How Do Ticks and Fleas Survive The Winter?

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cat or dog is at a lesser risk of falling prey to a flea infestation during winters if it is living in the natural environment. This is because fleas tend to lay dormant in very cold weather conditions. However, pets are mostly kept indoors during winter months where there is central heating. And this warm artificial environment can allow the breeding of fleas throughout the year.

Let’s put it like this. It may be a myth that fleas do not survive during winter months. They can very much live through the winter, particularly in the indoor environment which is warmer and more humid. As a pet owner, you would have to take certain important steps for ridding your home and pets from these parasites. Otherwise, they will continue to breed even in the extreme winter months.

No hibernation for fleas

It is true that no flea (egg, pupae, larvae or adult flea) is capable of surviving in a near-freeze temperature environment for a very long time. But fleas are quite innovative and opportunistic creatures and find their way into warm-bodies hosts such as opossums, raccoons, cats and dogs. They may also survive in warm shelters like your home, garage or a shed. This way, they are able to live throughout the year.

Further, fleas do not hibernate in the way other animals and birds do during winter. It is possible for an adult flea to stay in an inactive state inside its cocoon for 5 to 9 months. However, temperatures falling below 37.4°F (3°C) have the potential to kill pre-emerged fleas. Hence, adult fleas try and seek insulated or warm areas for laying eggs. The flea larvae come out of these eggs during spring time when the weather conditions are more suitable.

Winter survival for ticks

It is true that ticks will be more active during selected months of the year and this largely depends on the region and the species. While summer is known to be a suitable time for breeding of ticks, the might survive the winter months too. Surprised? Let’s find out how ticks are able to live through the winter. They may latch onto a host or go dormant. Ticks often tend to hide leaf litter that is commonly present in bushy or wooded areas. With snowfall, these dormant ticks stay protected under the debris layer and manage to survive. Soft-shell ticks are able to survive since they stay underground in dens or burrows.

Generally speaking, a lot of the tick species may be harmless as far as your pet’s safety is concerned. However, some precaution definitely needs to be taken to avoid infestation even during winter time. It’s best to tick control done throughout the year, including the winter season.

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