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PEST PULSE: FLEA TREATMENTS AND END-OF-LEASE TREATMENTS

Our latest Pest Pulse survey invited pest managers to tell us about how they perform flea treatments and end-of-lease treatments.

 

Dealing with flea infestations can be troublesome and unless a comprehensive treatment is carried out there is a significant risk of a callback. An end-of-lease treatment is a very different service, but since it is nominally targeting fleas, our latest Pest Pulse survey set out to get a feel for how pest managers are dealing with these two different service offerings.

Given that a best practice flea treatment should target both indoor and outdoor areas, and potentially include more than one visit, it can be quite a time-consuming process. The average price for a flea treatment from respondents (108) was $263. Interestingly the price range varied from $120 to more than $500.

The variations in price likely re ect the number of visits planned for by pest managers (Figure 1). Whilst 35% of pest managers plan for two visits as part of the treatment, nearly 50% of pest managers only allow for a single visit. Remember pupae are not penetrated by treatments, so there will be an emergence of adults in the two weeks following a treatment. A comprehensive single treatment will take care of any emerging adults, but it’s still important to flag this flea behaviour to customers to minimise any callbacks. For those pest managers who allow for a second visit (not necessarily a second treatment), the majority plan to come back two weeks after the initial treatment, with others coming back after a month or so.

 

Figure 1: Number of planned visits for a flea treatment

 

Success in flea control requires a comprehensive treatment to ensure all infested areas are treated. Of the respondents, 90% said they apply a treatment to all rooms inside (Figure 2). A number mentioned treating carpeted areas but only treating the skirting boards in the areas with hard floors. Certainly the gaps between floorboards shouldn’t be ignored either. Three pest managers mentioned only treating areas inside where the pets had been.

 

Figure 2: Locations sprayed during a flea treatment

 

The vast majority of pest managers (96%) also carried out some type of outdoor treatment in addition to the indoor treatment. Two thirds of pest managers will treat all of the yard, with 20% only treating pet resting areas. Just over half of pest managers will consider treating underneath the house.

In terms of the products used, 21 different adulticide products were mentioned. Bifenthrin was the most mentioned insecticide, with Temprid (20%) and Bi ex (15%) getting the most specific product mentions. Interestingly around 5% of pest managers mentioned using older carbamate and organophosphate chemistries. Exactly 80% of pest managers include an insect growth regulator in their spray mix, with Starycide getting 57% of the mentions and Sumilarv 31%. The reason wasn’t given, but one pest manager mentioned using Sumilarv inside and Starycide outside.

End-of-lease treatments are part of many rental contracts, primarily for tenants with pets, and so are often treated as a flea treatment by pest managers. However, being a price-sensitive service, it should be expected that the pricing and indeed the extent of services would be more limited in an end-of-lease flea treatment compared to a full flea control service.

Certainly the average price of an end-of-lease treatment was lower than for a comprehensive flea treatment – $191 versus $263 (range $110 to $300+) – but perhaps not as low as some might think. End-of-lease flea treatments tend to be less extensive, with 70% of pest managers treating both inside and outside areas. A quarter of respondents treat inside areas only, and two pest managers only spray if fleas are present.

The products used in an end-of-lease flea treatment were very similar, with bifenthrin the most common adulticide (35% of mentions) and Temprid and Biflex the most commonly mentioned products. Despite the lower price of treatments, over half of pest managers still included an insect growth regulator in the tank mix, presumably to provide long-term protection and to avoid a callback for what is normally a single-visit treatment.

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