Fleas are pests that can be a real nuisance, no matter what time of year it is. While many people think of fleas as a summer problem, the truth is that they can be active all year long. So, what about fleas in winter? Can they survive the cold weather?
Resiliency is one of the flea’s defining characteristics. They can withstand temperatures as low as 46 degrees – and even lower if they are protected from the elements. This means that while fleas may not be as active in winter as they are in summer, they can still survive the harsh winter weather. With the cold weather outdoors, fleas may just find a good spot inside your home to ride out the winter.
These tiny pests are also good at hiding. During the winter, when everybody else likes to cozy up indoors, fleas will find a warm spot to ride out the cold. This could be in your home or on your pet. And once they’re inside, it’s only a matter of time before they start breeding and causing problems again.
While it’s true that fleas may move slowly during the colder months, they can still be a big problem for you and your family. If you’re concerned about fleas in your home this winter, read on to learn more about these pests and what you can do to prevent them.
Fleas May Still Reproduce and Breed Indoors
While fleas may not be as active in the winter, they can still survive – and even reproduce. When the temperatures reach below 46 degrees, fleas may start to die off. However, if they find shelter, like your home, for instance, they can continue to live and even breed.
Fleas aren’t easy to get rid of as well. Even when exposed to extremely cold temperatures, it takes about 5 days for that adult flea to die. This is most especially true if these fleas can’t find a host to attach themselves to. A host in this weather will help protect them from the cold and provide them with some warmth and the food they need.
This simply means that when you take your pup out in the local park for a walk or a quick exercise, they are still likely to be at risk of bringing home some fleas. Despite the common notion that fleas are more active during the summer months, this doesn’t mean that you can put your guard down in protecting your pup during the winter.
Flea Prevention in the Winter
So, what can you do to keep your pet – and your home – safe from these winter pests?
The best thing you can do is to be proactive and take steps to prevent fleas from taking up residence in your home in the first place. In general, it’s easier to prevent an infestation from happening in the first place, than to address an ongoing infestation.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent fleas in winter:
Winter is the perfect time to break out the vacuum and give your floors a good cleaning. This will help to remove any fleas or eggs that may be lurking in your carpets or upholstery. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately after use to prevent re-infestation.
Pay special attention to areas where your pet sleeps or spends most of its time. This includes pet beds, blankets, and pillows.
Wash Your Pet’s Bedding Regularly
Any bedding or blankets that your pet uses should be washed in hot water on a regular basis. This will help to kill any fleas or eggs that may be present. Be sure to wash these items separately from your other laundry to prevent cross-contamination.
The combination of laundry detergent, hot water, and the dryer’s heat will help kill any fleas or eggs. Take note that drowning fleas alone won’t do any good. As mentioned earlier, these pests are more resilient than you think.
Use a Flea Prevention Product
No matter how clean your home is, and regardless of how often you vacuum and wash your pet’s bedding, fleas can still find their way inside. The best way to prevent an infestation is to use a product that contains an insect growth regulator (IGR).
An IGR prevents fleas from reproducing, which helps to break the flea life cycle and prevent an infestation. There are various products available, so be sure to speak with your veterinarian to find one that’s right for your pet.
Aside from this, you can also find a variety of flea products in the market. These may include spot-on treatments, collars, shampoos, and oral medications. Some can be purchased over the counter, but if you require more assistance and to help you find the best product for your pet, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian first.
Regularly Inspect Your Pet for Fleas
As winter sets in, our furry friends are susceptible to flea problems. Inspect your pet regularly for fleas, especially if they go outdoors frequently. Look for small, dark brown insects crawling on their fur or skin. If you find any, remove them immediately with a flea comb or your fingers.
Groom Your Pet Regularly
Brushing your pet’s fur regularly will help to remove any fleas or eggs that may be present. This is also an excellent way to bond with your pet and check for any other skin problems that may need to be addressed. Be sure to dispose of the fleas and eggs properly after each grooming session. You can do this by placing them in a container of soapy water.
Additional products like flea sprays, powders, and shampoos can also be used to help remove fleas from your pet’s fur. These products usually contain insecticides that can kill fleas on contact. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and only use them as directed.
While you’re at it, take a look at your pet’s skin for redness, bumps, or rashes. These may be signs of an allergic reaction to flea bites or infection. If you notice anything unusual, be sure to consult with your veterinarian right away.
Indeed, fleas move slower during the cold weather, but this doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to survive in these temperatures. Fleas can withstand colder temperatures up to 46 degrees. If they can’t attach to a host within 5 days, they’ll eventually die. Unfortunately, if they are able to find a host to attach to within the said period, they’ll continue to thrive and lay eggs.
This is why it’s essential to take preventive measures to ensure that your home and pet are free of these pests. By following the tips above, you can help keep your pet safe and flea-free all winter long.