Issues In Choosing An Insecticide For Fleas
Just about any natural or synthetic broad-spectrum insecticide will kill fleas, but we do not recommend their use over the entire area of the yard. In the first place, only 10% of all the fleas in your yard at any one time are in the mature stage that is vulnerable to these chemicals. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae in their little cocoons are not affected. Consequently, you would have to use the chemical several times to be effective. If you use a broad-spectrum insecticide several times over a significant portion of your yard, you will kill all the beneficial insects including ants and spiders which are two of your best predators for fleas.
One product we can recommend for broadcast over an area of the yard is predatory nematodes. These natural microscopic worms work in the soil to control the larvae of the flea very effectively for the entire season. The limitation here is that nematodes are relatively expensive per square foot of coverage compared to an insecticide.
Target Specific Area of Yard
Our approach for dealing with fleas is to locate those areas in the yard where your dog or cat tends to rest or sleep when outside. Usually, most pets will use the same areas for relaxing. These areas are where the concentration of fleas will be located so those areas become your target and now you have two choices. Predatory nematodes are effective because now the cost is more modest. The natural insecticides pyrethrum or neem oil soap will kill fleas, but when used in limited areas, they are not having serious negative impact on the beneficial insect population in the entire yard.
Long Term Approach To Controlling Fleas
We mentioned above that the three most important natural predators of fleas are ants, spiders, and ground beetles. The problem is that most lawns today are mowed too short and are not sufficiently dense to serve as habitat for these three groups of beneficials. In the Lawn Care section of Yardener's Helper, we give you tips on how, over the years, you can create a turf that will be loaded with ants, spiders and ground beetles. With that population of gunslingers in place, your flea population will almost always be kept in control with no intervention needed by you.