Nontoxic Flea Control for Those Hopping Fleas!

21 May

I can always rely on the first warm days of summer to bring a magnificent profusion of blooms and… an explosion of fleas!  The first time I observed how quickly they breed, I had just brought home an adorable, tiny shih-tzu puppy and was in the throes of coaxing her into potty training.  I had settled her down on the grass and was inviting her to “do her business” when I noticed with horrified amazement that a black hopping throng was advancing toward us like something out of a summer science fiction movie.  I gathered her up and ran inside.  Poor confused thing, she peed all over the house.  That was the beginning of a looong year of potty training.

I really wanted to avoid using pesticides.  I needed a quick solution that was effective, nontoxic, harmless to good bugs (bees, lady bugs, earthworms and the like), easy to apply and a good value for the money.  After much  research I finally stumbled upon beneficial nematodes.  These tiny creatures look remotely like miniature seahorses; they burrow into the ground seeking larval hosts to chew into and lay their eggs.  You can either spray them around yourself using a hose attachment (least expensive) or have a service do it for you (more convenient although it will cost a modest but well-worth-it fee).  In either case the nematodes must be applied monthly or so because they die off once they have killed all the fleas.

Could it be that easy?  Within a week of the first application I observed a significant reduction.  Within six weeks they were virtually gone.  I’ve had nary a flea since.

There are several companies that supply these wonderful little predators.  You can just search online using the key words beneficial, nematodes and non-toxic flea control.  Some breed their nematodes to target specific pests.  I use Flea Busters (www.fleabusters.com) because theirs specifically target fleas, they offer a monthly service, are dependable and knowledgeable and their website is so informative.

I hope that the start of this summer finds your yard free of fleas and your thumb a deep, deep green!

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