If fleas and ticks have been a problem for you, there are three areas you have to treat to be successful in treating fleas. One is treating your pets with an effective product; two is your house with a growth regulator; and the third is your yard. If you don’t have a fenced yard, it will be impossible to get total flea control because stray animals will be continually bringing in fleas and their eggs to your property and will expose your pets.
However, you can spray around your house as far as is reasonable, and if you have a fenced yard, you can do a good job eliminating most fleas. When asked about yard treatment, many folks indicate that their yards are treated by a professional pest control company and most of those companies use a product called bifenthrin, which is in the pyrethroid family. Pyrethroids are manmade versions of pyrethrins, which come from chrysanthemum flowers. Bifenthrin works by interfering with the nervous system of insects when it is touched or eaten by the insect and is considered more toxic to insects than mammals due to their smaller size and lower body temperature.
Due to factors such as sprinklers, mowing, and rain, lawn care companies may recommend multiple applications of the bifenthrin-containing product to be effective. In fact, I recommend to clients treating their own yard for fleas to treat once weekly for 4 weeks and then once a month to kill the young larval stages as they hatch because spraying will not kill the eggs.
Tremors and seizures are listed as potential adverse effects of pyrethrin toxicosis (bifenthrin is a pyrethrin).
Most of these products are safe for pets but the pets must be kept off the sprayed yard until it is dry. Pets exposed to bifenthrin can develop vomiting or diarrhea, twitching of the ears, paw flicking, increased drooling, hyperactivity, incoordination, diarrhea, depression, and dilated pupils. Seek veterinary care if some of these signs occur.
VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org.