How to Kill Fleas in a Dirt Yard

Fleas not only create an itchy nuisance to people and pets, but they also spread disease and tapeworms. Getting rid of fleas, especially in a dirt environment, is a difficult task that takes persistence. Using several chemical and natural methods helps you eliminate these pests from your dirty yard.

Things You'll Need

  • Insecticide
  • Food grade diatomaceous earth
  • Nematodes
  • Cayenne powder
  • Agricultural lime powder
  • Garden hose
  • Black plastic tarpaulin

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Spray the area with an insecticide, coating the dirt evenly. Pick a sunny day with no forecasted chance of rain for this insecticide application. Be sure to let the area dry completely before reintroducing pets and children into the area, due to the toxicity of the pesticides. A thorough drying makes the area safe for children and pets.

Apply a thin layer of food-grade diatomaceous earth over the dirt yard, especially within 2 to 3 feet of buildings and residential areas. Diatomaceous earth derives from ground, fossilized plants. Diatomaceous earth forms sharp spikes when ground and tears into the exoskeleton of the fleas, causing them to dehydrate and die. Do not allow pets to breathe the tiny particles of diatomaceous earth, as it can cause respiratory problems if inhaled.

Introduce beneficial nematodes into the dirt yard. The tiny, parasitic nematodes feed upon both flea larvae and adult fleas. Purchase these nematodes at a local garden center and apply then with a backpack sprayer or water can. These nematodes also kill other destructive insect larvae and do not harm beneficial insects.

Apply a mixture of 1 cup of cayenne and 1 gallon of agricultural lime to the dirt yard. The lime dehydrates the fleas, causing them to die; the cayenne helps deter new fleas from entering the area. Do not use the cayenne if pets inhabit the area, as it will cause burning of their nose, mouth and skin.

Water the dirt yard thoroughly for several days. Water drowns flea larva and damages flea eggs, preventing hatching. This remedy works best if the dirt yard receives several hours of sun each day, as fleas prefer moist shady areas in which to live.

Lay a large black plastic tarp over the dirt yard on a hot sunny day. The heat generated by the tarp kills any fleas, larvae and eggs underneath it. Fleas cannot live in heat over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful, as this method also kills any plants and other insects in the area.

Call a local insect control company and make an appointment for someone to apply commercial pesticides to the dirt yard to kill the fleas. Remember these pesticides are toxic to humans and animals, and refrain from using this area for several days or weeks after application of the commercial pesticide.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fleas are hard to control and equally hard to eradicate, especially from an outdoor area. Consistency is important when applying treatments, as new flea eggs hatch constantly, especially in highly infested areas.


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