Flea Control on Uncarpeted Surfaces

Last updatedLast updated: July 13, 2022
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Controlling an indoor flea infestation is made even more difficult when the fleas invade homes with little or no carpets.  Hardwood floors, tile flooring and other such surfaces pose a tougher fight against indoor fleas than carpeted areas.
When fleas are known to be in a room that is carpeted, we know where the fleas can be and (usually) where the majority of the pests spend most of their time.  There are a few characteristics of the flea to consider to support this:

  • Adult fleas prefer to spend 100% of their time on a host animal, a warm-blooded nesting animal.  Rugs and carpets mimic the feel of an animal’s fur, making a flea feel quite at home in such types of floor coverings.  A flea’s body is designed for hitching a ride (by incredible jumping power in its legs) and for moving through hair and fur.  Even its small body hairs allow for easy forward movement but little to no backwards movement.  This helps the flea to stay on its host, making it hard for it to simply fall off of the host.
  • Flea larvae tend to stay in dark, dusty areas where they feed on adult droppings and debris.  They also use this debris to pupate.  Flea larvae respond to vibrations.  This response makes them instinctively wrap their slender bodies around animal hair as the animal runs, moves rapidly or (most important) scratches itself.  Vacuuming your carpet is the first and most important step in flea prevention and flea control but the vibrations of your vacuum cleaner sends a signal to the flea larvae to hold on for dear life.

The characteristics listed above show why it is so easy to concentrate on carpeted areas in a home when facing an indoor flea infestation.  But how does this help in non-carpeted homes?  By making us focus on possible sources of fleas, rather than becoming frustrated.  Frustration leads to spending money on the wrong products and overloading a home with too many chemicals.  If we focus on selected areas and choose the correct products for the job, time and money will be saved and the home will not be exposed to uncalled for amounts of insecticides that never should have been introduced.  There are insecticides that are safe and reliable when used correctly.
When faced with an indoor flea problem on tile or wood floors, there are two important points to consider.  The first is which pest control product (or combination of products) to use.  The next consideration is where to use such products.
Fleas do not care for slick surfaces.  The prefer to stay in familiar environments.  As shown earlier, the fleas stay on their animal hosts as much of the time as possible.  Then why are they in the uncarpeted living room?  The answer has to be that the fleas either dropped off of a human or animal as it traveled through the room or that there are objects in the room that can support and hide fleas in one or more stages of their development.  We can list a few possible areas that would support the unwanted fleas.  It is up to you to compare these examples with your own home, giving you an edge on inspection and treatment of your home.
Fleas did not just appear in your home.  Something or someone introduced them into your home.  Most people are quick to blame the dog or cat, which is often the case.  But what about those who do not own a pet?
People are great movers of fleas.  When we work in our lawn or garden, go for long walks, jog around the neighborhood or engage in outdoor sports such as hunting, fishing, golfing, etc., we are doing so in areas where fleas can come into contact with us.  When a flea feels the vibrations set up by your actions, its reaction is to jump.  As the flea jumps it is expecting to come into contact with a warm blooded animal.  The more hungry a flea becomes, the faster and higher it will jump.  When these hungry fleas land on people, the people rarely feel the insect or know of its presence.   Children are even more apt to carry fleas into homes because of their particular habits.  A child (as well as an athlete) is more likely to be found laying on the ground instead of just moving across an area.  While laying on the ground, the body heat and breath are added attractants for fleas.  And, of course, while laying on the ground a person is more likely to pick up hitchhiking fleas.
Rodents are another possible carrier.  Rats and mice can easily enter almost any building they desire and when they do, they bring their friends with them: fleas and ticks.
To stop the influx of fleas, try to stop the exterior sources.  Treat all dogs and cats with approved products.  Eliminate fleas outside on your property that can be carried indoors.

The only areas in a home where fleas survive (that is, where they can breed and develop from one immature stage to another) are cracks and crevices such as floor and wall junctures, behind baseboards or even cracks or seams in the floors, in and under furniture and in places frequented by pets – especially cats.
Before treating your home a thorough inspection and cleaning must be done or your flea control program will probably fail, wasting your time and money.
Start by inspecting areas you might normally ignore during normal housecleaning: underneath and behind appliances; under beds; underneath and between cushions on couches and chairs; the bottom sides (or down side) of throw rugs, area rugs, welcome mats; high areas where cats can go – even if you have never seen your cat in that area!  Many flea and tick control jobs have failed because the pet owner refused to even consider that their cat (for instance) would ever climb drapes, lounge on top of the refrigerator and bookcase, or even jump from the couch to another object.

After a thorough cleaning it is time to choose and use something to stop the indoor flea problem.  If your home has a great deal of area rugs on top of the hard surfaces, Flea Stoppers is a great tool to use.  Flea Stoppers kills eggs and larvae for a full year (guaranteed by the manufacturer!) – but is not for use on hard surfaces.
Flea traps can be used to capture adult fleas and also to monitor certain areas of the home.  The professional Flea Trap generates a precise temperature that mimics that body temperature of a cat, the preferred host of fleas.  With its long cord, this trap can be used in any area of the home to catch and kill adult fleas.
If you have made the decision to spray your home for fleas there are some factors to consider before purchasing such a product.  First, make sure that the product you choose is labeled for indoor flea use.  Many products are labeled for outdoor flea use; many products are labeled for killing many indoor bugs.  An indoor flea label is special; it gives you the clear signal that the product is water-safe for almost any fabric in your home and once it has been applied correctly and been allowed to dry the product is perfectly safe for people and pets in the home.
You should also choose a product that combines an IGR or can be tank mixed with an IGR.  An IGR (insect growth regulator) is more important than its companion insecticide when dealing with indoor fleas.  While insecticides kill adult fleas as they emerge (adult fleas make up 2% or less of the total flea population in your home), an IGR such as Archer will prevent all the eggs and larvae from maturing into adult fleas, thus breaking the cycle of fleas indoors.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some options that will help you select a product for your home.  If you own a sprayer and already do your own pest control, a good combination for you to use in flea control is Suspend SC and Archer.  Suspend is an odorless product that is great for killing fleasantsroachesspiders and other pests in and around the home.  Archer is an IGR that contains Nylar, a material that prevents immature fleas and roaches from developing properly.  When applied correctly, Archer will continue to work in your home (on floors, furniture, etc.) for three to four months, sometimes longer.
For a home that has about 1,500 square feet of living space, mix 1.5 ounces of Suspend SC and 1 or 2 ounces of Archer to one gallon of water.  This gallon of odorless solution is to be used indoors.  Do not save the solution for a later date; use the all that you mix, the day you mix.  For severe or stubborn flea infestations, repeat your application at two week intervals.
If you do not own a sprayer and do not choose to purchase one, you do have another option: Precor 2000.  This is a professional aerosol that works great on fleas, although it is not labeled for other household pests as are general purpose products such as Suspend SCDemon WPDemand CS and others.  Precor 2000 contains both the insecticide needed to kill adult fleas and an IGR (PrecorMethoprene) needed to treat indoors for fleas.  Many people prefer to use this professional aerosol for fleas on uncarpeted floors because of the products droplet size.  The tiny droplets can easily penetrate any tiny crack or crevice where flea eggs roll into or where smaller flea larvae try to hide.
You can expect to see fleas hatching for a while, even after treating with professional grade pest control products.  The reason for this is simple: insecticides (such as Suspend SC) and insect growth regulators (such as ArcherNylar) are great for adult fleas and flea larvae but they cannot penetrate the water-proof casings of the flea that is in the pupae stage.  Fleas in this dormant stage must fully develop and hatch before they can be killed.  Patience is the key to complete elimination and prevention of indoor fleas on hard, tiled, wood floors.

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