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IGRs remain the go-to product  for PMPs working at flea accounts.

When asked about treatment protocols, PMPs almost universally say they incorporate an insect growth regulator (IGR) to disrupt the life cycle. Ninety-two percent of PMPs reported including an IGR in their service protocol, and 85 percent said that their primary treatment regimen for controlling fleas is a combination of general-use insecticides and IGRs.

“A big part of treating fleas successfully is combining a good adulticide labeled for fleas with an IGR labeled for the species you’re dealing with,” says Chad Highley, ACE, of Environmental Pest Control. He treats cat, dog and sand fleas — the three primary species named by respondents to the PCT survey.

Although he treats indoors and outdoors at every account, Highley says that knowing the specifics of where to treat means first identifying the source. “Until you determine where the fleas are coming from, you can treat all you want but you won’t resolve the issue,” he says. “We generally find that fleas are carried into yards and homes by wildlife — a transient rodent population or a raccoon harboring in the crawlspace or attic. Because of this, our flea inspections often result in discussions with the customer about the need for exclusion work.”

Kevin Mills of Mills Pest Management has similar experiences. “You always need to look at the bigger picture; you can’t assume that it’s ‘just fleas.’ If you do that, you may miss the rodent infestation that’s the true culprit,” he says. “During inspection, you need to be diligent about checking the attic and crawlspace in addition to the usual flea hiding places.”

In the house, those places may include carpets and rugs, upholstered furniture, pet bedding, draperies, floor cracks and tile joints. “It’s important to treat under baseboards,” says Wade Wilson of Turner Pest Control. “That’s an area a lot of technicians miss, but it’s important because fleas like to harbor and will lay eggs there.”