Industry News

Questions to ask before performing flea and tick work

Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.

Flea and tick control requires a thorough, scientific approach. Attempting to use something like a cockroach treatment to control fleas and ticks and hoping for the best is not going to cut it.

First, watch the video below to see why it’s so important for us as pest management professionals to control pests like fleas and ticks:

Before selecting the best course of action for flea and tick control, below is a list of questions you should answer:

  • Were actual specimens found and identified?
    • Usually, someone thinks they have fleas or ticks when they see them on their pet, or when they are bitten. The problem is that lots of insects bite, so it may be mosquitoes, or something else. In some instances, people have delusory parasitosis and imagine they are bitten by an insect, in which case you won’t need to apply any chemical controls.
  • What is the weather forecast on the day you will be treating?
    • Heavy rains should curtail you from utilizing most pesticides because of the threat of runoff. For indoor treatments, high humidity will mean it can take a few extra hours for a pesticide application to thoroughly dry.
  • Are there streams, ponds or lakes on the property you will be treating?
    • Runoff could kill fish that are miles downstream.
  • What is the slope of the land and ground cover?
    • This can determine the amount of material needed for the application to help avoid runoff.
  • How tall is the grass?
    • The higher the grass, the less effective a pesticide application may be. Ensure the grass has been cut prior to an application.
  • Are pets involved?
    • If so, how many, what are the species and where are they allowed to roam?
  • Are wild animals wandering onto the property?
    • Raccoons and opossums often steal pet food out of open dishes. Have the customer pick up food dishes as soon as possible after the pet eats.
  • Has this flea and/or tick problem occurred before?
    • If yes, something is going on that is increasing the chances that the pests will return again. Try to find out what it is and, if possible, stop it from happening. For example, ask if customers’ pets are straying off the property.
  • How long has the current problem been going on?
    • For long-term problems, there is a greater chance that flea and tick egg, larvae and pupae populations are high.
  • Are there any crawl spaces?
    • If so, are the bases of the crawl space areas dirt or concrete? Some pesticides can be absorbed into porous concrete surfaces, rendering them less effective.
  • Are crawl spaces or raised porches accessible for treatment? If not, you may have to create an access port in a non-obtrusive area.

On your road to more effective flea and tick control, I’ll leave you with a few parting tips:

  • Wear white socks and insert your pant legs into the socks to avoid getting bitten, and to help spot potential fleas and ticks.
  • When finished with your treatment, vacuum areas where pets rest and dwell, and throw away the contents of the vacuum bag.

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