Do Fleas and Ticks Bite in Winter?
Yes! While these pests thrive in humid, warm conditions, they can also live (and bite!) throughout the winter. It’s true they cannot endure freezing weather for extended periods, but they often find ways to survive anyway. In fact, some species of tick are most active in winter. Adult blacklegged ticks, for example, take their first blood meals during late fall or early winter. The winter tick is another especially durable individual, living exclusively during the year’s coldest months.
How do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter?
Whether hiding in leaf litter, attaching to a warm host, or overwintering in a garage or animal den, fleas and ticks have several methods for surviving freezing conditions. While fleas cannot hibernate or enter a dormant stage, ticks can. Going dormant on a host or under brush is actually a tick’s primary means of remaining alive through winter. Fleas, however, mostly seek warmth in shelters or hosts—like inside your home or on your pet.
Do I Still Need to Treat for Fleas and Ticks in Winter?
Absolutely! Regardless of your environment, we suggest protecting your pets, your home, and yourself from fleas and ticks year-round. The risks are simply too great. Halting pest prevention, even for just a few weeks, can have frightening results. A single flea slipping through the cracks can lead to a full blown flea population in no time. Ticks are another matter entirely—we all know how dangerous they can be. We don’t even need to mention the diseases a tick bite can spread (but we will! Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, American boutonneuse fever, Powassan virus, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tick paralysis and more).
How Can I Protect my Pets and Myself from Fleas and Ticks?
Prevention is your best friend. First, you need to ensure your home and yard are inhospitable to fleas and ticks. Remove all sources of clutter and debris from your lawn—this is where fleas and ticks will likely hide during cold snaps. A monthly preventative yard treatment with a naturally-sourced outdoor pesticide is also recommended (we do not suggest using traditional, toxic-based pesticides on your lawn or garden for the safety of your pets and family). For more detailed instructions on safeguarding your yard from pests, click here.
For indoor prevention, regularly spray possible entry points—like doorways, window sills, baseboards, attics, basements, etc—with a non-toxic indoor pesticide to create a repellent barrier against fleas and ticks. For more tips on preventing fleas and ticks from entering your home, click here.
For you and your pets, simply reach for a naturally-sourced insect repellent, like Cedarcide Original. Make sure to apply it before enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or visiting the dog park.