Feature articles

28 May 2019

Pest controller and customer relationships in flea treatments

Pest control | PPC95 May 2019

Richard Moseley, National Account and Technical Manager of Bayer CropScience investigates what a pest management professional can do to foster a strong customer relationship.

The importance of pest controller and customer flea treatments

Now is a key period for flea control with warmer temperatures leading to increased activity and breeding of the pest. As a rapid response is required from the homeowner and pest controller to achieve successful treatment, collaboration, trust and communication is key.

Educating homeowners in the steps that need to be taken before and after flea control applications should be a priority for pest controllers to ensure successful, efficient control.

A two-pronged attack from homeowners and pest controllers is the best way to successfully treat flea infestations.

Flea infestations can escalate quickly due to the pest’s prolific breeding pattern, which can see them lay between 800 to 1,000 eggs within their lifecycle. This is why it’s important to treat properties as soon as possible to ensure the infestation doesn’t build up and become harder to control.

However, many people are not keen to admit to a flea infestation, so it’s important to make homeowners feel comfortable when they contact you about the problem – often flea infestations are just bad luck. Involving the homeowner in the planning process will help them to understand the procedure, feel more comfortable and also improve the efficacy of the treatment.

How to identify flea infestations

Although flea infestations in domestic cases are usually easy to identify, it’s important to know what you are dealing with before visiting the property. Once homeowners have made contact about a suspected flea infestation, try to gather as much information as possible.

Understanding if they have pets in the house is the first step.

Ask customers to inspect animals for fleas and bites and any itching or scratching. Humans can also get bites, particularly around the ankles, and this is an indicator of flea infestations spreading around the house.

Seasons and weather conditions can also play a part. Flea infestations tend to be more problematic in the summer because the warmer weather increases insect activity and breeding. Also, animals go outside more and are more likely to pick up fleas from interaction with other animals or fleas that have survived in the grass.

Pre-treatment measures

Once you’ve gained as much information as possible from the homeowner, give them some simple steps to follow before you visit the property to treat. Ask them to vacuum the whole house to remove any larvae, fleas and debris from between gaps in the floorboards, on furniture and in carpets.

The vibrations caused by vacuuming may also cause fleas to advance from the pupation to adult stage, increasing the likelihood of the treatment having direct contact with the insect.

Vacuuming will also remove any dust and dirt which could act as a barrier between the insecticide and the pest. The cleaner the treatment area the better the product will work.

Access to the whole house is vital for treatment success. Ask the homeowner to clear the floors in all rooms, wash any pet bedding and indicate the areas where pets sleep, as these can be the most densely infested areas that can be missed during routine cleaning.

To reduce the likelihood of re-infestation after treatment ensure the customer treats pets for fleas and empties the contents of the vacuum outside. Preventative flea treatment is the best way to control fleas in pets.

Treatment

When arriving at the property, carry out a thorough survey of the entire house to grasp the full extent of the infestation. Once the survey is complete and the site is ready for treatment, make the homeowner aware of the exclusion time before applying the product.

It’s important to use a product that has a long-lasting residual effect, and consideration should be given to the insecticide’s active ingredients, and resistance management if regular treatments are made.

It’s important to read the product label to ensure that the product is being applied at the correct dosage rate for the location and pest it is controlling.

Bayer recommends... 

“The Bayer Advantage® flea treatment controls fleas if they’re already a problem and also provides up to 28-days protection against the pest. This is a spot-on treatment that kills fleas through contact, rather than oral products where fleas must be attached and feeding for the treatment to take effect.”

“I would suggest using a product such as Ficam W, which is a long-lasting broad-spectrum carbamate spray for control of a wide range of pests, and because it isn’t a pyrethroid it’s an ideal tool for resistance management.

“It’s odourless, non-tainting and non-corrosive which makes it the perfect product for use in a home environment around pets.

“If further treatment is required then K-Othrine WG is the perfect solution because it has a different mode of action, helping to reduce resistance build up.”

After treatment

Once the treatment has been undertaken, provide guidance to ensure treatment is successful and help prevent further infestations.

Ask the homeowner to avoid vacuuming for as long as possible after the treatment to allow the insecticide to work to its full capability.

It’s also important to stress that pet flea treatment needs to continue on a regular basis to prevent further infestations. Product labels should be checked thoroughly for application details, but they typically need to be treated every three months.

Flea infestations are a common issue in many households, so ensuring homeowners feel confident seeking professional advice, is vital.

Ultimately the bigger the infestation the more time, work and money required to get on top of it. That’s why it’s important to educate homeowners that professional pest control is required to control these infestations.

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Source: PPC95

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