By Ken Kendall,
Vice President, Technical Services, Ensystex
The control of fleas and ticks requires a multipronged attack plan. Perhaps the most important step for the effective management of fleas and ticks is more frequent house-cleaning, especially thorough vacuuming of the carpeting and/or sweeping of any non-carpeted floors. This first step helps to reduce the potential food for flea larvae — and to activate some of the flea pupae that may be lying in wait to emerge. It also helps to remove adult fleas and some stages of ticks that are in the carpet and in the cracks and crevices of the non-carpeted areas. This is also a good time for the pet’s bedding to either be washed in the washing machine if machine-washable, or discarded and replaced with new bedding.
When it comes time indoor chemical control, it is advisable to use a combination of an appropriately labeled adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR). The adulticide will kill the active stages present, while the IGR prevents any eggs and immature flea larvae from progressing to the adult (biting) stage. These products should be applied anywhere that fleas are found, paying particular attention to areas frequented by pets. Don’t forget to treat under and around furniture, because these are great hiding places for developing fleas and ticks.
For tick control, a thorough application of an appropriately labeled residual insecticide will likely work best. This would include cracks and crevices along baseboards and molding at the floor level. As with fleas, it is a good idea to concentrate more of your effort where the pet spends most of its time.
An important part of the follow-up, especially for flea control, involves a thorough vacuuming of the carpet. This vacuuming will activate any flea pupae that may be in the carpeted area and will bring them into contact with the treated surfaces. This should be done twice during the first two weeks after treatment.
It is also a good idea for the pet owner to have a treatment program for their pet during flea and tick season. All your best efforts will be negated if the pet is not treated and brings fleas into the house that you worked so hard to make flea-free.