Can heat treatment kill fleas?
Over the last years, and as a result of bugs becoming more resilient to standard spraying treatments, we’re suffering from infestations that are increasingly tough. This is due to the chemical resistance that bugs have developed every time they survive a standard—or improperly conducted—treatment. The use of heat treatment for fleas, however, offered a powerful solution to that problem.
Moreover, pests such as fleas are an even tougher infestation to crack, as pets are likely part of the problem. First of all, we should make sure that our pets are completely free of fleas. Secondly, if spraying has not worked or you do not want to use chemicals at home, we will carry out a heat treatment.
Heat treatment for fleas is actually the recommended method of eradication in case of pregnancy, presence of infants and even pets. There are also a number of health conditions and allergies that preclude the use of synthetic pyrethroids pesticides. And even though we normally back up our heat treatment in such case with an organic spray, the natural oil extracts are not strong enough as a standalone against a flea infestation.
Simply put, a flea infestation is not something you are likely to eradicate without the help of a professional who has all the specialist equipment to get it done. If one would ever want to try it alone, I would strongly recommend to rely on combining the use of a carpet steamer with residual spray. But because the commercial steamers and high street pest control products are restricted in terms of potency, you would have to be prepared for the long run.
Does heat treatment kill fleas?
When it comes to fleas, time is of the essence. A low-level infestation can cause great discomfort to your family and pets. And fleas breed so fast that a low-level infestation can easily turn into a nightmare, with the fleas encasing themselves deep into your home.
The most recommendable treatment to get rid of fleas in the house is heat treatment. This doesn’t mean that spraying is not going to work; in fact, it works most of the time. However, there are many key factors to note in regards to heat treatment:
- It is a one-day treatment.
- Bugs at any stage die instantly.
- Dry heat is used to warm the areas to treat.
- We use a thermal blaster powered by gas.
- We may spray as well for maximum impact.
At what temperature can heat kill fleas?
Fleas can’t survive temperatures above 56ºC, although at Inoculand Ltd. Pest Control we aim to raise the temperature up to 60ºC –70ºC. The heat treatment will create a hot airflow throughout the room, penetrating any fabrics. The heat treatment we use to kill fleas is very similar to the one applied to bed bugs.
However, the kitchen is the area where we feed our pets and where they often have their sleeping mat. So, fleas are also very likely to be found in the kitchen as well and it is not appropriate to heat the kitchen to high temperatures as this would likely damage the fridge and other domestic appliances.
So, carrying out a flea heat treatment involves more work; we need to heat treat the kitchen but by using a professional pest control steamer instead of the thermal propane blasters. For best results we need to steam behind the fridge and washing machine, and underneath the kitchen units.
So yes, heat does kill fleas and their eggs but the challenge of raising the temperature high enough at the back of the kitchen units requires extra thoroughness. We always back up our flea heat treatment with a spray that can be either organic or synthetic pesticides.
When it comes to fleas, and the client belonging to a group at risk, we use the organic product throughout the home. But for the void space below the kitchen units and at the back of the kitchen units where it would be safe, we would want to use pyrethroids whenever allowed as it is the most likely unique point of failure since the heat reach is limited in there.
How much does a full flea heat treatment cost?
In a nutshell, it is about three times as expensive as a chemical treatment. Even though it is by far the most powerful approach, the clients need to balance up their personal circumstances with the benefits of the full flea heat treatment.
Normally we would advise our clients to treat the full home: the reality is that you definitely need to heat treat every area your pets have access to. Or, if you have no pets, you would need to treat all the areas where you suffer from fleas. If, for example, the cat is never allowed into the bedrooms in the upper floor, we would only heat treat the ground floor level as part of the service (e.g., the communal areas and staircase).
But all of these decisions need to be considered and discussed with your heat treatment specialist. Heat treatment is a premium service and this is reflected in the extra time and dedication we put into it. As an indication of price, doing a chemical treatment in a three-bedroom flat would be £358 + VAT and doing a full heat treatment in the same property would be £1,140 + VAT.
What if I can’t afford a full flea heat treatment but also cannot use pesticides?
The most powerful heat treatment approach is the one that uses the heat blasters to heat up the full room and all the accompanying belongings. But we also use the professional pest control eradicator steamer that is more like a surgical tool that will treat the areas it goes over. The cost of a flea heat treatment for a three-bedroom flat using only the eradicator steamer would be £758 + VAT.
The eradicator steamer is already a tool we use for kitchens in our full heat treatment protocol as there are no other alternatives there, and the hard surfaces of the kitchen floor and units make it especially efficient. It can also be used on soft furnishings and carpet to good effect against fleas. It may not reach as deep as the full heat treatment to destroy all the eggs at once, but it will instantly kill all the larvae and adult fleas. When combined with the organic spray, it will get the job done, though not as quickly as the full heat treatment.
Continually, in the past, we did not have the heat treatment technology, or the range of organic alternatives we have access to nowadays. So, what we did back then is carry out a larger number of visits using organic compounds, or use pesticides and have susceptible individuals stay away from the property while we did the treatment.
We would often time our treatments with when the residents were taking some holidays or staying away with family. Some clients would ask us to use organic products in the bedrooms of their children and pesticides elsewhere. Or some would choose to use pesticides in the room they suffer the most, and organic spray elsewhere.