Fleas the the yard
I've been having a problem with fleas in my backyard for a while now. I've tried Diatomaceous Earth and Beneficial Nematodes. Unfortunately, the DE didn't seem very effective even when it was drier and it's definitely not going to be as effective since we've been getting sporadic showers/rain several days throughout each week here in SoCal. I also did a short test with DE by capturing a few fleas and putting them in a jar with DE. It took about a week before they died off - it seems like for DE to be effective, it takes a long time to kill off all the adult fleas and break the cycle (even if the adult fleas are exposed to the DE, they can still lay eggs can't they?)
I then tried nematodes but those seemed to have no effect - the soil in my yard is very clay, and I've read that nematodes don't thrive well in clay soil. I decided to give it a try anyway but it obviously didn't work.
I've also tried the homemade flea traps out in the yard: pie tin with soapy water and light over it in the past. The success rate was pretty low - at most I found maybe a few fleas in the pie tin at a given time. I set out two-three at one point and only caught a couple fleas. I know there's gotta be more out there though, given the fact that I keep getting bitten. If I wear white socks + sandals, I can guarantee I'll track a few more in.
I'm positive these are fleas - I found one sucking blood on my foot in the house a few weeks ago. I'm pretty positive I tracked it in from the yard after being out there.
I don't believe there's an infestation inside the house - it only seems that I get bitten when I go outside. On Saturday afternoon I was working on my raised beds outside for a good amount of time. Later that day I noticed my neck started itching and I found a few bites. Just last night, my wife counted about 14 bite marks on my back. I haven't seen any bites on her but she doesn't go into the yard. This is how I've come to the conclusion that the yard is the main/major issue.
Right now, our yard is pretty muddy - I ripped out all the plants and bark ground cover in hopes of revamping and doing some landscaping (starting with the raised garden beds). We also have a couple small covered patio/deck areas which stay mostly dry when it rains. It doesn't seem like fleas live or burrow in the mud/dirt. I do have a pile of yard clippings mixed with mud/dirt that I've raked up - could that or under the decks be the breeding grounds?
That said, what else can or should I do? I've been avoiding the flea bombs, sprays, poisons, etc for the longest time (because I don't want to spray that stuff near my raised garden beds that I'm growing vegetables in) but now I'm getting to the point of desperation and wondering if I'll just have to bite the bullet and do it; being careful not to spray too close to the beds.
Sorry for the long post and thanks for reading!