Fleas are among nature’s most bothersome insects, making life unpleasant for pets, for you and for your family. If pets spend considerable time outdoors, it may be necessary to treat areas such as dog houses, crawl spaces and vegetated areas near the home, even the lawn, to prevent a reinfestation. It is unlikely the entire lawn will be infested, as fleas need blood to survive and will congregate in areas where animals are found.
Fleas can multiply quickly, particularly in the conditions of moderate temperatures and shaded areas. Fleas thrive in humidity but will drown in too much water. Areas with overgrown vegetation, tall grasses or places where pets frequent are prime locations for larvae development.
Restrict access of animals, including wild ones, if possible, from the lawn and other infested outdoor areas. Remove all weeds and keep the lawn mowed to short, as exposure to sun and heat reduce larval populations. If possible, remove any obstacles that prevent sunlight from penetrating along with any debris. All of these steps should be taken before applying any chemical treatments.
Several components should be part of treating a lawn for fleas, as multiple stages of development must be dealt with. Insecticides such as pyrethroids can be used outdoors to treat adult fleas in the lawn and can be applied every two to three weeks. Growth regulators such as pyriproxyfen are safe for outdoor use and last for seven months. They treat developing fleas.
Very few biological options exist for controlling fleas in a lawn. The beneficial nematode steinernema carpocapsae is an option in some parts of the United States. It attacks larvae in a parasitic manner and is safe for pets and people. Beneficial nematodes are mixed with water and sprayed on the lawn.
Treating your pet and home in conjunction with treating the lawn may be necessary to control the flea problem. Wild animals such as squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and stray cats and dogs also can infest a lawn. Take precautions to keep these animals off your lawn to reduce the risk of flea infestation in your lawn.