Would you be surprised to hear that fall is one of the worst seasons for fleas and ticks? In fact, fleas hit their peak infestation in late summer AND fall, while ticks are active in the early spring to early summer AND all fall. Don’t be fooled by that cool autumn air – fleas and ticks will still hitchhike their way into your house during the fall!
Fall Flea Precautions
As always, fleas will live in moist, shady areas. Since the fall consists of rainy days and cool weather, it is no wonder that there are typically 70% more fleas in the fall than in the spring! Moist, shady areas can include your lawn, mulch, leaf litter, wood piles, crawl spaces, and beneath porches or decks. That sounds pretty much the same as during the summer, except for the addition of leaf litter and wood piles!
In order to prevent any fall flea infestations, you need to eliminate potential flea nesting places outside. If you already have fall fleas, you need to eliminate the fleas AND their current nesting spots. Keep the area surrounding your house clear of debris, which includes fallen leafs. You will also want to be careful when you mow – make sure your grass is at least 2 inches long so that natural flea predators can create a home. Natural flea predators include spiders, ants, ground beetles, salamanders, toads, and garter snakes. Birds will also eat fleas, so more bird feeders around your house can help! Finally, applying an insecticide perimeter treatment can help prevent fleas from moving into your house.
Fall Tick Precautions
While ticks are active during the early spring to early summer as well as fall, the tick life stage that is most likely to bite humans in fall also frequently carry diseases, such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and more.
Ticks live in leaf piles or leaf litter, mulch piles, plant shoots, wood piles, shrubs, and weedy sections. Like with fleas, keeping your yard cleaned up and free of debris will help keep ticks away. Keeping your lawn mowed helps, as well. You can also apply outdoor insecticides that are specially labeled for ticks. Using a perimeter treatment also helps prevent ticks from coming inside.
Fall Flea & Tick Treatment for Dogs
If you usually treat your dog for fleas and ticks, don’t stop doing so in the fall. Whether you use a flea collar, a topical treatment, or some other treatment method, continuing flea and tick treatment will be key to keeping your dog free from infestation. Inspecting your dog with a flea comb or your fingers will also help. In fact, you will want to make sure you inspect your pup, as dogs start growing their winter coats in the fall. These thicker, heavier coats are the perfect places for fleas and ticks to thrive, as well as making it harder to groom the pests off your dog.
If you find fleas, you will have to start treating your house as well as your pup. That can include carpet powders or sprays, flea bombs, washing laundry, flea baths, and more. You will want to treat your carpets, floors, furniture, beds, bedding, clothes, everything else your dog has come in contact with, and everything within flea jumping range of those items.
If you find ticks, you will want to very carefully remove the tick from your dog. The reason you have to remove ticks carefully is so you don’t remove part of the tick and leave the rest to burrow into your dog’s skin. The easiest way to do this is to put some rubbing alcohol on a tissue or cotton ball, press the alcohol-soaked part against the tick for a minute or so (until it stops moving), and then use tweezers to pull the tick out. You will want to make sure the head comes out with the body – using the rubbing alcohol to essentially knock the tick out will help prevent the tick from wriggling around and separating. Giving your dog a really nice treat for staying still during this process is also recommended!
Find more detailed tips on Indoor Flea and Tick Control for Your Dog.
Find more detailed tips on Outdoor Flea and Tick Control for Your Dog.
View more articles written by Kristen Sydelko.