The region’s dangerously cold temperatures could bring some benefits later in the year in the form of a smaller flea and tick population. But according to entomologist Doug Johnson of the University of Kentucky’s Princeton extension office, they’re resourceful animals. He says fleas, once indoors on a human or a pet brought in from the cold, can thrive, surviving on waste or debris until they mature. Johnson says ticks, by contrast, live mostly outdoors, and are more susceptible to cold.
According to Johnson, fleas and ticks can endure heat or cold fairly well, as long as temperatures are consistent. But he says swings from warm to frigid are devastating to their numbers.