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Battling ticks, fleas, and bed bugs

The Bug Doctor: Adam Villareal, owner and president of Insight Pest Solutions, entomology nerd, and family man. To help demystify the world of bugs, the Bug Doctor answers your questions during our weekly “Ask the Bug Dr.” blog feature. You can submit your bug and pest control inquiries for him on our Facebook page, by tweeting @insightpest, or commenting below.

Why do some insects such as bed bugs, ticks and fleas need a follow-up visit for retreatment?

Lone star tick

Bed bugs, ticks, and fleas can be very difficult to control, even for trained professionals. The biggest reason is that many insecticides are not effective at killing the eggs, so a second treatment is often necessary to kill the juveniles after those very eggs hatch.

One common product that we use on an initial service for such pest is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). This product is designed to affect the development and reproduction of insects. While these products can be successful at reducing the population of the pests, they do not kill bugs rapidly. We will often use these products as a supplement to other kinds of products which have a residual effect.

Oropsylla Montana flea. Photo credit: Kat Masback

We keep them from being able to reproduce and then a retreatment may be needed to insure that juveniles that are sterilized by the use of the IGR are then controlled by using another product.

Even worse, many populations of insects have developed resistance to common products making some treatments ineffective. Regular, thorough inspections and a variety of treatment methods are often needed. Those methods can include heat and steam treatments, fumigation, and cold treatments.

Bed bug. Photo credit: Alex Wild

For more on bed bugs, check out our complete guide. And here’s a more in-depth post about ticks.

Was this information helpful?  Please comment below and share your experiences. We would love to hear from you. For more expert pest control tips, check out our guide.

Do you have a question about bugs or pest control? We’d love to help. Let us know on our Facebook page, in the comment section below, or by tweeting @insightpest. You may see the Bug Doctor’s answer to your question in a future post.

Posted in: Ask the Bug Doctor

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