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 just for fleas. And then we'll tell you about Nine Best Flea Killers:
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Five Natural Flea Sprays & Insect Growth Regulators
- Flea Bomb (Fogger)
- Two Best Flea traps
- Dog Flea Control
- Cat Flea Control
What Kills Fleas: Insecticides and Natural Flea Killers
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 fleas. 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 more powerful effect.
Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid pesticide. It can directly affect the nervous system of insects, causing paralysis and convulsions.
Some essential oils such as clove oil, peppermint oil, citrus oils and other oils can kill fleas 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.
Many homeowners use organic products such as powdered Safer Brand Diatomaceous Earth, which fleas can not 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".
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 ~$9.47 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 ~$10.43.
Now that we have identified the most effective artificial chemicals and natural products for killing and repelling fleas, you will be able to take a closer look at what these items contain. This review has been prepared for those who have just begun flea extermination and have not yet decided on their choice of product. Thus, we’ll consider the best means to control fleas, such as sprays, concentrated IGR, trap, flea foggers (bombs).
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 adult fleas 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!" Find more helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com.
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.
Price: ~$12.95 Check the current price
Even if you have destroyed the fleas in the house, you still remain a risk of bringing them back from their own yard. Keep in mind that fleas 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 street flea spray.
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 has also 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 2 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 time to dry . Repeated 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
The Best Flea IGR Products: Spray and Concentrated Insecticides
IGR stands for Insect Growth Regulator, and it is a special category of powerful insecticides which interrupt fleas’ breeding cycle. 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 complete conversion cycle including the egg, larva, pupa, 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."
The IGRs are presented on the market as concentrated sprays and insecticides that must be first dissolved and then sprayed. Here are the best three products:
Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus Premise Spray 16 oz
This combined action spray has a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.com, which is substantially higher than that of its rivals. The spray kills fleas, ticks, ants, cockroaches when comes in contact with them (as it contains Permethrin and Phenothrin) and inhibits survivors’ breeding and thus serves as an IGR (Methoprene is the component responsible for this).
Precor 2000 Spray only costs ~$15.63 and, according to the manufacturer, it can be applied at homes, in the garages, kennels, on the 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 2 days after the treatment. After you have completely eliminated the insects, you will be fully protected against them for 7 full months, as the manufacturer claims.
One Amazon.com, a 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.
The same manufacturer sells concentrated IGR as a dissolvable insecticide, Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator 1 oz bottle Flea Control. The contents of this small bottle, which costs only ~$6.98, is to be dissolved in a gallon of water - which will be enough for indoor treatment of 1500 sq. ft. Methoprene IGR, which is an active component, is said to remove any flea eggs and larvae and repel 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.
I.G. Regulator, 4 oz For Indoor/Outdoor use
This is another liquid concentrate of a larger volume (4 oz.), it costs ~$16.81 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.
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 flea eggs, preventing their transformation in the larvae and adult fleas. Ultimately, this should lead to the elimination of the entire population of fleas.
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 4.5 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 fleas 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: ~$17.71 Check the current price
Flea foggers (a.k.a. flea bombs) seem a powerful indoor flea control product. It releases some toxic mist that kills insects on contact. But many scientists doubt the effectiveness of bug bombs.
A Single Bug Bomb Can Kill All Bugs Immediately: True or 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 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!
But 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 (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 the 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 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 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 fleas.
We don’t want to confuse you when it comes to picking a fogger, That's why we’ve picked one item (which is a best seller in the Pest Control Foggers category):
Hot Shot 20177 No-Mess! Fogger, 3-Count
The set of 3 foggers costs only ~$9.97 and all of them are aimed at killing the insects on contact with the help of toxic for flea pyrethroids. 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 a 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 flea infestation. Before that, of course, ask permission from the previous owners of the house. If there are too many dead fleas, is the house really worth buying?" Find more helpful tips on Amazon.com.
Flea traps are considered to be an effective method for eliminating adult fleas indoors: They are attracted by the pleasant smell of bait and the adhesive agent won’t let them out. As we have already mentioned, although these flea traps only kill adults species, they help to:
- assess the level of flea 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.
2 similar flea traps: Victor and Aspectek could be the best.
Victor M230 Ultimate Flea Trap
This trap for ~$16.99 is only for indoors use, as it requires a power supply connection. Victor Flea Trap lures fleas 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.
Victor Flea Trap is #1 Best Seller among flea traps in Pest Control Traps category, and 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 rating 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 over 3600 customer reviews to decide for yourself whether it is worth buying.
Aspectek Sticky Dome Flea Trap + 2 Glue Discs
This trap has 5 times fewer reviews than the previous one, but its overall rating is slightly higher than that of Victor, and is 3.9 stars out of 5. It costs ~$12.99, and is also supplied with 2 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 of provided stronger means were used simultaneously. Although certain people are upset due to the fact that fleas have not diminished.
These two traps are archenemies 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 eliminate the fleas indoors completely - 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."
We can’t recommend you a single flea treatment product for sure. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. That is why we advise you to combine multiple products and to keep the house clean and vacuum the floors more often when getting rid of fleas. If you want to know more flea control methods, 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!
Flea Sprays, Traps and IGR Products Comparison Chart