Featured Seasonal Pest: Fleas

A single female flea can lay up to 2000 eggs in her lifetime, with as many as 50 eggs per day. Under ideal conditions, with all of the offspring surviving and breeding themselves, a single pair of fleas could produce 2 trillion descendants in nine months.

There is a professional way to control fleas. It involves an understanding of fleas and their habits, as well as a prevention program involving both you and your pest control technician.

FleasBelow details the three parts of such a treatment - your role and the service technician's role. Read and follow these simple guidelines and your flea problem will be well on its way to being solved.

1. Before:
Once you have discovered a flea infestation you must prepare for the treatment. A thorough cleaning of the home is your first order of business. This is a very important preparatory measure and should not be taken lightly.

Start by taking all pet bedding and washing it thoroughly in hot water, or destroy it. Next, vacuum all carpeting and mop all wood and tile floors. It is particularly important to clean thoroughly in areas where pets sleep or rest also clean under furniture, in cracks and crevices and along walls. Don't forget closets too. And remember, you can't always see fleas - particularly eggs and larvae - so be thorough.Flea Bites

It's also important to clean or vacuum furniture - particularly between and under cushions, a favorite hiding place for flea larvae.

After vacuuming, empty contents of vacuum cleaner into an air-tight plastic bag. Immediately dispose of bag outdoors or burn it.

All affected pets should be treated by a veterinarian. Our service technicians will not treat your pets. It's also necessary to remove pets from the home during treatment - including birds. Fish bowls and aquariums can remain as long as they are properly covered.

All floors - including closet floor - should be cleaned of boxes and other items so that the technician will have ready access to entire floor surfaces.

2. During:
The service technician will be using a restricted use insecticide that's low on the toxicity scale, and safe when applied by professionals.

But like any insecticide, it must be treated with respect. That's why it's necessary for all people and pets to be out of the house while the treatment is being done. It makes for a safe application. Since it's important not to disturb the insecticide until it has completely dried, it makes for a more effective one as well. As a result, your service technician will ask that you do not enter your home until four hours after the application.

Once he has checked to see that the necessary items in your home have been removed, or covered, the service technician will begin the treatment. He will apply a fine broadcast spray over all infected areas - carpets, rugs, wood and tile flooring, baseboards, pet bedding and resting areas, and in the cracks and crevices in the furniture. The insecticide won't stain, so don't worry about your carpets or upholstery. It has only a slight odor that will soon vanish completely.

3. After:
As noted earlier, it's necessary for people and pets to be out of the house until the insecticide has dried thoroughly. That's normally four hours.

When you do re-enter your house, you can resume all your normal activities with one exception, you should put off cleaning carpets, floors and treated furniture with detergents or cleansers as long as possible. Vacuuming, however, is OK since the insecticide will tightly bind to carpeting.

A quick biology lesson will explain why it's important not to clean with detergents. You see, the fleas have a four-stage life cycle - egg, larvae, pupa, and adult. An insecticide will affect fleas only in two of these stages - the mobile larvae and adult stages. So the insecticide must be left undisturbed until the fleas grow from egg to larvae or from pupa into adulthood.

Since the insecticide does have this delayed effect on emerging fleas, you may notice some flea activity after the treatment. This does not mean that the insecticide isn't working - it may take up to 24 to 48 hours before all activity ceases, and multiple treatments, so be patient.