If you’ve lived in the Lowcountry for more than one summer, you understand how much fleas thrive in the warm, damp and humid climate of our region. Your yard can act as a breeding ground for fleas, which can then hitch a ride on you, your child, or your pet. Once brought inside they wreak havoc on your home and are no small problem to conquer – they can lay up to 50 eggs a day and their bites can cause sores and rashes. In the right conditions, fleas can live up to two years!
1. What attracts fleas to my yard?
Water: Puddles and standing water act as small watering holes to wild animals. As much as you can, try not to let water accumulate.
Food: The animals that transport fleas feed on a large variety of food. It is close to impossible to get rid of all of their food sources. Some are attracted to vegetation; however even if you were to remove it all some animals will come in to your yard just to eat the grass or to feed on the worms in your soil. The key here is to prevent the attraction of larger animals. To do this, make sure that your exterior trash cans are tightly sealed and that all trash is contained within the bin.
Overgrowth: Wildlife is attracted to overgrown yards. Keeping your yard weed free, trimmed and neat is less inviting to animals. Fewer wild animals traveling through and around your yard lessons your chance of fleas!
Hiding places: Various animals, but especially rodents, prefer a yard with places to hide. Keep your yard as clutter free as possible. This will make it harder for rodents to find a place to explore. This includes wood piles and tall grass.
2. Can I encounter a flea problem even if I don’t have pets?
Unfortunately, the answer is YES. Flea infestations are most commonly associated with homes where pets reside; however homeowners without pets are also at risk! The most common way fleas make their way to your property is by hitching a ride on wild animals. As various wildlife – such as deer, groundhogs, mice, rats and squirrels – venture across your yard, some of the fleas that live on their body drop off. Eventually they will find a new host which could be your or your children.
3. How can I prevent a flea infestation in my home?
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent fleas from even invading your home, there are certainly steps you can take to mitigate the risk. Keep your yard trimmed and neat and free of debris. Always make sure all trash is secured tightly in your outside trash bins. When you, your pets or your kids spend time outside do a quick inspection before coming inside.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- When inspecting your pet(s), keep in mind that adult fleas tend to live on the back, neck and underside regions of cats and dogs, with the eggs, larvae and pupae living off the host. Make sure that your pets are always up-to-date on their flea prevention and if they aren’t currently on one, talk with their veterinarian about which is best for them. Make sure you vacuum your rugs and floors often, paying special attention to areas where your pet(s) often spend time. Change and wash pet beds routinely and if you let your furry friends sleep with you, make sure to wash your bedding often!
- No pets? You still are at risk of fleas making their way inside. These pesky pests can enter your home after purchasing second-hand clothes, furniture, or rugs if they are infested with adult fleas or eggs.
- When you move in to a new house or apartment, check with the previous owners, renters, or property managers to see if their pets were ever infested with fleas. Flea eggs could have been left behind in/on the property which will eventually hatch and cause an infestation in your brand new home.
The best advice is to be vigilant, inspect often, and keep your home and yard tidy and clean.
4. What should I do if I find fleas on my pet or in my home?
When you first notice fleas in your home immediately wash all of your bedding (and theirs) in hot, soapy water. Vacuum all carpets, hardwood floors, linoleum and tile floors and throw away the vacuum bag – if it’s reusable, dispose of contents in your in a tightly tied trash bag and dispose of in your outside bin. Make sure to fully seal the bin after you finish! If your pet is the source of the infestation, continue with preventative treatment and call your vet for recommendations on safe and effective flea shampoos.
5. How do I get rid of a flea infestation?
If a flea infestation does happen to you, the fastest, safest and most effective way to eliminate them is with the help of experienced professionals. Hilton Head Exterminators knows how to solve the problem and can quickly eliminate a current infestation as well as provide a barrier of protection outside to help keep future fleas out. Our trained technicians will utilize products that are 100% safe for your two and four-legged family members.
We’ve been assisting with flea and ticket control for the Hilton Head and Bluffton areas for more than half a century. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!