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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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spraying for fleas bad experience

I am so upset at the service I received this morning from a company I hired to spray my yard for fleas! Down here in Florida they can be a real problem because we don't get long freezes, and this winter has been warmer than average. The people I bought my house from had two outdoor dogs and the flea problem is bad. So I finally contracted with a company to spray, on the advice of my vet. The guy came and spent no more than five minutes on the front and back yard, and when he left I actually called the company and asked if he was coming back to finish the job because I thought he left halfway through. It finally dawned on me that he was not coming back. To make matters worse, his truck leaked and he left 20 feet of green chemical sludge on the grass in front of my fence, and green liquid in the gutter.

He's now back to do the job again and clean up, but I'm worried that chemical sludge is going to be in the ground forever in front of my house. The stuff they use is supposed to be safe for pets as a spray on the yard, not in sludgy piles on the grass!!!

I'm so worried about my dogs now, especially my new puppy Jasmine. Should I be watching for anything particular in terms of reactions in them?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 02:49 PM
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If I were you, I'd keep her completely off that grass until you've had a couple of heavy rains.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kalico View Post
I am so upset at the service I received this morning from a company I hired to spray my yard for fleas! Down here in Florida they can be a real problem because we don't get long freezes, and this winter has been warmer than average. The people I bought my house from had two outdoor dogs and the flea problem is bad. So I finally contracted with a company to spray, on the advice of my vet. The guy came and spent no more than five minutes on the front and back yard, and when he left I actually called the company and asked if he was coming back to finish the job because I thought he left halfway through. It finally dawned on me that he was not coming back. To make matters worse, his truck leaked and he left 20 feet of green chemical sludge on the grass in front of my fence, and green liquid in the gutter.

He's now back to do the job again and clean up, but I'm worried that chemical sludge is going to be in the ground forever in front of my house. The stuff they use is supposed to be safe for pets as a spray on the yard, not in sludgy piles on the grass!!!

I'm so worried about my dogs now, especially my new puppy Jasmine. Should I be watching for anything particular in terms of reactions in them?
I agree with Karen, but if this had happened to me, I'd look into possibilities for restitution from the company.

I'm going to let my imagination run wild here, and if I hav some inadvertently good idea, feel free to use it. If I have a bad one (very possible), somebody please point that out!

TAKE PHOTOS - lots - from every angle! to show the sludge, and, as best you can to document the size and shape of the areas to have been sprayed.

Maybe you could borrow a surveyor's or builder's long measuring tape, and include that in the photos, to help show size. I'd make a sketch, approximately to scale, and write the measurements on the sketch. Also, make notes about every detail you can remember, just as soon as you can, and then put the date and time on the sketch and on your notes. And you can take pictures of your documentation, too, or scan it, or photocopy it, or something. I like photos, myself.

I gather the company is re-spraying, besides cleaning up the sludge; is that right? I hope so. I'm thinking maybe the reason the first spraying only took five minutes (per area?) because the SPRAY stuff (the sludge) all leaked out of the truck, and he ran out!

Do make sure you don't get more sludge on this second round.

Could you find out the name of the stuff he's using for the spray? And post it, please. I'm not offering to research it, but maybe somebody here has a good knowledge of pesticides.

There's a start with my ideas. And find out how long you have to keep your dog(s) OUT of the area. As Karen said, I'd think, at least not till after you've had a couple of heavy rains.

Yet I wouldn't guarantee that a couple of heavy rains would really make the sludged-up area any safer - probably depends on what kind of pesticide it is.

I'd inquire if there's some municipal organization that deals with hazardous waste. If there's a way to get an inspection, I'd go for that, too.

I'm swinging my net as widely as I can, and could be writing some nonsense here (as I often do on PURPOSE, but I'm not doing that on this topic!).

But let's see what others have to say. Anybody?

I'm quite paranoid, as you can see, about what I expose my dogs to.

Maybe your vet would have comments, too, and maybe could help you identify what was in the spray.

I hope you'll report back, and keep us posted. Wishing you the best of luck with this most unfortunate occurrence, and with getting the problem fixed.

By the way, if I get into some situation like this, I keep all my communications friendly - at least, completely civil - but I cannot be BUDGED from my position without very good reason. There comes a time when repeating what you want, is the useful thing to do - don't take No for an answer without obvious very good reason.

Looking for your next report.

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 12:20:02 (PST)

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Last edited by CarolWCamelo; 02-21-2012 at 03:29 PM. Reason: fix typos
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Carol, thanks! I completely agree with you on all points. I took photos of the sludge and leaked chemicals before they came back to respray, from several angles and with background stuff for scale (one was right in front of my gate). My bf supervised the respray because I was too upset to deal with the guy again, and I have a feeling part of the reason for his original [email protected] job was because I am a girl. I was civil but firm on the phone - I HATE confrontation and conflict, so even calling them back was quite stressful.

The sludged area is fortunately outside of my fenced-in area, but people who walk their dogs by my house will certainly encounter it. The man cleaned it up and used my hose to wash it all down. There is still some in the neighbor's front yard because the hose wouldn't reach that far, and he just left it! I really can't believe this company. The neighbors are two young guys who will never even notice but still I feel responsible and am not happy that it's still there.

We don't get much rain here but I can hose the yard down. The stuff is supposed to be okay once it's dried, but like you I worry, especially since parts of the yard have now been sprayed twice.

I had contracted with this company to do the inside of my house as well but have since canceled that service!! I would have to leave the house and there is no way I'd let this company in my house unsupervised....
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolWCamelo View Post
I'm quite paranoid, as you can see, about what I expose my dogs to.
I agree... dogs, kids, cats and most of all, horses (since they EAT the grass in quantities) That's why we count crab grass as a positive. We don't fertilize (except for spreading well composted manure) and we don't use herbicides or pesticides. Therefore, if it's green and covers the ground, we like it. No one ill ever accuse us of having a lawn like a golf course, but we have a meadow of crocuses in the spring, followed by violets, then other small wild flowers later in the summer!

I know you have to do something about the fleas in the south though, so I'm not sure what the answer is for people there. Fleas aren't good for dogs either, and you always have to weigh the risks... I have to use Advantix (which many people don't like) to control ticks, because I live in a hotbed for tick-borne diseases.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-21-2012, 06:59 PM
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Kalico, you did really well. I WOULD, though, phone the municipal offices, and find out where to report hazardous waste. That sludge shouldn't be left there. Where I live, I'd notify our local fire department, which would take it from there.

You and your bf really kept your wits about you. Congratulations.

Please report back on any further developments. SO sorry you had this terrible hassle!

Camellia and I send warmest greetings to you and your dogs.

Tue, 21 Feb 2012 15:59:00 (PST)

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 09:52 AM
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I suggest taking pictures of EVERYWHERE, so that you will have the evidences if something goes wrong.

Besides, it's better to KEEP your puppy inside until there is a rain
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 11:06 AM
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I understand how important flea control is and how bad they can get here in the south, in So. CA we use to get sand fleas, here they are mostly cat fleas. The problem with having a company come and spray is unless they come on a regular basis the pesticides they use break down quickly only killing the live fleas, the flea cycle is very complex and those little suckers can hatch a year later!!!!!

Sometimes an infestation can get so bad you must do something. I belong to a garden club and three rose society's lucky for me some of them have farms. I tried the nematodes and the Diatomaceous earth they did not work well.

A friends husband came out and did my lawn area 'only' with a product called Entrust, I think you may need to be licensed to use it and spray. The reason I am telling you about it is you now can by a home product spray yourself and it is safe for our pets (you still need to keep them off the lawn until it drys), It is called Spinosad Home and Garden, yes it is the same chemical found in the Comfortis flea pill. No product is with out some harmful effects so you do not want to spray near a pond or body of water, also it can be toxic to Honey Bees, so you do not spray anything with pollen or when they are actively feeding, for my flower beds and trees in the yard I use old fashion cedar chips. I also keep my lawn clear. The good thing about this product is it stays in the soil and is naturally occuring.

I am very sorry about your bad experience, I had a long running disagreement with one of my neighbors who had a friend who sprays the golf course come over and spray so many herbicides I think his lawn glows to this day (the over spray was killing all my native plants totally destroyed my Mayapples they are expensive and hard to come by). The sad thing is there is not a lot of recourse unless a person gets ill or dies, and that is harsh and not fair. I finally took soil samples and was able to turn him in and of course he ratted out the company...those chemicals have been ban for even golf courses today (not because of me..they have been proven to be harmfully to man).

I know none of this helps you now and the whole thing is very upsetting, I am just hoping to give you a suggestion for the future.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Update on situation! So after the company came and cleaned up yesterday, and resprayed my yard, there was still a lot of sludgy green material down the street and in my neighbor's yard. So I called around the city trying to report this. No one knew what to do, and I was actually connected back to the company through a three-way phone call. It was horrible. I nearly panicked knowing I had to talk with them again (this kind of thing is so difficult for me; I'm very introverted). Anyway, the supervisor of the office came out and examined the spill, and told me that the sludge I was seeing was mainly the coagulant they mix with the chemical so that it solidifies, and that the chemical itself was not dangerous in the quantities I was seeing (really??), and that I did not need to worry about dogs walking by, the kids across the street, or my neighbor whose yard is covered in the sludge. But! They would clean it up because it is unsightly and people (like me) can easily misinterpret the sludge as dangerous, whereas it is not dangerous at all.

They were perfectly nice about it, and did not go out of their way to make me feel as if I overreacted, but everyone I talked to other than them seemed to think I have real cause for concern. Even if the chemicals are not very dangerous in large quantities, it's still chemicals we are talking about, and I think it's sloppy and irresponsible to make the assumption there will be no ill effects.

Thank you, Carol, for the tip to call the municipal offices.

Magpie, I will definitely be checking out some green products after this experience. It really drove home how I am contributing to chemical pollution just by having my lawn sprayed. Even without the spill, that would still be true.

Oh, and rain is due tonight!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 01:10 PM
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I'm just concerned that the company refuses to name the chemicals they applied . . .brushing it off as innocuous without specifics leaves too many unanswered questions.

Before it rains, consider bottling a sample and contact the Environmental Protection Agency. Ordinarily, municipal authorities, I'd think, would get involved, but evidently, those you spoke with are employees and not elected officials, who would likely be more responsive . . .so time to take it to the next level.

I know it can be intimidating . . .but the knowledge you're doing the right thing, not only for the pets residing in your neighborhood, but the environment as well, should give you some comfort.

Does your city utilize storm water sewers?




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