If you’ve understood that it’s high time to get rid of fleas at home or in your backyard, and have asked the question, “How to kill fleas?” to your friends, online and at stores, you’ll find yourself facing such a wide range of pest control products that you can become very confused. Extermination of each type of insects requires an individual approach, so let’s focus on the chemical compounds and organic matters which are deadly for these blood-suckers. You will find out which control methods are scientifically approved, whether a single flea bomb will kill pests, and which products are suitable against fleas in the yard. We'll tell you about 12 Best Flea Killers.
- What Kills Fleas: Methods Recommended by the Scientists
- A Comparative Chart of Best Flea Killers for Home
- Natural Flea Killers for Home and Yard
- Flea IGR Products
- Flea Bombs (Foggers)
- Flea traps
- Flea Treatment on Dogs
- Flea Treatment on Cats
You must have already encountered various treatments, but are all of them effective? How do insecticides, sprays, IGR products, natural killers, flea bombs (foggers) and traps actually work? Let’s find out which flea killer for home is better and which methods are approved by the scientists.
Insecticides and Flea IGR Products
The scientists believe that nowadays insecticides and IGRs are the most powerful treatment. They affect various life stages of insects, and when combined, they are able to destroy an entire colony at home or in the backyard. Since fleas, just like any other insects, possess a powerful chitinous shell (which is called an exoskeleton), in order to destroy them, you need to use the insecticides that can destroy this shell. The idea is to strike the nervous system of insects. Such combined action substances are:
- Pyrethrins are natural insecticides which work when in contact with the insect, and which affect the fleas’ nervous system.
- Pyrethroids (including permethrin) are synthetic pesticides, similar to the pyrethrins, but have a more powerful effect.
- Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid pesticide. It can directly affect the nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and convulsions.
The above mentioned insecticides only kill adults which is why they are often combined with IGR for controlling all of the parasites’ life stages. IGR stands for Insect Growth Regulator, and it is a special category of powerful insecticides which interrupt the fleas’ breeding cycle. According to the scientists from the University of Minnesota, sprays contain these ingredients most often. “IGRs are usually combined in aerosol sprays with another residual insecticide (e.g. permethrin).” The following chemicals maintain the control function: "Hydroprene, Kinoprene, Methoprene, and Methoprene" (according to the US Environmental Protection Agency), as well as Pyriproxyfen - also known in the USA as Nylar.
Products of this type are typically versatile and are effective against different types of insects. Fleas undergo a complete conversion cycle including the egg, larva, pupa, and adult insect stages. During each stage, an IGR acts the same, preventing the insects in any given stage from moving to the next one.
We will separately note that IGR does not instantly kill adult fleas, but makes them infertile, or ensures that they lay eggs that will never hatch. National Pesticide Information Center confirms this information and gives good advice to all those who decided to use the IGR in their house: "IGRs do not kill adult insects and using more of a product will not make it more effective. Always follow mixing instructions on the label."
Organic & Natural Flea Killers for Home
Some essential oils such as clove oil, peppermint oil, citrus oils and other oils can kill pests on contact and then repel them with their bitter odor. One of the most effective oils is clove oil, which contains the active ingredient eugenol. According to information from Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, eugenol “is a fast acting contact insecticide that is effective on a wide variety of household pests such as cockroaches, ants, dust mites, flies, wasps, spiders, crickets, and fleas.” We picked up two sprays for the treatment of the house and yard, containing eugenol - read about them below, in TOP-12 Best Flea Killers.
Many homeowners use organic products such as powdered Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth (~$14.14), which fleas cannot resist. And it's effective. Scientists suggest that DE is a great natural flea insecticide. Experts from Penn State Extension explain that DE "kills insects [fleas] through desiccation: they abrade the wax and oil on the insect's outer covering, leading to dehydration and death."
Flea Bomb Can Kill All Bugs Immediately: True or False?
False. Many people try to use bug bombs and foggers, but the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, NY specialists, warn: “Foggers and bug bombs are not effective against them.” This is so because the sprayed droplets of the synthetic fog cannot penetrate the hidden spots inhabited by the bugs.
The University of Kentucky scientists agree with this. They insist that the home insect foggers (“Bug Bombs”) are useless against crawling insects. When applied in this manner, very little insecticide actually penetrates into cracks, voids, and other hidden locations where cockroaches, ants, silverfish, and most other household pests congregate and spend most of their time. The main point is also that the ingredients within “bug bombs” also tend to be repellent, causing insects to scatter and move deeper into wall voids and other hard-to-reach areas, which means they are hiding a bit further!
Traps are considered to be an effective method for eliminating adult fleas indoors: They are attracted by the combination of baits and the adhesive agent won’t let them out. According to the scientists from the University of Florida, “Fleas will gravitate towards sources of warmth and light. Adult fleas are highly mobile and are attracted to the traps while foraging at night.”
As we have already mentioned, although these flea traps only kill adults species, they help to:
- assess the level of infestation in the house;
- evaluate the impact of insecticides on the flea population - a gradual decrease in the number of insects caught is a good sign;
- Protect you from flea bites, especially when you’re asleep.
|Type||Active Ingredients||How Does It Work?||Best Use|
Organic insect killer
|Kill on contact: the particles cut the insects' exoskeleton and cause dehydration.||Intersperse it in the insects' activity areas. Use it only indoors, in rooms with low humidity.|
|Natural Oil-Based Sprays||
Clove oil, peppermint oil, citrus oils
|Kill insects on contact and then repel them.||Use only for a house treatment not for pets. Apply indoor or outdoor on home surfaces such as pet bedding, pillows, blankets, upholstery, carpets and in your yard.|
|Insecticide Sprays With IGR||
Insecticides (Pyrethrins, Pyrethroids, Neonicotinoids) + IGR (methoprene)
|Combined action. Fast action: insecticides kill adult bugs on contact. Slow action: IGR prevent egg and larvae from developing into biting adults.||Apply indoors: at home, in the garage, kennel, on the carpets, rugs, wood flooring, tile, drapery, furniture, cushions, pet sleeping & bedding areas.|
|Slow action: Prevent egg and larvae from developing into biting adults.||Dissolve with water. Use indoors or/ and outdoors (read the labels of products).|
|Flea Foggers (Bombs)||
Raid, Hot Shot
|According to the scientists, bombs are not very effective because very little insecticide penetrates into cracks and hidden places.||If you want to try using it, be very careful! Follow the instructions so as to not cause any harm to yourself and to others.|
Glue surface and baits
|It lures bugs with the lamp light, heat, and smell of the bait and the adhesive agent won’t let them out.||It is only for indoors use, as it requires a power supply connection.|
Now that we have identified the most effective artificial chemicals and natural active ingredients for killing and repelling parasites, you will be able to take a closer look at 12 best flea killers: sprays, concentrated IGR, traps and foggers (bombs).
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray
Although this spray is a #1 Best Seller in the Cat Flea Sprays category, the manufacturer claims that its use is not limited to pets - furniture, carpet, flooring and countertops can be treated with it against both adults and their eggs. Vet’s Spray for ~$12.95 contains 2 active ingredients, which are peppermint oil and clove extract. Both of them are natural and safe for use in a house where there are pets and children.
First, you need to vacuum all the surfaces and spray the Vet’s Spray around without neglecting the areas under furniture, window sills, corners and so on. Some of the customers tried to use it for the carpet and here is what they recommend: "There is no need for the carpet to soak in the liquid, good results can be achieved by spraying lightly. Do not overdo it, and wet the carpet or other surface just slightly!" Read over 4000 customer reviews on Amazon.com to know more.
The spray has an intense smell. Most consumers like it, though they don’t advise sniffing it. Shut the room for the night, examine the floors and carpets in the morning, and vacuum clean any flea remains on the carpet. It is claimed that within a few hours (some said 12), the smell disappears completely.
Even if you have destroyed the fleas in the house, there is still a risk of bringing them back from their own yard. Keep in mind that they often live in outdoor kennels and the surrounding areas. To protect yourself and your home from re-infestation, you need to handle hazardous areas with special outdoor spray.
Price: ~$12.95 Check the current price
As you understand, natural products are less effective than powerful chemicals. So, we recommend that you first combine several organic flea killers for home, such as a spray and diatomaceous earth.
Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth
The main advantage is that this substance is so safe that it can even be used in schools, where there's a high concentration of children. It is recommended to apply the DE powder only indoors, in rooms with low humidity - therefore this method of killing fleas outside is useless. But indoors, it can be sprayed on all surfaces and objects - furniture, couch pet, floors, carpets, in any gaps and niches. This natural remedy is not only safe, but also has a good price: 4 lb will cost only ~$14.47 Check the current price
NB: Although DE is safe for people, if used improperly, the fine particles can cause eye and respiratory irritation. Therefore, we recommend using a protective mask, glasses and a convenient hand-duster like the popular Pest Pistol (R) Mini Duster for ~$10.95.
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray
A large 32 oz of this spray is ~$17.93, and this volume is enough for treatment of an area up to 4500 sq ft. It is called natural because it has active natural components - Eugenol - Clove Oil Extract (1.40%) and Peppermint Oil (0.60%), but the composition also has the chemical, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (3.45%). Note that although the active ingredients in a spray are the same as in the previous spray, their concentration is two times bigger - specifically for use in harsh outdoor environments! Street spray similarly promises to kill the eggs and adult fleas and ticks and even scares away mosquitoes.
The manufacturer says that the spray can be freely used in the streets, and on and around pets (from 12 weeks old). And it's very simple to do: connect the bottle to a garden hose, turn on the water and evenly spray on the area of the yard and kennel, including lawns and asphalt tracks. Do not be greedy, and do not create puddles - Be moderate watering! The treatment is best carried out in dry weather, so that the product will have time to dry. Repeat throughout the year, when the weather allows it.
Users report that the product can completely clean the yard of fleas in one application - but even in this case, there's no harm to continue using it as a preventive measure. It would be particularly useful when you have a lot of pets at home that spend time on the street and you do not want to get fleas in your house again after their treatment.
Price: ~$17.93 Check the current price
These products are presented on the market as concentrated sprays and insecticides that must be first dissolved and then sprayed. Here are the best 4 products:
Raid Flea Killer Plus, Carpet & Room Spray
This ~$24.24 (per 2 bottles) Raid Spray is aimed at indoor treatment of carpets, upholstery and pets’ bedding. The aerosol has a wide spraying angle, allowing reach to even the least accessible places.
The spray has a dual action and controls insects on all life stages. It contains an IGR (0,015% methoprene) which doesn’t let the eggs hatch into adult biters. However, IGR acts slowly which is why it is normally combined with fast-acting insecticides that kill adults and larvae.
The manufacturer promises that the product will protect you from fleas for four months. It seems like it’s true. Amazon.com users give this spray a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5! Almost all the customers who bought it were satisfied with its action. It looks like one bottle will cover one room. You need to abundantly spray all contaminated surfaces and carpets, shut the door and leave the room. Some people complain of the spray’s strong smell but add that this inconvenience is a trifle in comparison with the results it yields. You may read all customer reviews on Amazon.com to know more.
Price: ~$24.24 (2-pack) Check the current price
Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus Premise Spray 16 oz
The following spray, Zoecon Precor, acts similarly to Raid, but is more concentrated and powerful. It promises to relieve you from fleas for seven months.
This ~$24.95 combined action spray has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.com. It kills fleas, ticks, ants, cockroaches when it comes in contact with them (as it contains Permethrin and Phenothrin). It also inhibits survivors’ breeding and thus serves as an IGR (Methoprene is the component responsible for this). The concentration of its active ingredients is higher than that of other sprays with IGR. For example, it contains 0.085% methoprene, which is several times more than Raid has. We consider this dual action spray to be the most powerful flea treatment for carpet. So after you have completely eliminated the insects, you will be fully protected against them for 7 full months, as the manufacturer claims.
It can be applied at homes, in garages, kennels, on carpets, rugs, wood flooring, tile, drapery, furniture, cushions, pet sleeping & bedding areas, which is literally everywhere indoors. The users claim that before applying the spray, it is necessary to move the furniture in the room, vacuum clean everything, spray the surface and leave it to dry. It’s better to remove pets and children from the room, and an exterminator should wear a protective mask! You may need to spray for a second time within a few days, and do not forget to vacuum clean the room every two days after the treatment.
One Amazon.com user gave everyone a simple but ingenious piece of advice: "If you, like me, own an expensive and beloved carpet, and you are afraid that the greasy texture of the spray will spoil it, spray it on the other side. Done!" Read over 600 customer reviews to find more helpful tips regarding the use of Precor spray.
Price: ~$24.95 Check the current price
The same manufacturer sells concentrated IGR as a dissolvable insecticide, Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator 1oz bottle Flea Control. The contents of this small bottle, which costs only ~$10.45, is to be dissolved in a gallon of water - which will be enough for indoor treatment of 1500 sq. ft. Methoprene (1,2%), which is an active component, is said to remove any flea eggs and larvae and repels the insects for 7 months. Use it on carpets, upholstered furniture, and pet sleeping areas - if you believe that using a handmade insecticide is more reliable than using a ready-to-apply one.
This is another liquid concentrate of a larger volume (4oz.), it costs ~$15.81 and it seems to be better value for money than the previous IGR bottle - as this volume will be enough for treating 6,000 sq. ft. The active ingredient is IGR (pyriproxyfen).
Its important advantage is the fact that this IG Regulator can be used both indoors and outdoors on furniture, animal quarters, carpets, kennels, poultry houses, etc. to fight against fleas, roaches, flies, mosquitoes, gnats, crickets, litter beetles, and ants. Here’s an important note from the manufacturer: "IG Regulator does not work on adult fleas and flea pupae that already exist," it works only on the eggs, preventing their transformation in the larvae and adults. Ultimately, this should lead to the elimination of the entire population.
How do the users rate this product? There are still few reviews, a little over a hundred, but the overall rating of the insecticide has already reached 4.6 stars out of 5, which is over 90% of customer satisfaction! Judging by the reviews, the IGR copes well with the elimination of fleas on its own, but some use it combined with other agents. This insecticide shows excellent results, including complete elimination of pests within a week, as per one of the users. Don’t hope that there is a genie in this bottle and that it will work the same in your case. Perhaps, your situation will require a month or even more. Be persistent.
Price: ~$15.81Check the current price
Flea foggers (a.k.a. bombs) seem a powerful indoor flea control product. It releases some toxic mist that kills insects on contact. But many scientists doubt the high effectiveness of bug bombs. So, we recommend using it together with IGR sprays to kill insects in hard-to-reach-places. We don’t want to confuse you when it comes to picking a fogger, That's why we’ve picked two popular products (the first one is a best seller in the Pest Control Foggers category):
Hot Shot 20177 No-Mess! Fogger, 3-Count
The set of 3 foggers (bombs) costs only ~$9.97 and all of them are aimed at killing the insects on contact with the help of Pyrethrins. Reviews regarding the extermination of the fleas are contradictory, though experienced users claim that this fogger works if you “help it” and use it indoors alongside the safe Diatomaceous Earth product. As for the other comments, the product has either “worked like a charm” or even managed to eliminate spiders and other insects. If your house is over 800 sq. ft., you should use at least 2 Hot Shot Foggers simultaneously in different rooms. Those who have neglected safety rules and never left the house after the treatment claim that the fog doesn’t have an intense odor but functions like tear gas instead. Be careful!
Some of the Hot Shot Fogger consumers give some interesting and useful advice, such as: “Try this thing out when you buy a new house, to check out the level of flea infestation. Before that, of course, ask permission from the previous owners of the house. If there are too many dead insects, is the house really worth buying?" Find more helpful tips on Amazon.com.
Price:~$9.97 Check the current price
Raid Flea Fogger, 3-Pack
Unlike other flea bombs, Raid Fogger for ~$24.25 contains not only fast-acting insecticides, but also IGR (methoprene). This component combination promises to kill adults on contact and stop egg development within four months. Sounds good, but is it really so? This fogger acts just like others. The experts claim that this is useless as the poisonous fog drops won’t reach the insects’ inaccessible shelters and kill them there.
Just like with Hot Shot, the feedback is contradictory. For some, this control method is effective and they recommend bombing the house for a few days in a row using several bombs. Other users note that after a course of this treatment, the parasites not only stay intact, but even become more aggressive. The decision is up to you: read all customer reviews on Amazon.com to decide whether it is worth using.
Price: ~$24.25 (3-pack) Check the current price
If you want to try using it, be very careful! It is the most dangerous pest control product. You should carefully follow the instructions so as to not cause any harm to yourself and your loved ones. We will briefly define the most important points regarding the use of the fogger (bomb) (for more details refer to the product instructions):
- Take all food, utensils, toothbrushes, dishes, appliances (i.e. anything that can be damaged) out of the treatment area. Doing this will make it easier to remove chemicals from everything. Also, take out any flowers, pets, aquariums (or at least cover them and tuck in the fabric tightly). Remove people from the room for at least 8 hours.
- Cover the wooden countertops and any furniture without upholstery covers with tarpaulins so that the insecticide doesn’t damage it.
- Open all the doors and drawers, which don’t contain anything listed in the first point. In that way, the substance will be able to cover a larger area. Close the windows.
- Turn off all the lights, all the heaters and air conditioners.
- Determine the best location for the fogger. It is better to put it in the central room, from where fog can easily spread to all the neighboring rooms.
You can activate the flea bomb only after fulfilling these steps. Leave the room for at least 8 hours. Once you’re back at home, clean up and vacuum clean everything, wipe away the dust and chemical residues, and get rid of dead insects.
All of the flea traps are nearly identical, so we picked two by famous manufacturers: Victor and Aspectek.
Victor M230 Ultimate Flea Trap
This trap for ~$15.47 is only for indoors use, as it requires a power supply connection. The Victor Trap lures insects with the lamp light, heat, and smell of the bait, as well as with its color at a distance of up to 30 feet. The manufacturer claims that it is even able to entice upholstery fleas, so they were following the light (or “the temple” as the buyers call it) like little zombies.
The Victor Flea Trap is supplied with two adhesive discs which firmly reliably retain the insects inside. They need to be replaced every 2-4 weeks for continuous protection against the bloodsuckers. The trap is safe, and can be used even near pets and children.
Customers give different ratings to the product (the overall rating is 3.3 stars out of 5), and some quite polar opinions can be found. That’s why you should read nearly 4000 customer reviews to decide for yourself whether it is worth buying.
Price: ~$15.47 Check the current price
Aspectek Sticky Dome Flea Trap + 2 Glue Discs
This trap has three times fewer reviews than the previous one, but its overall rating is slightly higher than that of Victor, and is 4 stars out of 5. It costs ~$23.99 (2-pack), and is also supplied with two removable adhesive discs. Replaceable wheels and lamps are also available.
The idea of Aspectek Flea Trap operation is the same as that of the previous item - it attracts fleas with light, heat, odor, and the color of the device and is plugged into a wall outlet (the length of the cord is 6 feet).
Cat owners are advised to monitor their pets: There were cases of kittens starting to play with the trap and eventually sticking to the adhesive disk with their fur, which is very frustrating! But to those who didn’t face this problem, the trap helped reduce the flea population.
Price: ~$23.99 (2-pack) Check the current price
These two traps are arch enemies and their effect is almost identical, so we reserve the right to get acquainted with both of them and choose the one that seems more efficient and reliable. Unfortunately, a trap does not completely eliminate the fleas indoors – instead, it lets you determine and remove the hotbed of the disasters, kill many adult fleas, and then "finish off" the remaining ones with a vacuum, chemicals, and other means.
What Is the Best Flea Killer?
Today, the market offers a wide range of products. What should you choose: a spray, a fogger, or a trap? We have decided to ask scientists for advice. Here’s what Mike Potter, Extension Entomologist in University of Kentucky College of Agriculture says:
“Most homeowners will find aerosol formulations easier to apply than liquids. Moreover, aerosol products which can be dispensed by hand - and thus directed under and behind beds, furniture, etc. - tend to be more effective than “foggers” or “bug bombs” which are indiscriminately set off in the center of a room. It is essential that the application is thorough and includes all likely areas of flea development. Carpets, throw rugs, under and behind beds and furniture, and beneath cushions on which pets sleep, should all be treated. Pay particular attention to the areas where pets spend time or sleep, as these will be the areas where most flea eggs, larvae and pupae will be concentrated. For example, if the family cat sleeps within a closet, or hides under the bed, these areas must be treated or the problem will continue. Flea traps can be helpful but will not eliminate a flea infestation unless used in combination with other methods.”
Mind that just like bed bugs, fleas mutate and certain types of them acquire the ability to resist insecticides. This is particularly evident in the research of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which states that "Ctenocephalides felis [cat flea] resistance has been reported to: carbamates, organophosphates, pyrethroids, pyrethrins, organochlorines, and fipronil - more categories than any other flea species." The UC IPM Program specialists add: “Products for eliminating adult fleas outdoors are somewhat limited because many field populations of cat fleas are resistant to pyrethroids such as permethrin.”
We can’t recommend to you a single flea treatment product for sure. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. The chart below distinguishes the best products for outdoor and indoor use.
12 Best Flea Treatment Products for Indoors and Outdoors
|Product||Type||Active Ingredients||Where and How to Use||Price|
Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth
|Organic Killer||100% Diatomaceous Earth||Only indoors: carpet, floor, cracks, furniture. Don't treat pet bedding as the animals can lick off diatomaceous earth.||
~$14.14 (4 lb)
Pest Pistol (R) Mini Duster
|Powder Duster||–||Fill the duster with DE and spray it in cracks, on furniture and surfaces.|
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray
|Natural Spray||Peppermint oil and clove extract||Spray it Indoors (pet bedding, pillows, blankets, upholstery, carpets), but you may use it outdoors too.|
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray
|Spray it outdoors: on the area of the yard and kennel, including lawns and asphalt tracks.|
Raid Flea Killer Plus, Carpet & Room Spray
|Chemical IGR Spray||Pyrethrins, tetramethrin, Methoprene (IGR)||Indoors, spray abundantly over any contaminated surfaces, furniture and carpets.|
Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus Premise Spray
|Permethrin, Phenothrin, Methoprene (IGR)|
Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator 1 oz bottle
||Dissolve with water and apply everywhere you need, but only indoors.|
I.G. Regulator, 4oz
|Pyriproxyfen||Dissolve with water and apply everywhere you need, both indoors & outdoors.|
Hot Shot 20177 No-Mess! Fogger
|Flea Fogger (Bomb)||Pyrethrins||According to the scientists, bombs are not very effective because very little insecticide penetrates into cracks and hidden places.||
|Pyrethrins, Methoprene (IGR)||
Victor M230 Ultimate Trap
|Flea Trap||Glue surface and baits||Only for indoors use. Plug it in at night (insects are attracted to the traps while foraging at night).|
Aspectek Sticky Dome Trap
What Is The Best Flea Treatment?
Let’s summarize our review and sum up which products are best for treating various indoor and outdoor spaces?
- The best flea treatment for home is natural oil-based sprays and chemical IGR sprays and concentrates. Use DE (Diatomaceous Earth) to kill parasites in the hardest to reach corners and cracks in the floor and under the furniture. Set some flea traps to monitor survivors.
- To treat pet bedding, use natural or chemical sprays with IGR. By no means can you use diatomaceous earth as the pets can accidentally lick it.
- The best flea treatment for carpet is diatomaceous earth or chemical spray. Naturally, remember to vacuum clean your carpets frequently.
- For outdoor treatment, use natural sprays and powerful IGR products in case the blood-suckers happen to have immense offspring.
- For cat treatment, you’d better combine systemic (oral products based on IGR) and spot-on treatments (drops). Shampoos, combs, dusts and collars are also effective. Remember that permethrin-based products should never be used on cats. Find more information in our guide How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats Fast.
- For dog treatment, systemic products, such as IGR tablets, are more preferable. The thing is that the dogs have contact with water more often than cats do, and thus the effectiveness of topical treatments may be reduced. Depending on the situation, use drops, shampoos, sprays, dusts and combs. Read more in our review of the 8 best dog flea control products.
We advise you to combine multiple products and to keep the house clean and vacuum the floors more often. If you want to know more, read our guide about how to get rid of fleas. We hope that you’ll have enough patience when striving for a flea-free house!