I have fleas in my yard (hobo cat sleeps in our daisy bushes, and crackhead neighbor's neglected dog hops throughour fence to poop under our redwood) so I researched solutions up the wazoo, and the most effective seems to be "beneficial" nematodes, but I'm worried about them eating other insects, and disturbing the ecology. Any thoughts?
I am of course planning to cover the yard in aromatic herbs (pennyroyal, lemon balm etc) to reduce the amount of flea friendly area, and put up mesh on the fence to deter the cat/dog, (much guilt about banishing them, sigh). Is there such a thing as too many aromatic plants for a healthy ecology? I assume it's not just fleas that are unable to live off plants with lots of essential oils, and I want to have plenty of insects for the birds, so it's a concern.
The complicating factors are that we aren't allowed to plant over the grass lawn (half the yard is lawn), and I'm fairly sure I am not allowed to remove the ancient daisy bushes where the cat has been sleeping.
I'm thinking I'll manicure (ugh!) the area under the bushes and remove all the duff/material and sprinkle with leaves of eucalyptus (free and easy to get in quantity). But I'm stumped about the lawn, I heard treating with sulfur and lyme isn't enough to eliminate fleas, and nematodes could spread from the lawn to the yard.
I live in ebobo california (emeryville berkeley oakland border area) so temp range is flea and nematode friendly. Thanks.
Well in lew of dialogue, I'll post what I decided after deliberating. The nematodes eat a lot of insect larvae, it's a bit like using fleas to control a rat problem. Not eco sound. So, I'm going to make 1'x1' x2"slabs of pre-planted turf, densely planted with aromatic herbs, and lay them down all over the yard surface (even under the bushes). Then I'll plant especially thick herb hedges along the edge of the lawn area, as a flea wall. And I'll put up some mesh to keep out the cat/dog. Of course squirrels will still show up to scratch themselves, thus bequeathing the yard with flea eggs, but the aromatic herbs won't provide the larvae much habitat. Bees love aromatics, especially lemon balm, so I won't be deprived of insect life, and many aromatics are drought hardy, which is ideal for where I'm at.
Hi plantthoughts- I was wondering if you went forward with your plan, and if so, how well the aromatic plants did for flea control? I've currently got my apartment covered in diatomaceous earth, and my dog has been flea-free for the past two baths, but I suspect they're still biting him in the yard.
I used them in my raised beds this year(San Diego) and I did see a reduction of ground insects. last year I had all sorts of pesky insects and this year verry little. I cannot say that it was the nematodes or not, but it was substancial. They are not supposed to hurt insects that are above soil only ones that live and breed in it.
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