Go-To treatment: Insecticide + IGR – PCT

Flea control service typically involves interior (91%) and exterior (78%) treatments, according to the 2022 PCT State of the Flea Control Market Survey. One-third (33%) of pest control companies also include follow-up inspections in their flea control protocol.

When Bug Out Pest Solutions gets the call for flea control, it’s often for a major infestation. “Usually it’s multiple treatments; to a minimum of two, sometimes three applications. Usually it’s an inner and outer issue,” Trey Howard said.

Most PMPs (88%) rely on a combination of general purpose insecticide and insect growth regulator (IGR) as their primary treatment regimen to control fleas, the survey found.

It’s “foolish” not to use IGR, said Jim Ramey, Lu-Crest Pest Control. IGRs mimic the flea’s juvenile growth hormones and stop the development of flea eggs and larvae. However, adult fleas will still emerge from the pupae, hence the need for follow-up inspections.

In post-survey interviews, PMPs reported using liquid sprays that combine insecticide and IGR to treat indoor floors and outdoor hotspots. Combination aerosol products have been used to target cracks and crevices in upholstered furniture where pets spend time and other hard-to-treat areas such as under furniture.

Ramey uses an aerosol flushing agent when dealing with severe flea infestations. He will apply it to the coat where the cat is, for example, killing some fleas on contact and causing other fleas to jump on the ground, which is treated.

In crawl spaces, which may harbor flea-infested wildlife, Trey Howard of Bug Out Pest Solutions applies desiccant insecticide dust with an electric feather duster.

“Using an electric duster on the crawl space helps us eliminate a lot of those hidden holes and nooks that fleas go to hide in,” Howard said. The process takes a few minutes and the dust provides protection for six to eight months.

Outdoors, Howard applies a time-release granular material, which he says lasts longer than an application of liquid insecticide.

Associate Certified Entomologist Chad Highley, Environmental Pest Control, urged PMPs to rotate the classes of chemicals used for quarterly pest control services because he encountered insecticide-resistant flea populations in his market.

“Pay attention to what works. If you’re sure you’ve done solid service to begin with, start looking for other factors; start looking for why the service failed. Consider all the possibilities. If you’ve ruled everything out and you’re still having a recurring problem, you can try another set of chemicals. You may have encountered a resistant population, which we do from time to time,” he said.

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