Fleas can be extremely annoying and even dangerous for you and your pet. Fleas are ecotoparasites that feed on blood and can transmit diseases and some internal parasites like worms when they bite. In fact, did you know that one of the deadliest human pandemic plagues in all history was spread by flea bites? This was the Black Death plague of the middle ages (1349-1352; click the link if you are curious). In modern times, however, fleas are more of a nuisance than a real health threat although flea bites can be so stressful and prone to infection from scratching for some animals that death has occurred.
Fortunately, pet owners today have a wide variety of ways to combat an existing flea infestation and to pro-actively prevent fleas from gaining a foothold in the first place. Fleas can be controlled by treating pets directly with a variety of flea medications and carpets, furniture and pet bedding can be treated with very low toxicity chemicals that stop flea development.
Twenty years ago the only options for flea (and tick) control were flea collars and toxic insecticides. While flea collars are moderately effective for ticks they are less effective, ironically, for fleas because fleas tend to infest animals around the back legs and belly whereas ticks attach around the head near collars. We no longer need to apply toxic insecticides indoors because much safer alternatives are now available to all pet owners.
Flea sprays stop flea development in carpets and pet bedding
One question we get often is "how effective are flea sprays?". By "flea spray" people mean the aerosol (sometimes hand pump) sprays that contain a relatively low toxicity insecticide like pyrethrum and an insect growth regulator, usually methoprene or Precor. Insect growth regulators stop larval fleas, which don't bite, from turning into adult, biting fleas.
Take a look at this page about fleas and the flea life cycle for general information. You'll also find a link on that page for our flea control suggestions and product comparisons that we update frequently.
When used properly, and in combination with other flea control methods, flea sprays can be very effective especially for long-term control. Always check the product label for the active ingredients methoprene, Precor or some other insect growth regulator. One thing to look for is a statement on the package that says something like "breaks the flea life cycle!" which indicates that the spray contains an ingredient that stops flea development. Treat carpets, furniture and pet bedding with the sprays because this is where flea larvae live. No need to treat outdoors with any flea control product because fleas generally stay close to the animal's "nest" or bedding.