Can Fleas Survive Winter?


German Shepherd Mix Mutt

Alabama hears a car pulling into the driveway.

Alabama still has fleas. Just when I thought fleas were a late summertime problem, I’m heading into winter and she’s itchier than ever. Unfortunately, indoor fleas don’t go into hibernation like outdoor ones do. Luckily, it’s easy to get rid of fleas in the wintertime.

Once I’ve treated Alabama for her fleas, I can let her outdoors without fearing new fleas will attach themselves to her. This is due to the low humidity levels, which kill off outdoor eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. Here’s a breakdown of how I’m planning to eliminate our indoor infestation, and protect our home from future infestations.

How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Winter

Unfortunately, indoor fleas don’t go into hibernation. Because fleas thrive in temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees, so they absolutely can and will flourish in the house. There’s a silver lining: winter is the best time to attack an infestation.

Step 1: Treat your dog with an easy-to-administer flea medication. There are four main types of flea treatments:

  • Topicals: These are applied directly to the skin, such as along the spine or at the back of the neck.
  • Collars: Worn like regular collars around the neck, but rarely these control flea development.
  • Shampoos & Sprays: Shampoos rarely repel, but sprays typically do repel new bugs.

Oral Treatments: Easiest to administer because served as a treat or in food. Oral treatments, such as Bravecto, are my favorite because they provide long-term protection.Bravecto is the first oral chew to provide up to 12 weeks of protection against fleas and ticks.

Step 2: Clean the house. Break out the vacuum and go to town. Once you’ve vacuumed deep clean all floor cracks because these cracks are where fleas are born. Finally, deep clean all linens, including couches, pillows, bedding, curtains, etc.

Step 3. Wash all of your dog’s bedding in hot water. Soap does kill fleas, so go ahead and add some detergent.

Remember, fleas can lay as many as 60 eggs a day, so repeat all steps as necessary. For every one flea you find on your pet, there’s probably 30 or more crawling around your home somewhere. This is why it’s necessary to clean every surface, and deep clean all the floors and cracks.

Springtime Flea Prevention

Like other insects, fleas thrive by hibernating during the winter. In the frigid cold, the outdoor fleas aren’t actually dead; they’re sleeping, and when the weather warms up they’ll be back up to their old tricks of attaching themselves to Alabama. This year, I’m going to attempt to protect Alabama’s sensitive skin by using a natural, non-toxic yard spray.

Eartheasy.com, “Solutions for Sustainable Living,” recommends insect dust or electric flea traps. I’m not too keen on electricity in the backyard where my kids play, so I’ll probably go with the insect dust.

Because I forgot last year, I am really hoping I remember to treat the lawn before an infestation occurs next summer. The sheer volume of fleas this year drove me to the brink of insanity. Too much cleaning and too many treatments, and the infestation always returned. I’m looking forward to not dealing with fleas this winter.

Leave a comment and let me know how you’re controlling fleas. Or, let me know if there’s anything I can add to improve this article.

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