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Flea control and treating the home

Insecticidal Shampoos/Powders

  • Flea shampoos contain insecticides that vary in their effectiveness. The goal is to get to know how to get rid of fleas that are present on the animal at the time of shampooing.  To be effective, the shampoo must stay on the animal for at least 10 minutes before rinsing. Only use a product on an animal for which it is labeled. A natural insecticide that is fairly effective D-limonene, a volatile oil from citrus fruits.  These safe shampoos are good on kittens and puppies and for homes with infants.
  • Powders are effective insecticides and easy to apply.  Shake a small amount of powder onto the skin around the tail, rear legs, stomach and around the neck.  Apply powders in a well-ventilated area. If you have respiratory problems, do not apply this powder, use another type of product on your animal.
  • Sprays: Sprays should be applied one or twice weekly.  It is not necessary to soak the animal. Hit the tail base, the rear aspect of both hind legs, the stomach, and around the base of the neck.
  • Flea Collars: According to Consumer Reports, August 1991, flea collars aren’t effective and are probably a waste of money.  Ultrasonic flea collars are absolutely worthless because they do not work.

Treat the Home

Bedding and Carpets:  Wash pet bedding in hot water.  If animals sleep with a family member, all bedding must be washed.  Vacuum carpets thoroughly everywhere the infested pet is allowed to inhabit and especially near where the animal sleeps.  In addition, cleaning carpets with a steam cleaner should kill some of the larval fleas, and also remove the bits of organic matter that accumulate in carpets that the larvae feed on.

Spray Treatments: Insecticide spray treatments can be used in carpets to reduce numbers of fleas.  Products on the market target the adult flea. Methoprene (Precor) and pyriproxyfen (Nylor, Archer) are growth regulators that prevent eggs from hatching and the larval fleas from pupating into adults that reproduce.  Methoprene will reduce flea populations up to 95% in 14 days while pyriproxyfen, due to its photostability, lasts in carpets for many months. Because these products do not kill adult fleas, products that contain both an insecticide and growth regulator are more effective.

Foggers: Foggers are basically total release aerosols.  The insecticide is released into a mist which dissipates in the room. Unfortunately, foggers do not penetrate well where adult and larval fleas are hiding. In general, they provide poor flea control.