Fleas and ticks are common pests in Houston. But these common pests are still greatly misunderstood. As an example: Are you aware that you can have a flea or tick infestation in your home even if you don't have a pet? Yup. It's possible. While fleas don't take humans as hosts, they can be brought into homes on mice and rats, or carried into a home within a piece of used furniture. Ticks don't take humans as hosts either, but they can also find their way inside. They're brought in by mice and rats, but they can also get on you, your kids, or other people. This is particularly true of Lone Star ticks, which readily feed on humans. The secret to guarding against a flea or tick infestation in your Houston home—whether you have a pet or not—is to reduce ticks in your yard. Here are a few ways to achieve this goal.
Control Wildlife Activity
Food sources, water, and hiding places lure wildlife into your yard. These animals carry fleas and ticks and spread them around. If you address the conditions that attract animals, you can reduce wildlife activity and deter fleas and ticks.
Protect Food Sources
Put fencing around gardens, berry bushes, and other obvious food sources.
Make sure your garbage is bagged and stored in covered containers that can't be easily knocked over by a mid-sized animal.
Inspect your ornamental plants and hire a pest professional if you notice that an animal is eating these plants.
If you notice bark being damaged at the bases of the trees on your property, install a device to protect your trees. This will have the side benefit of reducing fleas and ticks.
Remove Food Sources
Seeds are a primary food source for many animals, particularly mice. Move feeders to at least 20 feet from your exterior.
Nuts are another common food source for animals. If you have trees that produce nuts, do your best to stay on top of clean-up.
Address Pest Activity
This food source deserves its own section. Animals eat bugs as a source of protein. If you have lots of bugs around your home, you'll attract animals. And, of course, these animals will drop fleas and ticks as they feed on the bugs around your home. You can reduce bugs by considering what attracts them to your property.
Light. If you have white lights on at night, you're going to attract insects to your home. Keep the lights off and keep curtains drawn at night to reduce insect populations. If you need to have lights on outside, consider using yellow lights. Insects can't see this spectrum of light.
Moisture. Many bugs are drawn to moist conditions. Water is a building block of life. If you have clogged or broken gutters, dense landscaping, containers, or some other condition that creates damp habitats or water sources, address them to reduce pest activity.
Debris. A stack of dead branches, wood scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic debris are strong attractants for bugs. Yard work is essential for natural pest control.
Decay. Many bugs are attracted to anything that is rotting. They'll be lured to compost, dirty recycling, a stinky trash bin, food left out after a cookout, etc.
Waste. Flies are drawn to dog droppings. Spiders are drawn to flies. Animals are drawn to spiders. Fleas and ticks drop off animals when they come into your yard. Do you see how it works? Keep droppings cleaned up to reduce fleas and ticks.
Remove Watering Holes
If you have any objects in your yard that capture water, they will not only be attractive to the bugs animals eat, the animals themselves will be drawn to them. This is another reason to address moisture issues, and remove containers from your yard that capture water.
Remove Hiding Places
Animals hide in many of the places bugs hide, such as the organic debris we spoke of earlier. When you remove the places bugs hide, you'll also be deterring small animals. But there is more to say on this topic. Mice and rats have a preference for a yard that has lots of protection from predators. They'll scurry from a void under a shed to a stack or wood. From there, they run to dense vegetation in landscaping. They'll follow the landscaping and get under a deck. It is a progression. If you want to keep mice and rats away, limit the objects they can hide under and trim your bushes, shrubs, and plants at the base.
It is possible to get flea and tick problems below your threshold of comfort by controlling wildlife. If you want or need extra control, the best option is targeted treatments. If you live in Houston, we can help you with this. Reach out to All-Safe Pest & Termite today to learn about flea and tick control for your Houston property.