Your lawn and turf can play host to a wide range of insect pests. One of the most frustrating amongst them is fleas.
Under the right conditions, your lawn can become a veritable breeding ground for fleas. As their population explodes, these tiny pests can easily hitch a ride on your pets to cause a host of troubles in your home.
Even a seemingly small fleas infestation is no small problem. Especially when you consider that even a single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs in a single day. Once an active population infests your home, their bites can cause sores and rashes.
Compounding this is the fact that they can live up to two years under the right conditions. So, it’s best to take a preventative approach to keep them out of your house, by killing or at least reducing the flea population on your lawn.
How To Spot Fleas On Your Lawn
It can be very hard to spot fleas in your yard. By nature, they are tiny elusive insects with reddish-brown, wingless, narrow bodies. Most fleas are barely larger than 1/6 of an inch long. So, your chances of spotting them with even a vigilant visual inspection are futile and likely frustrating.
Usually, the most effective way to determine whether you have fleas in your yard is to slip on a pair of tall white athletic socks and go for a casual stroll through the tall grass where your pets or other animals frequent. Just make sure to pull the socks up as far as they will go.
If fleas are present in your grass, they will show up on your socks. Just be sure to seal the socks in a plastic bag or throw them away outside to keep from bringing them into your house.
How To Reduce The Flea Population In Your Yard?
Reducing the flea population in your lawn, and preventing them from infesting your home typically requires a multi-phase approach. This might consist of two or more of the following things.
create a Buffer Zone
Establishing a perimeter around your home that is consistently unfriendly to fleas creates a buffer zone between any active flea population in your lawn and the comfortable environs of your home.
This starts with removing all leaf litter, brush, and plantings for at least 6 to 18 inches. The wider this buffer is the better.
You might also want to go the extra mile by applying Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Indoor & Perimeter2 along your home’s foundation, making sure to follow label directions.
Maintain Grass Height at Two Inches
By mowing your lawn to the ideal height for the grass type, you effectively reduce the available flea habitat. Long grass gives fleas places to hide. Yet you also don’t want to cut your grass below 2 inches, as it won’t be attractive to the spiders or ants which prey on fleas.
Remove Choking Thatch
That is created by long dry blades of grass that don’t readily decompose after mowing. When it’s allowed to build up, it gives fleas, their eggs, and their larvae a place to hide.
Cutting your grass with a mulching mower, and frequently dethatching your lawn helps keep your lawn’s thatch layer to less than half an inch.
Don’t Overwater Your Lawn
Fleas need moisture to live and propagate. The average lawn only needs around an inch of water per week. This includes sprinkler irrigation and rainfall combined.
Use Cedar Mulch
Cedar is insect resistant to the point that many pests like fleas hate cedar. By using cedar mulch or a type of mulch that is treated with oils that mimic the aroma of natural cedar, you send an aromatic warning message to the flea population living at the fringes of your lawn.
Choosing cedar mulch for key areas such as under a hedge, around your planting beds, around your deck, alongside your patio, or under your porch helps reinforce that buffer barrier effect to deter fleas.
Maximize Sunlight Exposure
Fleas are denizens of the dark and prefer semi-moist surroundings. By increasing the sunlight exposure of your yard helps keep the population of fleas in your lawn as low as possible. This includes doing things like pruning trees and shrubs. Even something as simple as removing low branches and pruning back thick canopies near the lawn will help allow sunlight to reach the areas beneath.
Fleas look for cluttered areas to infest, hide and lay eggs. By clearing debris you reduce their preferred habitat. This means moving old wood piles, lumber, dog toys, and leaf piles. Not only will your lawn look better, but it will have fewer hiding places for fleas to infest.
Evict Wildlife From Your Lawn
Fleas love to infest fur-bearing mammals of all kinds. This includes squirrels, feral cats, rabbits skunks, and especially deer. By taking preventive measures against these wild animals, and deterring them, you are making your lawn less inviting to the local flea population.
Use Flea & Tick Preventer On Your Pets
Flea and tick preventers insect collars were originally invented to keep disease-spreading pests from making your cat or dog ill. Though they also come with the added benefit of discouraging fleas from hitching a ride from your lawn into your home. So, make sure that all outdoor pets are fully up to date on all their flea and tick prevention meds.
Make Homemade Flea Spray
You can mix 2 ounces of organic dish soap with a gallon of water and put it in a hose sprayer bottle. Then Spray the entire yard once or twice per week to kill adult fleas. This will help reduce the population on your lawn without the use of overly toxic chemicals. Though you’ll likely need to reapply after every rain. This is a preferred option if you have young children or pets who frequently use the yard.
Treat Your Lawn With Flea Insecticide
Flea infestations in lawns are so prevalent that a lot of lawn care companies make insecticides with chemicals specially formulated to kill fleas. They also tend to kill other insects, some of which can be beneficial, such as spiders or even bees that make ground hives. So, this is a measure that is meant more for getting control of a lawn flea problem that’s gotten out of control.