Will putting lime on my lawn kill fleas?

Vicki e-mailed in this question:

"Can you use lime on your lawn to prevent fleas from coming inside?"

This is something that is recommended by some people as a home remedy for flea control. I think it's a bad idea. Lime, or calcium oxide, is a mineral used for all kinds of purposes, including speeding up decomposition of organic material. Some people suggest it will dry out fleas, killing them, and the idea is to put it on your lawn so that they die off.

   

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I think this is a bad idea. First of all, lime can adjust the acidity level of your soil. That means that your grass or plants could die off if you do it wrong. Lime is generally not applied to lawns unless you do a soil test first to make sure what the current acidity is. It can also interfere with insecticides, which is a problem if it doesn't work and you eventually need to call in a pest control company. So putting it out there on a regular basis could cause you some serious problems. I'm also not sure whether it really works or not - I found mixed suggestions on that point, with some people saying it's a myth, and some swearing it killed fleas in their yard.

At any rate, you do have an option that will work a little better - diatomaceous earth. It's a kind of soil you can spread on your lawn that will kill off fleas, without damaging your grass. It's basically just ground up fossils, that cut fleas at a microscopic level.

One thing to keep in mind, though - getting fleas out of your lawn doesn't mean your house is safe. If even a few survive and get on your pets, they can bring them indoors, where they'll start laying eggs and infest your house. It's usually a good idea to use more than one approach - kill them outside with diatomaceous earth, but still apply flea medicine seasonally as needed.

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Sources and Useful Links:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/ipm/msg0323382728871.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_oxide

http://1300bugmen.wordpress.com/2007/07/20/fleas-fact-and-myths/

http://mastergardenproducts.com/gardenerscorner/liming_your_lawn.htm

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Soil-Issues-736/uses-lime-hydrated-chlorid.htm

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