Rockwell Labs Ltd: Fleas and Ticks

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March 29, 2013

By Founder and CEO Dr. Cisse Spragins

While fleas and ticks can both be associated with pets, that isn’t necessarily the case in all structural pest control situations. Ticks are most commonly a problem outdoors, particularly around homes in wooded areas — regardless of whether the family has pets. Because certain ticks can carry Lyme disease, control can be particularly important.

Minimizing harborage by removing brush and overgrowth near structures can help, but certain areas are prone to infestation and will need to be sprayed. One of the most effective treatments is to spray with appropriately labeled, microencapsulated lambda-cyhalothrin. The residual should be mixed per the label. Areas frequented by pets, such as kennels and yards, should be treated with a broad fan spray. Vegetation, brush, rock walls, wood piles and other harborage areas should also be treated. Keep in mind that treatment should cover entire areas, not just spots. Spray must be dry before reintroducing pets and people to the area. Retreatments may be necessary to gain lasting control.

Fleas can be introduced to yards from wild animals, but most commonly occur with pets. They will likely be a problem indoors as well if the pets come inside. Esfenvalerate is one of the most effective active ingredients against fleas that still has broadcast carpet spray applications on the label. Encapsulated (EC) and microcap formulas are available for both indoor carpet spray and also for spraying yards. It is recommended to blend an insect growth regulator (IGR) with the product to control immature stages that will emerge later.

Instruct homeowners to vacuum prior to treatment, as the vibration will encourage pupation. Again, it is important to thoroughly treat all pet areas, harborage areas, yards, etc., and to let the spray dry before pets and people are reintroduced to the area. For extended residual protection around pet beds and under seat cushions, cracks and crevices, edges of carpets and other areas where it won’t be disturbed, silica-based dust is an excellent option. If pets are present, when treating for fleas or ticks, they should be treated at the same time with a registered on-animal product to ensure that treated areas aren’t rapidly reinfested.

About the Author

Dr. Cisse Spragins is founder and CEO of Rockwell Labs Ltd. She is also a PMP Hall of Famer, Class of 2018.

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