#1 Clear yard debris. Fleas and ticks love tall grass and shady areas. Rake and dispose of leaves, mow the lawn and pull weeds.

READ: Pet Safe Weed Killers »
RELATED: Kill Weeds With Vinegar and Dish Detergent »

#2 Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth — DE — around the yard. It’s an off-white talc-like powder made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. Fleas and ticks have exoskeletons that can be pierced once exposed to diatomaceous earth. When that happens, the insects can’t retain water and they eventually dehydrate and die. But food-grade DE (approved for oral use) doesn’t harm mammals. Read labels carefully to make certain that your purchase is safe for animals. The package must read “FOR ORAL USE.” The topical form is toxic. If you’re not sure or the label doesn’t specify, call the number listed for the manufacturer.

#3: Buy nematodes, tiny roundworms that eat ticks and fleas. You can find them in garden supply stores to spray or spread over the lawn. Pretty soon, you should notice that fleas and ticks have disappeared. Nematodes are not parasitic to mammals and don’t harm humans, pets or plants. They do, however, insert themselves into an insect’s body and send out a toxin that kills fleas and ticks within a short time. Because nematodes reproduce in the yard where they have been released, their effects will last for several months.

#4: Spread cedar chips around your yard. Fleas and ticks don’t like the way they smell. Granted, the scent won’t kill them, but it will keep pesky critters at bay.

#5: Plant rosemary. It keeps away the unfriendly four — fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and black flies. But folks like you can just enjoy the aroma.

#6 Let the ladybugs eat them. Buy ladybugs at your local gardening shop, if they’re not in your yard already. A mature ladybug eats on average 50 insects every single day and prefers soft-bodied bugs, including fleas.