General Question

raum's avatar

How to keep fleas out of your yard?

Asked by raum (7843points) 1 month ago from iPhone

We don’t have any pets. But our neighbors do. Was just in our backyard and got bitten by a flea. How do we keep them from coming into our yard?

(I’m assuming it’s from the neighbors. Since we didn’t have fleas when they had no dog. And started getting fleas once they had a dog.)

Hoping there’s something we can just put along the fence? But would have to be non-toxic, since we have kids.

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22 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You got bitten on the lawn? That is where you’ll have to apply insecticide, best done by a professional. Pros will know what, when and how to apply.

Doing just the fence line leaves you with fleas still on your lawn.

There is no nontoxic flea control except diatomaceous earth which is an inhalation hazard. Still best put down by a pro.

Yes I am a Master Gardener for my state.

raum's avatar

Since we don’t have any pets, I’m hoping the few in our yard will die off without a host. Is that wishful thinking?

What about a physical barrier?
Can I stuff the cracks in the fence?

My massive denial isn’t a reflection of my appreciation for your feedback. (Thank you!)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

They hitch a ride on mice and other animals. There is no “Silver bullet” for getting rid of them.

Pest control is pest control !

You are welcome.

I’m certified by the state for things about gardening,

jca2's avatar

Fleas are what brought me to Fluther in 2007. I had a newborn baby and fleas in the house, from the cats. I was googling all about fleas, flea life cycle, how to get rid of fleas, everything, and Fluther had a flea question on the second page of google. I became quite the flea expert, and I tried many things to get rid of them, including a flea bomb and staying overnight in a hotel with the baby, and nothing worked. I ended up hiring a professional (and ripping up the carpeting which they said I didn’t have to do, but I didn’t want the baby to crawl, eventually when she would crawl, on the carpet if it had been treated with pesticide). About three or four years later I had fleas on the deck, and I had to get a friend who worked with an exterminator to get the stuff and spray the deck.

Believe me, after the first go-round with the fleas in the house, I learned that you need a pro.

When you have fleas in the house, they’d need to spray the yard, too.

In your case, you need the pro to spray the yard which will kill the fleas, and then when it rains, the flea stuff will wash away and the kids can go on the lawn. The first time I had fleas, I got a contract with the exterminating company, and they would come as often as necessary within a year. I recommend, for you, to get the contract.

If your neighbor has dogs that have fleas, you can’t stop the fleas from coming over. They’re very tiny and they jump very far (you can google it and learn all about how they hitch a ride, how their goal is to get onto a host, etc.). Believe me, when you learn about them, you realize how they’re just made to survive all kinds of adverse things, like the weather (read about how they survive the winter).

kritiper's avatar

Spray down the entire yard, and the parameters, with a mixture of water and Dawn detergent.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And remember, it isn’t pets alone that harbor and spread fleas. Many fleas are host specific. But many acquire diseases such as bubonic plague which compel the flea to bite any and everything available.

longgone's avatar

Here’s someone who actually did get rid of fleas without professional help. It was a lot of work, though, and the key was treating the animals. If you can get your neighbours to put that dog on effective flea control, you might have a chance. It has to be done over several life cycles of the fleas though. And I had to do a lot of washing (or freezing, in the case of kids’ toys) and vacuuming.

Ugh. I feel for you. One last thing: Are you sure it’s fleas?

raum's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Now you’re kind of freaking me out thinking about fleas coming over on pests!

@jca2 I was hoping to do a pre-emptive strike to avoid a full-out war.

Okay, I just googled it. They can jump 8” high and 13” horizontally. If I plug the crap out of 12” of the bottom of the fence, I should be good, no? I mean, they are tiny and could squeeze through. But they travel more by jumping than crawling when not on a host, right?

Though I also just googled they live up to three months. And up to 100 days without feeding. Jesus.

@kritiper As a deterrent? Can’t imagine that would kill them.

@stanleybmanly I don’t think they need to have the bubonic plague to jump from dog to human. Or other pest. [shudder]

@longgone Sigh. I don’t want to ask the neighbors. Because while I think that’s where the fleas are coming from, it’s kind of a baseless accusation. It could easily be from other pests like @Tropical_Willie mentioned.

I’m guessing it’s fleas because we didn’t have this issue when they didn’t have a dog. And the few times we’ve gotten bites, the bites have been low around the ankles.

Though maybe there’s a recent pest problem that we are unaware of? Or we have low-flying mosquitoes?

Inspired_2write's avatar

Could they be no see ums?

Years ago a neighbor brought sand from the beach for a sandbox for his small daughter that

contained no- see- ums eggs that hatched and caused havoc in the apartment building grounds .
I had my head full of bites and had to get medication for it as it caused severe headaches etc

Solution other than removing the sand altogether was to soak all plants in the yard with dish

soap and spray with a hose and that finally got rid of them.

Perhaps the dog had them on him if the neighbors had gone to a beach?

I mentioned this because first sign was bite marks around my ankles.

Here is a video explaining:

jca2's avatar

@raum: Believe me, you need a professional. Dawn is not going to cut it. These creatures have lived millions of years and they have adapted to all kinds of weather and adverse situations.

Fleas can also walk. If you look at them on the floor, they walk, slowly, but they do walk. Then when a host passes by, they jump onto it. If it’s not a host whose blood they like, like a human for example, they bite and jump off. If it’s a host that they like, like a cat or dog, they stay.

You need to get this under control so you don’t take them into the house. That’s a total nightmare, trust me.

SEKA's avatar

Your logic may be faulty although your concern is not. My parents lived in their house for 60 years, had no dog and none of the neighbors on all 4 sides had a dog. One summer out of those 60 years, their yard was full of fleas. Many animals carry fleas. Even the birds sitting up in the trees carry fleas. Squirrels carry fleas. Mice, cats, and many more animals carry them as well. Not all dogs start out with fleas, some get them one they go outside onto the lawn. Hire a reputable lawn care company, explain your situation, and they will handle appropriately. It doesn’t take a dog to give you fleas

Inspired_2write's avatar

Dish soap worked on no- see- ums not saying to use it on fleas..I guess we would first have to identify that they are in fact fleas?

jca2's avatar

@raum: Good point by @Inspired_2write. Did you actually see them? You know what fleas look like, right? Little tiny black things like the size of a sesame seed. If you touch one, it will disappear because it will jump so far you will only find it if you’re on a white surface. If you’re in the grass or something like that, you’ll never find it if it jumps away.

snowberry's avatar

@SEKA has it. I have also fought and won the war on fleas. Easiest solution is to hire a pesticide company. Even better would be for your neighbors to make sure their animals don’t have fleas, but that might be hard to do. You think your neighbor’s animals have fleas, but you can’t be sure.

SEKA's avatar

Hire a reputable lawn care company, explain your situation, and they will handle appropriately.

@snowberry You’re repeating what I said. My point was it’s an assumption that the neighbor’s dog is causing the fleas when many animals cross our yards during the course of a day. Many other wild animals may bring fleas so it might not be the neighbor’s dog. My parents had fleas ”1” summer out of 60 with no next door neighbors owning dogs. So their problem that “1” year wasn’t caused by an uncaring neighbor. They came from another source. Dad was cheap, so winter killed them off and they never came back, so think that maybe the same wild animal didn’t run back through their yard?

raum's avatar

@Inspired_2write We’ve probably gotten bitten less than a dozen times. I did actually spot a flea once before it hopped away. Though we could be getting double teamed since we do live near a beach. I sure hope not though!

@jca2 Yes! Trying to do a preemptive strike before they get into the house. Will be so much harder to get rid of then.

@SEKA That’s crazy! One random summer out of 60? Did they live in a rural area though? We actually see more animals in our front yard than our backyard. And have never had an issue in the front yard. Actually, we only seem to get bitten on that side of the yard closer to the shared fence.

@jca2 Have been bitten less than a dozen times. Spotted a flea once.

@snowberry It’s just a working theory at this point. Definitely don’t want to confront the neighbors about it. They are really nice neighbors. :)

@jca2 Thanks!!! Really appreciate the nontoxic options!

Going to try flooding the yard first. Then may be the cedar chips if that doesn’t work. We’ve been thinking about wood chips. This might be the push that I need.

(PS Super gross that flea larvae eat feces from the adult fleas. Blood poop for baby fleas. Ewwww…)

Fingers crossed, guys.

raum's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Someone just recommended food grade diatomaceous earth to me. Thoughts?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

DE Diatomaceous Eaath is great for flea and other bugs, but make sure it is food grade and not pool grade. There is a big difference.
“Pool Grade diatomaceous earth, and most other calcined DE products, contain high concentrations of crystalline silica. ... Crystalline silica is very dangerous and can be harmful to the health of humans and animals. For this reason, Pool Grade diatomaceous earth should NOT be used for any purpose other than filtration.” Absorbent Products Ltd

raum's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Thanks! I might try that first.

@everyone Thanks everyone for their thoughts and input about this. Wasn’t expecting such a response. You guys rock!

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
snowberry's avatar

Diatomaceous Earth works until it gets damp. In humid areas that won’t be long. There’s a possibility that once you apply it and it gets wet, it will get tracked in as mud.

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