If you ever felt the itch and scratch of flea bites on your skin, you also know the fight against fleas is just as irritable. Between pricey topical pet treatments and carpet sprays, pest control chemicals may also include the risk of high toxicity to animals and humans. Chemicals in flea control products help rid homes and pets of the blood-sucking pests. Grocery stores and pet supply shops carry an abundance of different flea prevention and killer aids. However, some chemicals only kill adults, which proves ineffective against flea eggs and larvae.
Products such as Frontline, Advantage and Revolution treat fleas living off a pet's blood. These topical treatments kill fleas and prevent stage development for juvenile fleas. Active chemicals include fipronil, imidacloprid and selamectin. Fipronil combines with s-methoprene in Frontline to prevent fleas from maturing in the larval stage and kills adults.
Flea prevention also comes in the form of pills. Flea-dip pills, such as Capstar, use tablets made from a chemical called nitenpyram. This kills all fleas on pets for up to two hours after dosing. Capstar works on both dogs and cats. Sentinel is another flea-dip pill that only works on dogs.
For on-the-spot prevention and pesticide, flea killer sprays come in aerosol cans and bottles that disperse ingredients into the fibers of carpet and furniture. Products like Hot Shot and Raid both use aerosol and bottle flea killer. Active ingredients range from organic compounds like pyrethrins to permethrin and peperonyl butoxide. Sprays also contain the chemical pyriproxife. These ingredients deliver a concentrated dose of pesticide to fleas and other insects such as roaches. However, many of these sprays only kill adult fleas. Some floor sprays, such as Ultracide, contain egg-inhibiting chemicals as well.
Foggers or Bombs
In large areas such as living rooms and bedrooms, where fleas infest multiple spaces of carpet, foggers or flea bombs emit gas that settles on all surfaces and kills fleas on contact. Flea bombs contain ingredients like nylar, and kill fleas and also prevent larvae from maturing. The chemical gases tend to settle on all surfaces, however, which make using them in a home unsafe unless you clean extensively afterward.
In addition to topical treatments, pills, sprays and foggers, yard control becomes necessary when dealing with fleas. Flea yard controls contain a variety of active chemicals that range in their toxicity and threat to other life forms. Concern Citrus Home Pest Control contains d-limonene, which has a low to moderate toxicity to humans but is highly toxic for aquatic life. The chemicals in yard control methods with the most toxicity to humans are gamma-cyhalothrin and lambda-cyhalothrin. Other chemicals include imidacloprid, deltamethrin, carbaryl and cyfluthrin.
- Pet Shed: Chemical Flea Control
- Tractor Supply: Groundwork Ready to Spray Roach, Ant and Flea Killer (Ingredients)
- Flea Bomb: Flea Bomb Fogger Instructions for Flea Infestation at Home
- Orkin: Flea Bombs
- Fleasmart.com: House Flea Control
- City of Austin: Earth-Wise Guide to Fleas (PDF-Scroll Down)
- Walgreens: Hot Shot Flea Spray