Summer is peak flea season – with the warmer temperatures and increased humidity a flea infestation can get quickly out of control.

It has long been best practice to incorporate an insect growth regulator with adulticide in any flea treatment. However, new understanding on how Sumilarv impacts the various life stages provides pest managers with new reasons to make Sumilarv the IGR of choice.

Find out about these new performance benefits and how they can boost your flea treatments…

Professional Flea Treatments with Sumilarv

Sumilarv is an insect growth regulator that has long been a go to product in flea treatments, for its ability to “break the breeding cycle”. Whilst it has long been known that it has activity on many of the life stages, the primary action was always thought to be in preventing pupation. However, recent research has now confirmed it actually kills flea larvae.1

So how does Sumilarv act on the different stages of the life-cycle?

Adults: Effects many internal functions resulting in the females laying sterile eggs

Eggs: Sterile eggs won’t hatch, but eggs laid before the treatment easily absorb Sumilarv and won’t hatch either

Larvae: The three instars of the flea larvae will be killed after direct contact with Sumilarv

Pupae: Late stage instar exposed to Sumilarv will still form their pupa, but they will not develop/hatch

Sumilarv activity on flea life cycle 

Benefits of including Sumilarv in your flea treatment

  • Targets all life stages of the flea
  • Great safety profile – Unscheduled poison
  • Long lasting (up to 12 months indoors)
  • Ideal for use in sensitive areas
  • Great preventative treatment indoors and outdoors, without the need for an adulticide

This last benefit – offering a long lasting preventative flea treatment – is a great up selling opportunity. Target customers with pets – it’s a great complimentary treatment alongside any on pet treatment and as Sumilarv is an IGR with a great safety profile / unscheduled poison, customers who may have concerns regarding chemical sprays can be re-assured.

Data showing the long lasting performance of Sumilarv on flea development

Tips for a successful flea treatment

A successful flea treatment really needs to be comprehensive and follow good IPM (integrated pest management) practices – a combination of cultural and chemical control options.

Cultural management techniques: Cultural control refers to physical actions which can be taken to remove the existing flea population. The activities often require ongoing help from the home owner. Before any treatment, it is extremely important to vacuum carpets, floors, furniture and bedding. This act alone can remove up to 80% of flea eggs. Washing sheets, pet bedding, toys etc is also important. Mowing the lawn before any outdoor flea treatment is also a must-do, so any treatment can get down to the soil level and contact the flea larvae.

Treating the pets: The owner needs to treat the companion animals (dogs and cats), with a veterinary flea product.

The flea treatment: Professional flea treatments should involve spraying all affected areas (basically everywhere the pets have been), inside, outside and under the house.

The optimal spray mix is a combination of adulticide, to provide the quick knockdown and kill of adults, and an IGR such as Sumilarv to target the other life stages and provide the long lasting preventative action.

Flea life-cycle facts not to forget

The flea life-cycle can vary greatly in length depending on environmental conditions. It can be as  short as two weeks or as long as two years.

The flea pupae can remain dormant for many months. They will hatch instantly on feeling the vibrations of a large animal (a potential meal), walking by.

The flea pupa is impermeable to insecticide treatments, which is why customers will often call a week or two after the treatment, when these pupae hatch. The adults should be killed shortly after emergence if a suitable residual adulticide is in the carpet. However, you should forewarn your customer that this may occur and is to be expected. Many pest managers schedule two visits for a flea treatment for this reason.

In summary, to deliver a successful flea treatment and avoid the dreaded call back there’s no shortcut – pest managers need to take time to deliver a comprehensive treatment. Of course, the inclusion of Sumilarv certainly helps!

Charles McClintock, Manager Public Health and Professional Products, Sumitomo Chemical Australia.

*Rust M.K. and W.L.H. Hemsarth (2016).  Synergism of the IGRs Methoprene and Pyriproxfen against larval cat fleas (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae).  Journal of Medical Entomology 2016: 1-5, doi: 10.1093/jme/tjw010

®Sumilarv is a registered trademark of Sumitomo Chemical Japan.