Cold winter weather usually brings a sense of relief from pests. They die off or hibernate in the winter right? Well… some do. Unfortunately, other pests continue to wreak havoc even through the winter months. Fleas are one of these pests. Fleas thrive in warm, humid environments, typically around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. During the cold winter months, flea activity slows down, but it doesn’t go away completely. Your home provides the ideal environment for fleas to proliferate in the winter. Fleas can also survive in protected areas under your house, in barns and sheds, or even in wildlife dens on or near your property. These areas will stay warm and humid enough to support the flea’s life cycle throughout the winter.
Fleas don’t hibernate or become inactive when the weather gets cold. While fleas cannot survive freezing temperatures for very long, they are opportunistic and will find a host in a warm environment and hold on for as long as possible. Cold temperatures don’t kill flea eggs either; they will just slow down the life cycle. Flea eggs can hatch throughout the winter.
Fleas will enter your home on your household pets like dogs and cats. Once inside, they will continue to breed, infesting your pets, their bedding, carpets, couch cushions, and more. They will stay indoors as long as possible to take advantage of the warm temperatures and readily available food source.
Female fleas will feed on a pet’s blood, mate, and lay eggs within 24 to 36 hours. They can lay up to 50 eggs per day for up to 3 months.
Fleas can pose serious health issues for both your pets and your family. The best way to avoid a flea infestation is to practice good flea prevention measures year-round. Here are some flea prevention tips you can utilize to help keep your home and your pets flea-free.
- Treat Your Pets. Flea prevention treatment should be applied to your pets year-round. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate treatments for your pet. Use a flea comb on your pets anytime they come in from outdoors. If your pet has long hair, consider cutting down their coat during the summer months.
- Vacuum. Vacuum regularly, especially in any areas where your pets frequent (pet beds, their favorite couch cushion, etc). Vacuuming helps remove eggs before they hatch. Try to vacuum at least once per week or more often if you spot fleas. Make sure to vacuum baseboards, under furniture, under cushions, and anywhere your pets sleep or spend time. Change vacuum bags or empty canisters frequently. If your pet rides in your car, make sure to vacuum your car, as well.
- Laundry. Wash your pet’s bedding, crate, and toys weekly in hot water. Also wash any blankets or towels your pet might touch. Launder your bed sheets, as well. Any eggs that are left behind can hatch and re-infest your home.
- Landscaping. Fleas love to hide in tall or overgrown grass. Make sure your lawn is mowed and your shrubs are trimmed back. Bring in pet food and water bowls at night. These often attract wildlife and other feral animals that can bring fleas onto your property. Keep trees and high shrubs trimmed back away from your roof or attic to keep wild animals from getting into the space. Seal off openings to garages, sheds, crawlspaces, decks, or anywhere else stray or wild animals can access, as well.
- Call a Pro. It can be difficult to get rid of fleas once they infest your home or yard. If you have a flea problem, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough evaluation and help determine the most effective course of treatment and prevention for your situation.