Fleas In All the Right Places

Saturday September 8, 2012


Mr Pest Control


When treating for fleas is it alright to spray wood floors?

phil, TN

Mr Pest Control


We have a couple of issues to contend with here. The first and foremost is the product Label of the product or products you may use for the flea control. You are bound to follow the label and its instructions on how and where the product can be applied, and if we pick a couple of commonly used flea materials - Dragnet SFR and Suspend SC - we do not see a specific mention of "hard flooring" of any kind. What the labels tell us to do is to thoroughly vacuum any place where the pets spend time resting, and suggest carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet bedding as likely examples. Once thoroughly vacuumed to remove as many flea eggs, larvae, and feces as possible, as well as to activate dormant flea pupae to hatch to the adult flea, these kinds of surfaces can then be treated with that product. 

Precor IGR Concentrate almost exactly mimics this wording too, suggesting carpets, pet bedding, and upholstered furniture, but also adds the important phrase "When applied to surfaces where fleas are found", and I think this is key to whether or not there is a reason to treat hard surfaces. Your goal with a flea treatment with an insecticide is primarily to kill flea larvae and emerging adult fleas over the next couple of weeks. In addition, perhaps, you may want to kill existing adult fleas present at the moment you are treating, but for this a light misting with pyrethrum will do the trick. The PT-565 XLO aerosol label, for example, suggests this method of misting from several feet high above the floor so that droplets are not covering the floor itself. 

The reason that statement on the Precor IGR label is important is because it would be highly unlikely to have a situation where flea larvae are living and feeding on hard floor surfaces. They may be around the edges or in obvious seams where debris may accumulate, providing them with the foods they need, but not on the open expanses of floor. And, vacuuming these open expanses should remove anything there and provide no reason to spray them as well. Since the flea larvae will be found only in those locations where they find dried blood from the fecal pellets of the adult fleas, you will have those fecal pellets on surfaces where the pets spend time sleeping or resting. This is most logically softer surfaces such as carpets or upholstered furniture. 

I would offer the direct response that the only reason you would treat hard wood floors would be to kill the occasional adult flea that may have found its way there, and that would be best with an aerosol that evaporates rapidly, leaving the vapors of pyrethrum to kill the fleas. Spraying the floor with a residual or an IGR really would not accomplish anything. 

The second major issue that needs to be considered is the appearance of that hardwood floor after you treat and the liquid dries. You may leave water spots or other discoloration that is difficult to remove. You never know what effect any oil-based products may have on the finish of that expensive hardwood, and in particular you do NOT want to directly spray the floor with aerosols. Use them well above the floor so that the floor is not wetted, as this would include solvents in the aerosol that could permanently discolor that wood or the finish on it. 

Mr. Pest Control

Register now for PestWeb to get instant access to all of Mr. Pest Control's in-depth answers!

Register Now Ask a Question Add to My Favorite Questions

Please note, Mr. Pest Control is answering questions supplied by PMP customers across North America. His answers are generated from industry and manufacturer-provided information. The answer may not be specific to the laws and regulations for your State, Province, Territory or Country. In addition, products mentioned may not be registered and or available in all areas. Always check with your local Univar office for specific information to your area. Always read and follow label directions.