For pet owners fleas are a fact of life, especially in the warmer months. Generally, they can be managed effectively with topical treatments such as Frontline or Spot On.
Sometimes, though, flea populations can explode and tougher measures are called for. If you’ve ever been away on holiday and come home to find clouds of fleas gathering about your ankles you’ll know there are really only two alternatives – call in a pest control firm, or buy a few flea bombs and attack the critters yourself.
What is a Flea Bomb?
A flea bomb, sometimes called a “fogger” is an aerosol can that, once activated, releases a superfine mist of insecticide designed to kill adult fleas, flea larvae and flea eggs.
How Flea Bombs Work
The actual insecticides contained in a flea bomb vary between manufacturers, but some of the active chemicals you might see listed on the side of the can include:
- Permethrin – kills adult fleas.
- (S)- Methroprene – prevents fleas maturing.
- Nylar – disrupts the flea lifecycle.
- Pyrethrum – a plant-based insecticide which kills adult fleas.
The superfine nature of the insecticide droplets disbursed by a flea bomb means that they are able to effectively cover most areas of a room along with its contents and furnishings.
The combination of chemicals lethal to adult fleas and to larvae and eggs helps ensure that an infestation is wiped out. If the flea bomb you buy only kills adult fleas, you’ll be getting your ankles bitten again in a matter of weeks as the unaffected eggs hatch and the larvae mature. Check the label.
How Many Bombs do You Need?
The number of flea bombs you need to deal with an infestation will depend on how large an area is affected. Check the manufacturer’s recommendation.
If you don’t have unimpeded air flow throughout your house (maybe you have long narrow halls, many separate rooms etc.) you may need a flea bomb in each of the main areas of your home.
Preparing Your Home
Before you set off a flea bomb you need prepare your home properly. While it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, here are some of the main things you’ll should take care of:
- Wash your pet’s bedding to remove what will probably be a concentrated population of fleas.
- Vacuum all carpets and wash all hard floors.
- Turn off your air conditioning.
- Store all food in closed cupboards – flea bomb insecticide must not be allowed to come into contact with food – this includes pet food.
- Store all cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils in closed cupboards.
- Do the same with food-related equipment like toasters, coffee makers, blenders etc.
- Store toothbrushes and other bathroom items (including toilet paper) safely.
- Cover or pack away any toys.
- Remove all plants from the areas to be treated.
- Remove all pets, including fish and birds.
- Remove all bedding.
- Turn off all pilot lights – flea bomb chemicals can be highly flammable.
Using a Flea Bomb
Once you’ve taken all necessary precautions, close all external windows and, if the whole house is to be treated, open all internal doors.
Place the flea bomb in the centre of the room. If the room is uncarpeted you can put some newspaper down and stand the flea bomb canister on this. If the room is carpeted it is safer to place the canister on a low table or other hard surface (make sure to protect it with a few layers of newspaper).
Ensure that the flea bomb is not pointing towards you and trigger the device. Leave the house immediately. Depending on the type of flea bomb, you’ll need to stay out of the house for between 3 to 4 hours – having an outing planned is a good way to pass the time.
When it is safe to return home, open all windows to air the house out. When the house has aired sufficiently, vacuum all carpets and wash hard floors again to remove insecticide residue. Wearing rubber gloves, wash down all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
An Effective Method of Flea Control
Flea bombs are an effective way to kill flea infestations and they can save you the expense of engaging a pest control company. The chemicals they contain, though, are dangerous and the safety of your family will depend on the precautions you take. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Want to learn more about using flea bombs? Check out this video.