Is your home currently infested with fleas? Now that the fall season is upon us, many people assume these blood-sucking parasites will go away. After all, it’s no secret that fleas wait until the spring and summer months to come out and attack; therefore, conventional wisdom would leave you to believe that fleas will go away when the cooler months arrive.
So, will fleas go away in the fall and winter months? There’s really no easy answer to this question, as many different factors will play a role in the formation of a flea infestation. Fleas typically prefer environments with a moderately warm temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit or above, and a relative humidity (RH) of at least 50%. Being that fall and winter are characterized by cooler temperatures, it’s not uncommon for flea infestations to subside during this time of year. Individuals and homeowners may notice fewer fleas jumping across their floors, which subsequently means fewer bites.
Now for the bad news: even though most flea infestations clear up in the fall and winter, they usually come back the following year when the temperatures warm. Fleas don’t necessarily die in cold and/or low-humid environments. Instead, they go into a dormant state, waiting until the conditions are right to emerge and restart their search for a warm-blooded meal. If a flea is outside when the temperature drops, it may burrow underground for warmth, staying here until the following spring season. If the flea is inside the home, it may hide in the carpet for the duration of the fall and winter months.
There are some steps homeowners can take to discourage fleas from infesting their home during the fall and winter months, one of which is limiting the use of central heating. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to endure the coldest part of the year without heat, but you should be conscious of your thermostat setting. Perhaps you can keep the thermostat set to 68 degrees instead of 74. If this is still too cold for you, try supplementing your home’s central heating with a space heater.
Another simple and effective way to discourage fleas during the fall and winter is to use a dehumidifier. There’s already generally less humidity during this time of year (cold air holds less moisture), but adding a dehumidifier to your home can make this environment even more inhospitable for fleas.
Have you experienced a flea infestation in the fall and/or winter? Let us know in the comments section below!