When fleas invade your home, they usually find their way indoors by hitching a lift on the backs of your beloved pets. These jumping, bloodsucking bugs love the fur of cats and dogs and are quick to hop into the coats of your pest when they go outdoors.
Fleas can quickly infest your home and, once they’re inside, can be hard to get rid of. However, given their tendency to harbor diseases, this is one visitor you want rid of asap! Luckily, there are pest control professionals on hand who can exterminate the insects quickly and efficiently. Read on to find out how the experts operate, what methods they use and what you can do to prepare for a professional flea extermination service.
Can an exterminator get rid of fleas in my home and backyard?
Absolutely! Most people treat their pets and home for fleas first, but, depending on the layout of your yard, you may need to get your outdoor areas treated, too. If your backyard has lots of shaded areas, crawl spaces and enclosures (such as sheds or dog houses), you should look for a home and yard extermination package. This is because wild and stray animals may sleep in sheltered areas at night, which can introduce fleas to your yard (and pets).
What is the flea extermination process?
The first step to any flea extermination process is assessment. Prior to the service, a pest control professional will come to your house to check out the situation and put together a treatment plan based on your personal circumstances. Once the extent of the problem has been determined, they will probably offer you one of two options. These are heat treatment, and chemical treatment.
Chemical treatment usually involves the use of a residual flea control product that contains pesticides as its active ingredient(s). These are typically applied with a spray or fogger, which disperses the product in a fine mist that settles over exposed surfaces in your house. This then forms a residue which sticks around for a few weeks; long enough to take out all adult fleas and the larvae that hatch from the remaining eggs.
Chemical treatments often contain two types of insecticides; adulticides, and insect growth regulators. Adulticides (such as permethrin and fipronil) kills adult fleas on contact, taking down all live insects in your house. Insect growth regulators (IGRs) interferer with larval growth and development, preventing them from reaching adulthood. This effectively breaks the flea reproductive cycle and takes care of any bugs that hatch after the initial treatment.
A residual, chemical treatment can effectively take care of all active fleas in your house on the day of treatment. This method does not kill flea eggs; however, its effects last long enough to kill any new fleas that hatch over the following weeks.
Another popular method of flea extermination is heat treatment. This natural, chemical-free process is favored by many as a mess-free and non-toxic way to take care of your flea problem. During heat treatment, the affected area is heated to around 50 C for a prolonged period of time. This effectively kills adult insects and eggs, without the use of pesticides.
One of the main benefits of heat treatment is that its effects are instantaneous. Unlike chemical treatment, which works over a period of weeks, heat treatment kills everything – adult fleas, larvae, and eggs – on the day of service. This is ideal if you just have a small area of your home or several infested items to treat but, unfortunately, isn’t a practical way of eradicating fleas from your whole house or yard.
How much (on average) does it cost to exterminate fleas?
The cost of a professional extermination service varies depending on the size of the area to be treated. You can expect to pay approximately $75 – 100 for the initial service, though you may have to pay further fees for follow-up treatments. Altogether, it should cost around $200-250 for complete service of an average-sized home.
What are the most common terms you need to know when dealing with flea pest control companies?
Sometimes it helps to learn the lingo! Keep your ears open for the following terms when dealing with pest control companies!
- Adulticide: An insecticide used to kill adult/active insects.
- Insect growth regulator: Insecticides that mimic hormones in young insects, thus affecting how they grow and develop.
- Fogger: A device that creates fog or a mist from an insecticide product, allowing it to disperse further and more evenly throughout the area to be treated.
How to prepare for a flea control service
Before your flea extermination takes place, your pest control expert will probably give you a list of tasks to complete ahead of time.
Prior to the treatment, you must:
- Prepare to leave your home. Your exterminator will advise you on how long to evacuate your home for, but you’ll probably need to stay away for 3-5 hours during treatment. This allows the insecticide product to dry thoroughly before you return.
- Treat your pet’s bedding. Remove anything your pet has slept on and wash it thoroughly with hot water to kill any fleas or eggs that may be on there.
- Clean your house thoroughly. Pick up everything from the floor (including in closets and under beds), vacuum carpets, mop wooden floors, and lino, clean all furnishings and wipe down all surfaces. This will help the pesticide product settle evenly over floors and surfaces in your home, for better results.
- After vacuuming, empty the bag into a sealable trash container outside your home.
- Remove all pets from your home prior to treatment and have them treated for fleas before you allow them back inside.
- Strip all bed linens and wash them in hot water to kill any bugs that may be hiding in them.
- Cover and store any open food products, cooking equipment or utensils.
What do you need to do after a professional flea removal service?
Stay out of your house for 3-5 hours after the treatment to allow time for the insecticide to dry thoroughly.
Once you return to your home you will need to air it out thoroughly. Open all doors and windows to properly ventilate your house after treatment.
Resist the urge to clean. You should avoid cleaning your carpet for at least 2 weeks after a flea extermination service, as this will give the treatment time to work properly and take care of any newly-hatched fleas.
Finding fleas in your home can be a nightmare, especially as these fast-breeding parasites can be tricky to eradicate! Fortunately, pest control is on hand to help. A professional exterminator will be able to put together a treatment plan to suit your specific needs, so the problem can be dealt with smoothly. Whether you need your house, backyard or both treated, a pest control expert will be able to rid your home of fleas in no time.