Fleas and ticks are very different pests. But the way they come into Richmond yards and get into Richmond homes is the same. The trick to keeping fleas and ticks away is to understand how they enter your yard and how they find a way into your home. Do you already know? If so, you probably only know the half of it.
The Link Between Wildlife & Parasites
Fleas and ticks are parasites. They select a host, and they live on the host. They rarely hop or crawl into a yard. It is also rare for them to hop or crawl into a home. Therefore, the pests you have to get control of are not fleas and ticks. You need to manage the animals that bring ticks into your yard - and also into your home.
How Fleas Come Into Your Yard & Home
Fleas can get onto any animal with fur. While on the animal, they lay eggs and produce flea dirt. Both of these are required for flea development. What happens is flea eggs and flea dirt drop from animals, typically in areas where animals bed down, but it can also happen when animals hide for a short time. When the eggs hatch, the flea larvae feed on the flea dirt. If there is enough flea dirt, and moisture levels are high enough, the baby fleas will develop and eventually cocoon themselves. A cocooned flea waits for a warm-blooded animal to draw near. When it senses an animal, it breaks free and springs onto the animal, taking it as a host. If this is a dog or cat, the pet can bring the flea into your home through a door. If it is a rodent, it can find an entry point to get into your home, or chew on building material to make an entry.
How Ticks Come Into Your Yard & Home
When a tick first hatches, it is a seed tick. Seed ticks have six legs. In this stage of development, they prefer to take small animals, like mice and rats, as hosts. Once they develop, they will hop off this first host animal and find a larger animal. Often, this is a domesticated dog or cat. If a small animal, like a mouse or rat, brings ticks into your home, those ticks will inevitably jump off these small animals and look for something larger. If they don't find a dog or cat, they can feed on humans. Some are more prone to doing this than others.
Prevention Of Fleas & Ticks In Your Yard
Wildlife comes into your yard in search of food, water, and harborage. If you make your yard less attractive, you can keep them (and their parasites) out of your yard. When you do this, take particular consideration of harborage because this is where fleas and ticks have the best chance of surviving.
Address conditions that create standing water or oversaturation of your perimeter soil.
Keep bagged trash in covered containers that are clean and difficult to knock over.
Put bird feeders away from your exterior walls.
Remove lawn clutter.
Move woodpiles away from your exterior.
Rake leaves up as soon as possible.
Create open landscaping that is difficult for mice, rats, and other animals to hide in.
Using fencing to protect food sources in your yard, and to keep animals from taking harborage underneath your deck, porch, stairs, and other structures.
Most animals will not get into your home. If you apply fencing to potential harborage, you'll be able to resist skunks, raccoons, and similar wildlife. Mice and rats require more effort. You need to do an inspection of your exterior and seal any gaps, cracks, or holes you find. Pay particular attention to exterior doors and windows. These can have many openings that rodents can exploit. Also, look for chew damage that is being done by rodents. You may need to use metal flashing to bolster your defenses. Here are a few more tips to help keep rodents out of your home:
Put wire mesh in downspouts.
Trim branches away from your roofline.
Seal gaps around pipes.
If You Need Help
When you take the time to restrict wildlife activity around your Richmond home, and seal up any potential entry points, you can have success keeping fleas and ticks out of your home. If treatments are needed, remember that the team at Go-Forth Pest Control of Richmond is available to help. Reach out to us anytime and tell us about your pest problem. We can help.