Fleas may be lurking in your backyard, but there are steps you can take to minimize or limit fleas from breeding and flourishing, and less fleas means a lower chance of any problems for you and your dog. Spending an afternoon clearing out any areas that may help fleas survive the cold months can go a long way. The pupa stage is the resilient stage of the flea and if the conditions are not optimum, pupae have the ability to remain dormant for up to a year. None of the life stages can survive freezing temperatures, which is why flea populations and infestation problems decline in winter after the first frost. While the clinical signs of flea infestation include itching and flea dirt, not all dogs with fleas will scratch.
Very young puppies and small elderly dogs can develop life-threatening anemia from blood loss due to fleas feeding on blood.
The oral and topical (spot-on) antiparasitic products are most commonly used to treat and prevent flea infestations.
In severe cases of flea infestation, treatment of the dog’s outdoor environment with insecticides may be necessary. Prevention of fleas in the form of monthly oral or topical (spot-on) antiparasitics is recommended. When applying the topical, spot-on medications, be sure to part the hair and apply the medication directly to the skin. In the summer, when the air is sticky and hot, insects are everywhere: circling your fruit bowl, marching across your picnic, buzzing in your ear, and sometimes a€” the worst of times a€” flying directly into your mouth. To find out, we talked to someone who has spent much of his research career pondering this very question:A Brent Sinclair, the director of the Insect Low Temperature Biology Lab at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, where he is also an associate professor. One reason most people are mystified by the fate of insects in the winter is because there is not a simple answer. In general though, there are three distinct survival strategies that get insects a€” and related critters, like spiders a€” through the winter. View gallery.(Sonia Altizer) Monarch butterflies travel thousands of miles to reach warmer areas.
Some, like butterflies and dragonflies, migrate much like songbirds do, heading south en masse as soon as the cold sets in. North American monarch butterflies, the most famous migrating insects, make a long and somewhat miraculous journey to central Mexico each winter. Different types of mosquitoes have different winter survival strategies, but some are able to survive cold temperatures by hiding out in sheltered places like "inside the envelope of a house or under a bridge," Sinclair says, where they lay in wait in a state called "quiescence." Their next meal won't come till springtime. Mites, springtails (called "snow fleas," though they are technically not insects), and certain spiders (also not technically insects, of course) can all appear as unassuming black dots on the snow. It's called diapause: a dormant, semi-frozen state some insects enter until they thaw out in the spring and crawl off as if nothing had happened.
The emerald ash borer, a tree-killing invasive species in North America, enters diapause in the winter, which (unfortunately for the northern regions it's infested) means it canA survive freezing temperatures. The environmentally damaging creatures are able to stay unfrozen and alive in the cold because a high concentration of their blood is made up of something called glycerol, which acts as an antifreeze. Woolly bear caterpillars, meanwhile, actually freeze into tiny statues but still live through the winter.

Scientists can detail many of the different ways insects make it through the winter, but there's a lot we still don't understand. The creatures that freeze or enter diapause and then spring back to life are especially mysterious. This post is part of a continuing series that answers all of your questions related to science. House crickets get their common name from the fact that they often enter houses where they can survive indefinitely.
During warm weather, house crickets typically live outdoors and are especially fond of garbage dumps.
The most effective way to get rid of crickets is to reduce areas of moisture in and around your home. The shady, moist areas of your backyard, such as debris or leaf piles, may harbor fleas and eggs, as well as wood stacks or under unkempt porches or decks. However, the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the common flea found on the dogs in North America. All stages can be found off the dog and on surfaces such as carpet, bedding or grass, although the adult flea spends most of its time on the dog. Warm temperatures, including body heat or activities such as walking or vacuuming will stimulate the pupae to emerge from their cocoons and develop into adult fleas.
However, adult fleas can survive the winter in northern temperatures by living on hosts including wild or domestic mammals. This is best accomplished by combing the dog with a flea comb or fine tooth comb to trap the flea. In cases of severe flea infestation, a quick, short acting oral antiparasitic is used to kill the adult fleas in addition to a longer acting, monthly product. These monthly medications can be a combination of medications used to prevent tick, flea, mite, heartworm and endoparasite infections. Some survive as eggs, larvae, or pupae, while others make it through the winter as fully-grown adults. Many aquatic insects wait out the winter at the bottoms of ponds, where they can remain relatively comfortable even when the surface freezes, Sinclair explains. While insects seem scarce when December rolls around, some a€” a rare and hardy few a€” continue doing their thing, just like those headstrong outdoorsmen who go camping in the dead of winter.
Some crawl within warm pockets carved out by grass and leaves, while others survive on the surface.
In this state of suspended animation, "they dona€™t do anything," Sinclair says, "They dona€™t develop. And all that's stopping non-invasive species, like the mountain pine beetle, "from eating eastern North America," is the blistering cold of the Rockies a€” something we may not be able to rely on for long.
Interestingly, they are known for their loud chirping which is caused by rubbing their front wings together to attract females.
They are often attracted to electric lights in larger numbers, sometimes by the thousands, and rest on vertical surfaces such as light poles and house walls. They typically feed on the surface, leaving the area roughened from pulling the fibers loose while eating.

The fleas can spend the winter in these areas and wait until temperatures rise before making their way onto your dog and into your home. They can transmit various diseases and cause hypersensitivity and skin disorders in animals. The cat flea can also transmit disease and serve as a host for Dipylidium caninum or the tapeworm. Because of this, a house or room which has been uninhabited can become infested with adult fleas in just hours.
Flea dirt appears as small, black specks similar to sprinkled pepper and is most commonly found at the base of the tail but can be found anywhere on the dog’s body. Because some pets are effective at licking and grooming, it may be difficult to find live fleas on your dog. The most sci-fi winter survival strategy insects rely on is similar in spirit if not mechanics to the hibernation of many warm-blooded animals. Indoors, house crickets can feast on fabric, eating large areas leaving holes and are especially attracted to clothes soiled with perspiration. However, when cold weather approaches, they seek shelter in houses and sheds because of the moisture and warmth they provide.
Some ectoparasites (mites and lice) spend their entire life on the dog while other ectoparasites (fleas and ticks) spend part of their life cycle in the environment. The flea is a wingless ectoparasite with a flattened, brown body and long, specially developed, back legs. Some dogs develop flea allergy dermatitis which is a hypersensitivity reaction to the flea’s saliva when the flea bites the dog. To obtain the best and safest results, consult your veterinarian before using any flea products.
In addition, change outdoor lighting to less attractive yellow bulbs or sodium vapor lamps.
Fleas, ticks and mites are not species specific, meaning they can infest animals of different species.
Also, areas of the United States which are hot and humid and areas which have milder winters will have flea populations year-round. Suspected flea dirt can be combed onto a white piece of paper and the paper moistened with water. It is also important to seal possible points of entry for house crickets around the house, including window and door frames.
Because flea dirt is composed of dried blood, the flea dirt will turn the paper a reddish brown color. Within 7 to 10 days, the flea larvae will develop into pupae which develop into adults within 1 to 2 weeks.

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