parakeet safe flea treatment

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We just adopted 2 kittens 2.5 months ago and also have 2 parakeets. The kittens had a handful of fleas so we treated them with advantage II for two months now. I think the flea cycle is still happening. I haven’t used anything to treat the house. We have tile, laminate floors, with a throw rug here and there. I don’t like using pesticides, but we also can’t have fleas. :)

I’m afraid to spray with parakeets in the home. I flea comb several times a week and still get 2 – 4 fleas off each cat, but sometimes none. After the second treatment of advantage, it seems that there are even more fleas on the cats, lots of flea dirt in concentrated areas. I could look into another treatment if it sounds like the advantage isn’t working–do you think it is? What can you recommend for interrupting the cycle in my home, and would it be safe with parakeets? Thanks for reading :) Rae

First things first. In case you don’t know, Advantage is a pesticide. It uses an active called Imidacloprid which we sell in various forms used to control termites, ants and just about every pest that will target plants or the home. You can compare their labels to see what I’m talking about. In fact, the % of this active in Advantage is quite strong – even stronger than the labeled doses we use for trees and shrubs which is actually  mixed with water first. As I understand it, the cat formulation is applied straight, without diluting it, making it way stronger in comparison.

Advantage label:  http://www.bugspray.net/labels/advantage_2_cat_label.pdf

Dominion Label:  http://www.bugspray.net/labels/dominion_tree_shrub_label.pdf

I feel I should mention this because you state that you “don’t like using pesticides” yet clearly you’re using two and the two you are using are being applied in a way which promotes more exposure than is needed. Let me explain.

In general, it’s always best to resolve pest problems by cleaning, fixing entry ways in the home, etc. But as we all know, this usually doesn’t help once we get infested with something like fleas. So the next logical course of action is to use a pesticide and once you decide to go to that level, it’s best to start with something gentle with a low hazard associated with it’s use. And when it comes to fleas, no doubt the ONCE A YEAR FLEA GRANULES applied to carpeting and furniture is the way to go. It’s so gentle it won’t kill adult fleas; it works as our FLEA CONTROL ARTICLE explains; getting control of any flea problem means controlling flea eggs and this is exactly what this product will do.

First Defense: www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/dust/first-defense-20-ounce-jar

Flea Article: www.flea.net/flea-control.html

Now we also recommend setting out plenty of FLEA TRAPS to help the cause. These work by attracting hatched fleas and by getting flea pupae to hatch. No doubt you need several of these set out around your home to help break the flea cycle which undoubtedly breeding the hordes of fleas you keep finding.

Flea Trap:  http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/electric/flea-trap

Now it’s important to understand these two products pose no hazard to people, pets, birds, etc. and are what we consider to be amongst the safest type of products to use because they just don’t have the capability to hurt or injure mammals. So for anyone who doesn’t like using pesticides, these two products would be the way to go for sure which leads me back to what you state you are doing and why those methods are no doubt more “risky”.

So when it comes to pesticide use and risk, there are two important variables that determine how “hazardous” something might be. These variables are based on where the product is being applied and the known toxicity level of the product being used. Since people and pets can only get exposed to an active ingredient by touch, breathing or eating (dermal, inhalation or ingestion), “where” the treatment is done is important. No doubt something applied to the carpet which only that has a “low to no” volatility would be a lot less “riskier” compared to an aerosol that is spewed all over everything like a total release aerosol bomb. And something applied directly to people or pets, well, the would be considered even more hazardous in comparison since the material will be coming in direct contact with the animals you’re trying to protect.

So when you finally do decide to use a pesticide, it’s important to use something that presents a low hazard to the people and pets that will be in the treated area. And the Flea Granules for the carpet (which use nothing but a boron based active) are a great choice because they’re very safe for such environments. This is because the product is dispersed over a large area and when applied properly, really can’t get affect animals or people because they won’t be exposed to the treatment directly. But other methods of applying products, like spewing them in the air when using a fogger, is a lot more “hazardous” because the active ingredient is being put all over everything people and pets will be touching. For this reason we generally never recommend using them as explained here:

Flea Bombs: http://www.flea.net/need/flea-help.html

Now the next “riskier” type product to use is anything that’s applied directly to pets. These types of products have more risk because you are exposing the pet intentionally to a pesticide when it’s applied to their skin. Now is something like Advantage acutely toxic? In general no. Yes, some pets can have a bad reaction to it but in general, it’s safe enough to use on them. But it is important to understand this product is very much a pesticide and for me personally, something I have yet to use on any of my pets. Instead I have decided to use the less hazardous method of treating just my house. This preventive method stops fleas from ever getting established so I haven’t had a flea problem during my 30+ years of owning a pet.

And in the yard I treat as our article explains so we rarely ever see a flea out there even though we have squirrels, rats, mice, chipmunks, etc. all over many, no doubt, covered in fleas. But I know that by keeping the flea numbers down in the yard I won’t have any in the house. I also know this is best for my pet (less exposure to pesticides by treating mostly outside and only a little bit inside) so it’s the method I use to keep fleas and other pets in check.

Now the most risky option is to feed your pet pesticide pills. Again, I know these products have all undergone a lot of testing and I fully understand the actives aren’t life threatening in general. But there is no way eating pesticide can be “healthier” compared to not eating any so for me, this is something I don’t ever see me using on to my pet. Oral ingestion of something is clearly the most direct way of getting it inside a person or a pet and for me, this is something I’m just not comfortable doing to my dog.

Now I hope I haven’t confused or worried you because what you’re doing isn’t bad or extreme. It’s just that what you said isn’t consistent with what you want to do and whether you’re acting knowingly or by mistake is unclear which is why I felt I needed to respond. In the end, we all want a flea free environment for ourselves and our pets and we want to achieve this safely. With that being said, I’m 100% sure the use of First Defense and Flea Traps inside the home is the safest way to proceed and once you get the home under control, I’m certain you’ll be able to reduce if not eliminate the need of having to treat the pets which in the long run, will be better for them too.

For now I suggest you read through our article to better understand the flea cycle and learn more about the products I’m recommending. And I also suggest you keep the pets on Advantage as well as get the home treated with the First Defense. I fully expect the fleas to linger for a month or two as the flea pupae runs it’s cycle but eventually they’ll run out and when they do, you should be able to cut back on the Advantage and just worry about treating the home and yard to stay flea free.

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