Getting rid of fleas in your yard can be difficult when you have pets because many pest control products are dangerous to animals.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a list of 9 things you can do to kill fleas in your yard that won’t hurt your pets.
Remember that whatever you do to get rid of fleas, it’s important to carry out follow-up treatments to break the fleas’ life cycle over the long term, or the fleas will keep on reinfesting your yard.
How to kill fleas in a yard without harming pets:
Keep grass short and remove debris
If fleas have nowhere to live, they won’t last long in your yard. Removing all flea hiding places forces fleas out into the open, where they’ll be exposed to the sun and dry heat, and will soon die naturally.
Fleas love to live in yards where there’s long grass, shady areas under trees and shrubs, in loose sand, and under thick piles of debris or vegetation.
If you want to kill fleas without harming pets, cut your grass short; remove piles of debris, sand, or wood; get rid of pools of still water that animals use; and trim trees and shrubs to reduce the amount of shade on the property.
Add water with beneficial nematodes
Kill flea larvae, pupae and adult fleas in your yard with eco-friendly, beneficial nematodes that won’t harm your lawn or your pets. Nematodes are miscroscopic worms that can be added to water and then poured over grass.
Here’s how nematodes work to kill fleas:
Different species of nematodes hunt out different pests. Hb and Sc nematodes are the ones that look for fleas. Once these nematodes discover fleas, they pass into the fleas’ bodies through any small opening they can find.
The nematodes then release bacteria into the fleas, and start feeding and multiplying inside the fleas. Once this happens, the fleas die within days.
Because nematodes are alive, it’s important to follow the instructions on the packet very carefully so you don’t kill them. Store nematodes at a temperature between 36 and 45°F (2 – 7°C), and don’t ever freeze them. Nematodes need to be used within 30 days, and they should never be mixed with any other pest control methods that use chemicals, pesticides, or insecticides.
Sprinkle pet-friendly diatomaceous earth in the yard
Diatomaceous earth is a fine white powder that’s made up of tiny fossilized skeletons from water micro-organisms that lived long ago. Food-grade, pet-friendly diatomaceous earth (DE), like this one from Amazon, is harmless to pets as long as they don’t breathe it in, but it does a good job of killing fleas.
Contrary to popular belief, fleas spend most of their time crawling, not jumping. They only use their jumping super powers when hopping onto a host – fleas spend the rest of their time crawling or sucking blood.
When fleas crawl over DE that has been sprinkled in a yard, the DE cuts their bodies. The fleas dry out and die from these wounds.
Lightly sprinkle DE wherever you have a flea problem in your yard. The area must be kept dry, as rainwater or any other moisture will dissolve DE and it won’t work.
Spray a plant-based insecticide across the yard
Many insecticides are poisonous and dangerous to pets. There is one company, Wondercide, that was started by a dog owner after her dog was poisoned from pest control products. The brand prides itself on making products that are safe for pets, bees, butterflies, and birds.
This is a plant-based insecticide made by Wondercide. It can be sprayed on lawns, patios, vegetables, flowers, paint, bricks, and more, covering up to 5 000 square feet (465 sqm). Its main ingredients are cedar oil and plant-based ingredients that break the flea life cycle.
The spray is safe to use where pets play, and your pets can go out into the yard immediately after application.
Make your own yard spray
If you don’t want to buy flea spray, try making one at home by mixing:
- One part apple cider vinegar
- One part dish soap
- Two parts water
- A few drops of peppermint and clove oils in a spray bottle.
Spray the flea spray in your yard wherever fleas are a problem. You will need to do follow-up sprays about once a week for several weeks, to make that sure no fleas survive.
Place flea collars in infested areas
Flea collars do not harm pets, but they do kill and/or repel fleas, depending on what kind you buy.
Get some cheap flea collars and place them in areas where fleas are hiding in your yard. You can tie the collars around plants’ stems to secure them. Don’t put flea collars in your yard if you have adventurous puppies or pets that eat strange things.
If you have cats, it’s best to use cat flea collars. This is a good flea collar as it repels and kills fleas, stops the eggs from hatching, and kills flea larvae (young fleas).
If you have dogs, use dog-friendly flea collars. Here’s a good dog flea collar on Amazon that kills and repels adult fleas and larvae, and prevents flea eggs from hatching.
Spray insect growth regulator to stop breeding
Insect growth regulators (IGRs) are low risk to pets when used correctly, so be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. These regulators work slower than traditional insecticides, but they are very good at killing off a flea infestation, especially in outdoor kennels and poultry houses.
IGRs are chemicals that are sprayed on the area where fleas are a problem. Here’s a popular one on Amazon that covers up to 1 500 square feet (140 sqm).
Larvae hatch from flea eggs and look a lot like worms. After 5 to 20 days, larvae become pupae, where they go through all the changes they need to become adult fleas. Larvae that are sprayed with an IGR stop growing, so they never become adults.
IGRs are very effective at getting rid of fleas because they break the fleas’ life cycle, so that young fleas never mature and never lay eggs. Fleas also stay away for up to seven months after a yard has been treated with an IGR.
Spread cedar chips in flower gardens
The strong smell of cedar chips repels fleas and can be a great pet-friendly way to get rid of fleas in your yard.
To use cedar to kill fleas, spread cedarcide chips over flower beds and in any humid, shaded areas where fleas are a problem.
The cedar irritates fleas, forcing them out of shaded areas and into dry, sunny spaces, which should soon kill them.
Treat all pets for fleas
One of the more important things to do if you have fleas in your yard is to treat your pets for fleas.
Fleas live on animals. If your pet has fleas and walks through the yard, it drops flea eggs wherever it goes. The flea eggs hatch and infest the yard with young fleas, which is why it’s so important to treat and keep your pets pest free.
It’s best to treat all your pets for fleas with products recommended by your vet. A treatment plan might include a:
- topical treatment that’s applied to the back of the neck
- pet-friendly wash
- spray that’s formulated for animals (here’s a popular plant-based spray for dogs and cats)
- brushing with a flea comb
- putting on a flea collar