A few years ago I was called out to a flea job from a lady who had been through 3 exterminators, 6 or 7 bug bombs and God knows how much $$ she spent on fleas sprays and elixirs. She was at her wits end and I began with my usual list of questions which took her back a bit because she was expecting me to blast the place like everyone else. I knew with all the spraying that she had enough dead fleas around to make a purse but I wasn’t (and you shouldn’t either) going to add her or the pets to that list by piling on more chemicals. Something was missing somewhere and it was up to me to find out what it was that everybody else had missed.
Is the dog on any flea treatment, what kind and where does he sleep? She replied yes but the knock off brand of flea dip wasn’t going to cut it & I told her to start using Advantage or Top Spot. His bed was in the laundry room in a wire cage.
Do you have a cat? Where does he sleep? Her answer was yes but he doesn’t seem bothered and spends his days on top of the bureau in the bedroom. I advised her that the cat too needed to be on the same products (for cats) and inspected the top of the bureau. There I found flea eggs and had her clean them up with a moist paper towel and vacuum thoroughly all around the area.
Are the fleas in the yard or just in the home? She wasn’t sure but she knew that when the dog went outside he did seem to pick some up but he rarely went far from the porch.
Do you know how you got the fleas? From the vet, stray dogs in the yard, neighbors, animal or rodents up under the home that you know of? No to all 4.
It’s vital with flea work that you find these answers- Just with these responses I put a stop to one area where eggs, larva and pupa could all live undisturbed until finally emerging as adults. Cats tend to lay in odd places, find those and treat them or simply wipe or vacuum them up and a source is now eliminated.
Now inside I did not want to treat super heavy because like I said I wasn’t the first company out there and she probably had more chemical in the home than what was needed. That aside I did take all the cushions up from the couches and treated with an aerosol called Precor 2000 plus. I then moved the furniture around enough so I could spray the carpets and lifted the throw rugs, treated under the beds and made sure to do a crack and crevice treatment as well. For the dogs bed I had her launder the blanket and she vacuumed the metal pan that the cage sat in. I applied Precor 2000 plus to the tiled laundry room floor and made sure it made it under the washer and dryer knowing that any larva would wriggle their way over to the dark secluded void to begin to pupate. She wasn’t real happy that I wasn’t going to ‘spray’ the carpets which is what I would normally do but it had only been a few days since she fired the last guy and too much is too much. I guess she was satisfied with my other techniques and maybe that’s what made her accept my reluctance to ad more spray to an already covered area. My products of choice were Conquer liquid concentrate and Precor with one ounce of Kicker mixed in my one gallon sprayer. (also the aerosol mentioned above) The trick is to be thorough but you do not necessarily need to treat the entire area up under a couch etc. The larva will move to dark areas but usually only move a few inches under objects where they can then pupate before becoming adults, likewise with throw rugs but if you can easily move something out of the way it wouldn’t hurt.
Outside I treated the yard with a permethrin spray and was careful to hit all the areas where I suspected the dog ran such as along the fence and places where he potties. I also treated heavy in areas of shade because this again is where the larva prefer to move in order to pupate. All the while the homeowner sat on the front porch and was brushing her dog in her lap.
Almost finished I noticed the lady was now sweeping the dogs hair that came off as she brushed him. Instead of picking up the hair with a dust pan she simply swept it over the edge of the porch onto the ground behind a large grill. I asked her if that was what she normally did and she said it was something she did everyday since becoming infested with fleas. Looking behind the grill I found a large pile of white dog fur and you could see fleas hopping about. I treated the area with my spray realizing that she had created another zone of flea infestation without even knowing it.
Now the title of this article may be misleading because really there is no perfect, set way to treat for fleas. The only constants are to ask the right questions and to be thorough. I imagine that the other pest guys didn’t bother to find out about the cats habits and I only found out about the dog fur towards the end. My questions allowed me to treat effectively and finally get rid of the fleas that plagued this woman and it will be your answers to the same that will finally rid you of your flea problems too. You may not treat the same way I did because you may have different answers. As long as the end result is that you’ve treated safely and rid yourself of the fleas then you can call it the perfect flea job or at least the perfect questionnaire.