Flea Control Methods

I don’t know about you but for me there are few things as disturbing as finding a flea inside my home. I realize it’s probably not very manly or reassuring to hear that a pest control guy is so disturbed by a tiny insect but unfortunately these fears are rooted in experience. I think my main problem with these tiny parasites is a combination of the extremely itchy bites they inflict and the multi-layered, labor intensive approach that must be taken for effective flea control. A flea infestation, like many pest problems, requires every tool in the Integrated Pest Management tool box.

When we get a call from a homeowner about a flea infestation, we generally have to start asking flea control questions:

What is the source?

Unlike some other parasites like mosquitoes who are relatively equal opportunity offenders fleas really prefer to be on animals. These animals can range from rodents, to wild animals, to domestic dogs and cats. They usually only bite humans when the infestation is relatively heavy or there isn’t a fur bearing animal close by. So we must first determine the primary host or hosts for the fleas before we can undertake flea control.

Can we treat or remove the source?

After we’ve determined where the fleas are coming from, we will try to address the host/source by either treating them in the case of domestic animals or by removing or excluding them in the case of wild or feral animals. For flea control, we treat domestic animals with monthly drops or pills from your veterinarian which kill or sterilize adult fleas in order to break the life cycle. We remove or exclude animals like raccoons, possums, and feral cats by catching and removing them or physically sealing them out of homes and crawl spaces. Flea control treatments for domestic animals is done with products like Revolution, Frontline, and Trifexis just to name a few. It’s best to check with your vet to see which flea control product is best for your pet.

How often can you vacuum?

One of the best methods of flea control after the source and/or host(s) have been addressed is vacuuming. Most customers are very skeptical of this but, I can tell you from years of flea control experience that it really is the cheapest and safest way to remove every life stage of the flea. I say every life stage because most of our chemical flea control treatments don’t kill flea eggs. Some of our products actually say they kill flea eggs but I’m skeptical. Either way vacuuming every surface possible, especially any rugs, carpet, or upholstery is very important. Equally important is throwing out the vacuum bags or cleaning out the canister after you’re done as the flea eggs can still hatch inside of the vacuum cleaner. Also don’t forget to focus your flea control efforts on areas where your pet spends the most time like pet bedding or that favorite spot on the couch.

Are they biting you?

This last question is generally our litmus test for applying flea control chemicals inside a home. Often people will find one or two fleas on a pet and think its time to “Bomb” the house. In reality a few Fleas on your pet can most often be addressed by the flea control methods above. However, if the flea population has grown to the point that people in the home are being consistently bitten. then it’s usually time to apply residual flea control pesticides to bolster the other flea control methods. The flea control treatments we use are generally mixtures of Adulticides and Insect Groth Regulators or IGR’s. All this means is that there are a combination of chemicals designed to kill fleas and/or interrupt their breeding cycle. This is the last resort but it is sometimes necessary to get fleas under control. Sometimes we have to do several flea control treatments due to the life cycle of fleas.

If you have any questions about Flea control feel free to call or email us here at Hunter Pest Control.