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Pest Control for Indoor Flea Infestations

Pest control products used for indoor fleas can be used for prevention or for elimination of indoor infestations.  There are a variety of products that can be used for indoor pest control but not all of them are labeled for indoor flea control.  This special "indoor flea" label tells you a great deal about the product.  In order to qualify for this type of label, the product must be safe for children and pets and must be water safe for fabrics.  Many people (including professional pest control operators) choose an indoor flea spray for all general purpose pest control jobs because of the safety factors of such products.  For a more detailed explanation on what broadcasting indoors means and how it effects your choice of pest control products, go to the Pesticide Application: Broadcast Indoor Pesticides web article.

Fleas can be controlled in your home by different methods:

  • Use a spray solution containing an IGR and a professional insecticide.
  • Treat all carpets, rugs with Nylar.  This is the best prevention method, but is a little slow in ridding a home of visible adult fleas.
  • Place electronic flea traps in "hot spots" or areas where pets frequent and where you see the majority of fleas.
  • Combine flea traps with Flea Stoppers.  The traps will capture adult fleas while Flea Stoppers prevents all eggs and larvae from maturing.  Flea Stoppers lasts for a year - guaranteed.

Flea sprays for carpets and other flooring include two types of materials: an adulticide (an insecticide that kills adult insects, fleas, etc.) and an insect growth regulator (a larvicide or growth inhibitor.)
For list of products used as indoor flea sprays, go to Indoor Flea Spray article.
Using an insecticide alone for flea control or prevention is usually not a good idea.  We can expect a pesticide spray to give us 30 to 60 days residual on baseboards, cabinets and other wood surfaces.   When trying to get a good knockdown on hard to kill pests such as fleas or ticks, do not expect more than 14 days actual residual in carpets or on furniture.  By incorporating an insect growth regulator (IGR) in your flea control program, you greatly increase your chance of faster and longer lasting pest control.  An IGR will work on flea eggs and flea larvae in your home.  Pest management professionals would not dream of treating a home (for fleas) without the aid of an IGR.
Here is a break down on the flea population in your home: eggs and larvae make up about 80% of the fleas in your carpet, furniture, etc.  Only 2% (maybe less) of the population is made up of adult fleas.  The remaining population is in the pupae stage.  While in the pupae (or cocoon) stage, the pupating flea is not harmed by any chemical or pest control product.  This pupae stage problem is what makes elimination of an existing problem such a chore.  Many people will treat their home with the correct products, using the correct procedures and are then frustrated when they continue to see fleas hatch continuously.  Seeing fleas hatch after your flea control products application is normal.  Once all pupae have hatched, the cycle has been broken and your long term flea prevention products will show their worth.

Flea Eggs and  Flea Larva are somewhat affected by pesticide sprays but not enough to aid in an infestation or to be used economically for prevention.  Use an IGR to kill eggs and larvae in an existing infestation.  An IGR can be used alone or (preferably) tank mixed with an approved insecticide.  Once your infestation has been eliminated, an IGR can be used three to four times each year to prevent re-infestation.  An IGR does not directly kill immature fleas but it over loads them with a juvenile hormone that prevents them from growing up or maturing into jumping, biting, reproducing adult fleas.
Using an IGR as a preventative measure is smart pest control.  Since an IGR will not kill fleas, you will from time to time see a flea hitch-hike in from outdoors.  This flea will not die from your IGR application, but her 300 to 500 eggs will never grow up!
Another method of flea control (of eggs and larvae, some adults) is to use the borate Flea Stoppers.  This is product we advise using for prevention, either before you get a flea problem or immediately after spraying for adult fleas.  This borate product is one of the safest products in the world for adults, children and pets and is guaranteed by the manufacturer for one year.  Flea Stoppers is sprinkled on all carpets and rugs in your home.  After application, use a clean broom to gently sweep in the tiny borate granules.  This gentle sweeping helps the borate to penetrate carpet fibers.  The better the penetration, the longer residual Flea Stoppers will give you.

Flea Pupae are simply a cocoon spun by flea larvae.  The materials used for this stage are gleaned from the pest's surroundings: human hair, animal hair or fur, dust, lint, small pieces of debris.  These materials create the perfect camouflage; the cocoons are not visible to the naked eye.  These cocoons are also water-tight.  Chemicals (insecticides and IRGs) cannot penetrate the shell nor harm the maturing flea inside. 

Adult Fleas are the most visible of stages.  There jumping and biting quickly brings them to your attention.  An insecticide spray will kill adult fleas as they hatch.  One of the most common misconceptions in flea control is that once an insecticide has been sprayed, the adult fleas will conveniently roll over and die with no more fleas being seen in the home.  The truth is, you can expect to see adult fleas hatch out of their protected pupa for a time period ranging from 1 to 8 weeks.  Seeing tiny (newly hatched) adult fleas after treatment is normal and to be expected.
But if you continue to see fat, healthy adult fleas (ones that are easier to see than new hatchings) for more than 10 days after your spray treatment, something is wrong.  You have either missed an indoor area in your treatment or someone or something is bringing more fleas into your home from outdoors.  It takes a couple of good blood meals for a flea to swell to this size, which means they did not just hatch from their pupa.  In simple terms: tiny fleas normal, large fleas not good.  (There is no such thing as a baby flea.  Once they emerge from their pupal stage, they are full grown.  A couple of good blood meals will make a flea swell to larger size.)

Understanding the different stages of a flea, the impact of these stages on your pet and home as well as what to expect from your pest control products will be a great help in choosing the correct flea control products, how to use pesticides and insect growth inhibitors for a successful flea elimination job.

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