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Do Home Flea Treatments Work?

Flea Bombs

Flea bombs treat indoor flea infestations through indirect application of chemicals. They are designed to be left alone to release pesticides into the room and kill the fleas.

While flea bombs sound like an effective solution for indoor flea infestations, their chemicals often do not reach hidden or sheltered areas, such as the spaces beneath furniture or the interiors of closets and cabinets. These spaces can become a refuge for the fleas. Fleas in these protected areas will be unaffected by the flea bomb and therefore not controlled. Flea bombs also do not address outdoor infestation or animal infestation. One of the most critical parts of a successful flea control program is addressing the source of the fleas. Pets should be treated with an appropriately labeled product homeowners can purchase from their veterinarian. If the pet is the source and not treated, it will lead to a continuation of flea activity and likely failure of the other treatments. The areas outside where the animals or wildlife reside also need to be treated, or else the homeowner may pick up fleas when outside the home.

Flea bombs also leave behind a residue on surfaces and can contaminate exposed food and food preparatory surfaces. Lastly, certain stages of the flea's life cycle are not likely to be affected. Pupae and adults inside the cocoons are not as affected as other stages. For these reasons, a flea bomb is not considered an effective or recommended solution. Contact your local pest control professional for effective, customized pest control options.

Problems with Flea Traps and Spray Products

Flea traps do capture some fleas, but the trap’s greatest value is as a monitoring tool, not a control tool. Traps only catch adult fleas and have very little impact on eggs, larval and pupal flea stages. Flea traps do make good monitoring devices and can serve as a warning device to let a property owner know a flea problem could be forthcoming.

While consumer spray products will kill fleas, a property owner should never rely solely on sprays. A flea aerosol bomb may seem like a good control product for indoor flea problems, but may not reach into sheltered areas where flea larvae and pupae are living. Therefore, areas such as inside closets, cabinets, under furniture and on pets may become a refuge for the fleas that survive flea bombs. Also, consumer spray products are usually not as long lasting as those products used by pest management professionals.

Flea control should never rely solely on sprays since effective flea control depends on using an integrated, multifaceted range of control techniques and products such as:

  • Using insect growth regulators that interfere with the normal development of fleas from egg to adult stage.

  • Conducting a thorough inspection to locate and identify flea sources both inside and outside the home.

  • Using vacuums to physically remove all flea stages from carpets, furniture and in pet bedding areas.

  • Using carpet cleaning equipment and frequently washing and drying pet bedding to kill fleas.

  • Educating the property owner about flea habits, behavior and habitats.

  • Recommending that property owners consult with their pet’s veterinarian for advice regarding pet-related products and how to properly bathe and groom pets.


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