. Scratching and restless activity could indicate that fleas are biting them.
- Examine outdoor upholstered furniture and outdoor pet bedding for live fleas or flea dirt. If you are unsure if what you are seeing is flea dirt, smear it into a piece of white paper. If the smear looks red or reddish-brown from dried blood, it's likely flea dirt.
- Pull a pair of light-colored socks up over your pant legs and walk around moist, areas of your yard with high vegetation. Do this at different times during the day. If you have fleas, you will likely be able to spot their brown, black or reddish bodies as they jump onto your socks.
How to control fleas in the yard
Fleas in your yard can be a long-term problem. Depending on your yard's conditions, the flea life cycle from eggs to larvae to pupae to adults can take weeks to several months. When a host (like you or your pet) becomes available, females can immediately feed and lay more eggs, and the life cycle continues.
One way to treat your yard for fleas and lessen the chance they will migrate into your home is to make it less attractive to them. Preventive actions you can take to help keep fleas away include:
Cut your grass
Fleas love to hide out in thatch and tall grass. Mowing your lawn regularly can help to remove their hiding places.
Keep stray animals out of yard
According to the Mississippi State University Extension, installing a fence around your yard will help keep stray animals who may be carrying fleas out. This will help keep fleas from infesting your yard and getting onto your pets.
Protect your pets
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends working with your veterinarian to determine the correct steps for protecting your pets from fleas.
The most effective way to treat for fleas
Again, when it comes to flea control the most important thing you can do is have your pet treated for fleas by a veterinarian, and frequently vacuum your home.
It's important to note that Terminix® does not treat yards for fleas. However, fleas in your yard can sometimes find their way into your home on your pets. If you think you have a flea problem inside your home, then Terminix can help.