Fleas in a sandbox are nuisances and possibly pose a health threat, since fleas carry diseases that are transferable to pets and humans. Determining if your sandbox has fleas helps you decide the right path for treatment and prevention of a future infestation.
Types of Fleas
There are several types of fleas that live and breed in a sandbox. They are named for the type of animal, or host, they live on. Common species include the cat flea, hen flea, rat flea and human flea. Each type is wingless and relies on blood for survival.
Signs of Fleas
Even the most well-kept sandbox runs a risk of flea infestation if pets are around. Spotting the signs of fleas in the sandbox early helps make treatment easier. The first signs that fleas are in your sandbox is often red bumps on your child from the fleas biting her. Identifying the adult flea is generally easy, since they are small and yellowish or brown in color. The eggs, on the other hand, are difficult to spot in sand, since they are white and shiny, and very tiny.
Killing adult fleas is possible by covering the sand with table salt. The adult fleas eat the salt, which in turn dehydrates them. According to the Vet Info website, baking soda works in the same way as table salt. An added bonus is that neither product is harmful to your children when they play in the sand.
Flea larva is more difficult to kill. Spraying a pesticide in the yard and around the sandbox may prevent them from developing. Also, fleas thrive in the soil of shaded areas where pets stay, so it is important to treat these areas. The Texas Agriculture Extension website suggests using a product containing IGR pyriproxyfen for outdoor treatment.
Covering the sandbox when it is not in use helps prevent animals, especially cats, from using it as a litter box. Also, it is necessary to treat your pets to prevent fleas in your sandbox. Wash your pets with a shampoo that prevents fleas and use a flea comb to remove the flea larvae. An oral suspension is a safe alternative to a pesticide for preventing flea eggs from hatching on your pet. Changing the sand often helps keep the sandbox clean and flea-free.