As pet owners, we often associate the arrival of winter with a temporary relief from the relentless battle against fleas and ticks. We eagerly anticipate a break from the sprays, gels, powders, and medications that we use to protect our pets and homes. However, contrary to popular belief, winter does not necessarily signal the end of the bug season. Fleas and ticks are resourceful creatures that can survive and thrive even in the coldest of temperatures. In this article, we will explore how fleas and ticks survive the winter, why it is crucial to continue preventive measures during this time, and effective strategies to protect your pets and home from these pesky parasites.

How Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter?


Fleas are remarkably resilient pests with complex life cycles. While they may not thrive in freezing temperatures, they can withstand outdoor temperatures as low as the upper 30s. Adult fleas can survive by finding a warm host to feed on, such as wild animals or our beloved pets. They can also seek refuge in protected areas like garages, covered patios, or basements, where they remain in their pupae until suitable conditions arise. Flea pupae can lie dormant for over a year, waiting for the perfect temperature to emerge, whether it be inside or outside. Once the environment becomes conducive, the pupae will hatch in mass, leading to a surge of flea activity both on and off your pets.

For pet owners who maintain a consistently warm indoor temperature throughout the winter, a flea population can remain active and reproduce year-round. In regions with milder winters, such as the southern states, fleas may continue to thrive throughout the season unless faced with sustained cold temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and low humidity levels. Therefore, it is crucial to understand that winter does not eliminate the risk of flea infestations and the associated problems they bring.


Ticks, like fleas, have their own survival mechanisms during the winter months. While some species of ticks become less active in colder temperatures, certain types, such as the Blacklegged tick (deer tick), can remain a threat when temperatures hover around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. These adult ticks seek hosts, particularly deer, even during the winter months. However, ticks with hard shells, like the American dog tick, may hide among dead plants on the ground, while soft-shell ticks seek shelter underground in burrows or dens. Both types can become insulated by snowfall and quickly recover when temperatures rise.

It is essential to note that ticks are not limited to warmer regions during winter. Regardless of your location, if your pets spend time outdoors, tick prevention should still be a priority to protect them from potential tick-borne diseases.

Why Should I Continue Flea and Tick Prevention in Winter?

While fleas and ticks may be less active during the winter months, it is crucial to maintain preventive measures all year round. Here’s why:


Fleas pose significant health risks to our pets and homes. A single flea can rapidly multiply into thousands within a short period. Fleas are not only a nuisance but also the leading cause of skin disease in cats and dogs. Infestations can cause severe itching, discomfort, and even lead to secondary infections if left untreated. The financial toll of dealing with an active flea infestation and the associated veterinary bills can be overwhelming. Therefore, continuous prevention is essential to safeguard the well-being of our furry friends and minimize the potential for infestations.


Ticks, on the other hand, are notorious carriers of various diseases, including Lyme disease, which can have severe consequences for both pets and humans. These tiny parasites can latch onto hosts and transmit harmful pathogens through their bites. The dangers posed by ticks make it crucial to protect ourselves and our pets from bites, especially when venturing into potentially tick-infested areas like tall grass, dog parks, or the outdoors. By maintaining year-round tick prevention, we can significantly reduce the risk of tick-borne illnesses and ensure the well-being of our loved ones.

How Can I Safely Control Fleas and Ticks and Prevent Bites?

Prevention is always the most effective and least expensive form of pest control. By following these tips, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of flea and tick infestations and minimize the risk of bites:

Yard Maintenance

    1. Keep up with regular lawn maintenance, including trimming shrubbery and small trees. Overgrown and cluttered lawns provide ideal hiding spots for fleas and ticks, so maintaining a well-groomed yard is crucial.
    2. Remove any random clutter from your yard, such as outdated tools, disorganized piles of wood, brush, or leaves. These areas serve as breeding grounds and hiding spots for bugs.
    3. Repair leaky sprinklers or hoses promptly and eliminate any sources of standing water, such as unused buckets or pots. Clogged drainage areas and gutters should also be addressed to prevent water accumulation, as moisture attracts fleas and ticks.

Personal Protection

    1. Before venturing into potentially tick-infested areas, apply a plant-based repellent to yourself, your family, clothing, and gear. This will help prevent harmful tick and flea bites.
    2. Protect your pets by applying a suitable flea and tick preventive, such as Paws & Claws, to ensure year-round protection.

Pet Inspection and Treatment

    1. Periodically check your pets for fleas and ticks, especially after they have been outdoors. If you find any, promptly treat your pet with a non-toxic product like Paws & Claws to kill and repel fleas, ticks, and other biting bugs.
    2. To maintain a flea and tick-free yard, apply Natures Defender to your lawn monthly. This should be done throughout the year unless you experience several consecutive weeks of freezing temperatures.
    3. Follow a regular application schedule for flea and tick preventives on your pets. Consult with your veterinarian to choose the most appropriate option for your pet’s need

By following these preventive measures and incorporating them into your routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of flea and tick infestations, protect your pets from bites, and maintain a pest-free environment in your yard.

Winter may provide a temporary relief from the onslaught of fleas and ticks, but it does not eliminate the need for preventive measures. Fleas and ticks are resourceful pests that can survive and thrive in various conditions, including the colder months. By understanding their survival strategies and implementing year-round prevention, we can effectively protect our pets and homes. Remember, prevention is always better than dealing with the consequences of an infestation. Stay vigilant, follow the recommended preventive measures, and enjoy a pest-free environment for you and your furry companions throughout the year.

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