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WHAT’S THE FUSS WITH FLEAS?

Wendell Arnett from Bayer’s Crop Science Division shares a success story from one of his customers, featuring Suspend Flexx Insecticide and a serious flea infestation.

 

Small, wingless and relatively easy to spot, fleas are the most common parasite that pet owners face. Why is there so much fuss about such a small insect? Well, they have a rather notorious reputation, having been responsible for the transmission of the bubonic plague or ‘Black Death’, in the 14th century. Fortunately, the species that was responsible, the oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis), is quite rare these days. Today it is the cat flea, (Ctenocephalides felis) which is the cause of many problems for pet owners.

Known to attack dogs, rats, and humans, the cat flea is small (1-2 mm in length), and dark reddish-brown. The dog flea, (Ctenocephalides canis), which is similar in appearance to the cat flea and will also attack a wide range of mammals, is not as common as the cat flea.

Although bubonic plague is no longer a health concern in developed countries, fleas do still present a health concern. Fleas are capable of transmitting tapeworms from dogs and cats to humans. Their bites are painful, and they cause extreme discomfort to many pets. Flea bites can present as itchy red or swollen lumps on the skin, typically occurring within 30 minutes. Given the concerning risks of fleas to human and pet health, it’s important to prevent and control fleas in the home. When potential clients say they have fleas, it is imperative to establish that it is indeed a flea infestation you are dealing with and not something else.

One of our Bayer customers, Warren Bailey from ABC Pest Control in Sydney, received a call from a customer requesting an inspection of their single-storey home. They had noticed that something was jumping onto them and biting them. After doing the initial inspection, Mr Bailey was in no doubt as to the cause of the problem.

 

Warren Bailey

 

“It was definitely fleas,” said Mr Bailey. “The infestation was moderate, not just inside but also in the back lawn. Every room in the house was affected.”

He advised the customer to vacuum the carpet and to pick up as many items off the floor as possible.

“Usually I would recommend the lawn be mowed before a treatment. But in this case the lawns had just been mowed, making it easier for me to carry out the treatment on the day. The customer cleaned the animal bedding as I’d instructed and bathed the animal with a flea wash while I was preparing to carry out the treatment,” he said. For flea treatments, Mr Bailey usually uses two different insecticides – Temprid75 for inside the home and Biflex for outdoor areas – a formula he has always had success with.

However, shortly before this particular flea job, we had been discussing the benefits of Suspend Flexx Insecticide. I had explained about its flexible mixing rate, which allows the use of one product rather than two. Remembering our conversation, Mr Bailey used the opportunity to try Suspend Flexx, applying both an indoor and outdoor treatment.

Mr Bailey said, “I did a follow up inspection a week later and was happy to report the flea problem was solved with just one treatment. So I was very happy with the results. Now, instead of having to use two different products I have one product that will save me time and money. And I have a satisfied customer.”

Mr Bailey believes he will now continue to use Suspend Flexx as his go-to flea treatment, putting it at the centre of his successful IPM approach.

 

Wendell Arnett, Business Development Manager (NSW/QLD/ACT), Crop Science Division, Bayer

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