Mosquitoes are a pest that are capable of ruining a great day at the park, a romantic evening on a deck or even just trying to get a little relaxation by spending time in a vegetable garden. People will do anything to avoid being bit but mosquitoes are very good at finding their prey. If you enjoy the great outdoors, get used to dealing with mosquitoes. They are here to stay and this article will explain methods of control you may use to help diminish their numbers around the home.
There are over 150 species of mosquito in the United States; over 3000 worldwide. Almost all fall into four common genre: anopheline, culex, culex pallens and anopheles. In the United States, regional mosquitoes are known as house mosquitoes, southern mosquitoes, northern mosquitoes, day-biting mosquitoes, asian tiger mosquitoes, yellow fever mosquitoes, salt water mosquitoes, salt water marsh mosquitoes, swamp mosquitoes, glades mosquitoes, dark rice field mosquitoes, black salt marsh mosquitoes and malaria mosquitoes. Some are able to fully develop from eggs in less than a week. Most take 10-14 days to reach maturity but what is important is that mosquitoes do grow rapidly. Mosquitoes need water and high levels of moisture to sustain themselves. Although female mosquitoes may live for up to a year, most die in the season they were born. Mosquito populations are able to continue from year to year because one stage is able to "overwinter" or hibernate and start their cycle again the next spring. It may be the adult, the pupa, the larva or the egg needed to continue the specie. Each species has different winter survivors but the following season, the problem is the same: biting mosquitoes.
Some adult females don't need a blood meal to begin to reproduce. In general, male mosquitoes live a short time. Most mosquitoes lay several hundred eggs and are able to generate huge populations within a short period of time. Although standing water is the prime location for them mosquitoes to reproduce, there are many locations around the home that afford fertile egg laying areas. Such places include water in the bottom of planters, drainage streams, street sewers which don't drain completely, rain barrels, buckets of water, swimming pools, drain lines from rain gutters, old tires, mulch around the home, shrubs, trees, firewood, slow moving water, small decorative ponds for pet fish, bird baths, water accumulating around windows or doors, water accumulating from an automatic sprinkler system, pet water dishes, leaks around water spickets and just about anywhere water is used or is able to accumulate during the warm summer months any where in the country. Mosquitoes need water to reproduce. They will readily move to moist, shady areas under decks, around pools, in garages, in dense shrubbery or flowers, any kind of ivy, holes or nooks of trees, water in a clogged rain gutter or simply the water on a leaf of shrubs which are being watered during the hot summer months.
MOSQUITO PROBLEMS AROUND THE HOME
Most people believe mosquitoes are coming from great distances to their yard in search of food. In fact, most mosquitoes migrate to a yard first and foremost because there is something about the yard which the mosquito finds attractive for living. In most cases, mosquitoes are finding a great place to live around the home and then take advantage of the free meals the homeowner or their children present when outside in the yard. Mosquitoes don't migrate far from where they will find shelter and protection from the hot sun. Shade and moisture are two ingredients needed for their survival and can be found around any home. If your home is on a lake or pond, the mosquitoes could be breeding in the water. Generally, they will do so close to shore. Don't expect to find them more than 10 feet from shore. They like shallow water and will keep themselves close to plant life and wet lands if possible. Open deep water which is moving is not the kind of water they like for reproduction.
MOSQUITO PROBLEMS ON THE FARM
Barns or sheds are another great location for reproduction or shelter. The underside of most decks which are built close to the ground offers great shady shelter and protection for weak mosquitoes susceptible to the hot sun. It is important to locate any area around the farm where mosquitoes may be seeking shelter or using for reproduction. On most any farm, such areas are quite common.
MOSQUITOES IN THE YARD
Currently there are many homeowners who are creating perfect breeding and shelter conditions which effectively attract mosquitoes. If you have any of the conditions described above, chances are you will have mosquitoes. Don't be placing the blame on someone else. Mosquitoes will stay where the breeding and shelter areas are best for them. If you are creating a moist shady area around your home, you will be luring mosquitoes. Once they find the shade and moisture to live and breed, expect them to find you and your family for their food! Mosquito control is easy if you are able to determine where they are living or breeding. Inspect around your home and locate where the mosquitoes are most prevalent. Although you may believe they are coming from an adjacent lot, be sure to inspect your property thoroughly. If you have any of the moist locations on your land listed above, chances are mosquitoes are taking advantage of such conditions. Another way to determine where the mosquitoes are living is to simply stand in certain areas and wait to see how long it takes for them to find you. Mosquitoes will not travel far away from where they are comfortable. The faster you have mosquitoes find you and the more that find you indicate a prime nest or shelter location which needs to be treated. Such "pockets" of mosquitoes exist around most any home and the secret of getting mosquito control is to find as many of these locations. Once found, there are several methods of treatment that can be used.
NATURAL MOSQUITO CONTROL
Since we get asked about natural mosquito control, the author felt it was important to point out there are a few things you can do around your property that can effectively reduce mosquito populations and in some cases help to control their numbers. Clearly the most important thing anyone can do is minimize moisture. Since it's well known mosquitoes are attracted to moist, shady environments, designing a yard that is both void of moisture and shade could be described as a type of natural mosquito control program. In fact, this clearly happens in arid climates like that which exists in our dessert states. These regions have low rainfall and generally a constant low humidity. Insects don't do well here and in particular, flying insects like mosquitoes are practically non-existent.
But what about the humid, moist regions like the Southeast? Since these regions commonly experience a lot of rainfall, keeping the yard free and clear of moisture won't help. It's only a matter of time before a good rain will hit. Additionally, you can do your part for your property but since you can't control what your neighbors do, most of your effort will be in vain unless it's a community effort. For these locals, something more aggressive or even interactive is needed. That being said, there is hope....
Natural mosquito control in regions where mosquitoes thrive can be accomplished. Though it's not an exact science, there is no doubt active bat populations can help to both minimize and control mosquitoes. Bats can eat hundreds of mosquitoes hourly and we have several species here in the States that rely on finding them nightly. Install a BAT HOUSE on your property and with a little luck, you'll get one to move in which in turn will start to feed on several night time pests like mosquitoes. This natural mosquito control isn't going to eradicate all your mosquitoes but it could have a profound impact. Over the years we have sold thousands of bat houses and it's fairly obvious to us that if you get bats to move in to a bat house you install on your property, you'll probably enjoy a reduction of the local nighttime pests. The only problem with this concept is that it can take a long time for your bat house to get occupied. In other words, bats just don't show up because you install a bat house. In most cases it will take a good 6-12 months of "bat house seasoning" before the house will even be considered. Clearly this won't do anything to control your current mosquito problem so it's not the most practical option if you want mosquito control right now. But getting a bat house installed could some day prove to be a big help and arguably the best option that falls into what is considered to be natural mosquito control. But if you can't wait and want immediate results, read on...
MOSQUITO CONTROL OPTIONS
Now that you have determined where to treat, you will need to choose the product best suited for your situation. Mosquito products are designed for treating different types of areas. There are five different treatment options or categories.
1) MOSQUITO CONTROL REPELLENTS
Repelling mosquitoes have long been the most common method of trying to control local infestations. In fact, there has never been any real "control" going on; repellents simply push unwanted mosquitoes to another area. Citronella, smoke and other compounds have been used over the years but all met with little if any success. However, we now have several repellents that work OK for certain types of applications under certain conditions. The key here is the type of repelling you are looking to achieve. Don't think you will be able to keep mosquitoes away from your yard if they are reproducing or nesting close to where you plan on sitting. You don't stand much of a chance for long term repelling under such conditions (as described above). However, you can achieve some temporary relief with mosquito repellents. No doubt they will help to reduce activity around your patio or picnic area so that you can better enjoy the outdoors for a picnic or summer party. MOSQUITO INSECT REPELLENT POWDER is a powdery material which can be applied over the turf and plant area when you want to keep mosquitoes away from a specific area. This repellent is easy to use, will last a week or more (under dry conditions) and poses no hazard to people or animals. In fact, it uses a high PH carrier which conditions the soil much like lime. This product offers short term relief and should not be used with the intention of "controlling" mosquito infestations. Mosquito Repellent is designed to be used right before a party or outdoor get together where a reduction in mosquito activity is desirable.
Alternatively, you may prefer a spray over the granules and if you do, the MOSQUITO, GNAT AND FLEA REPELLENT comes in a "ready to spray" container that's quite handy. Simply attach it to your garden hose and you're ready to use the power of your home's water supply to spray your yard with this organic and highly repellent spray. It's important to realize this product won't kill a thing; it's only a repellent. But treatments can work for weeks and when you need a spray safe enough to be used around other beneficial insects, this is the best one we know about.
Combine the Repellent Powder with some Linalool Candles and you will get far better results. Made with essential plant oils, these candles will effectively "block" you from biting pests like no-seeums, mosquitoes and biting flies. The burning process of these candles will release a nice odor to people which is citrus smelling. In the process of burning, Linalool will permeate the area making biting pests like mosquitoes and no-seeums not able to locate targets. The 4" MOSQUITO CANDLE will last over 30 hours, the 6" MOSQUITO CANDLE will last over 65 hours and the MOSQUITO INSECT REPELLENT JAR CANDLE will last 75-85 hours. Mosquito Candles are excellent for decks and patios. These candles can be brought on camping trips and picnics too.
If you want something stronger that uses a real chemical for the active, set out some of the MOSQUITO INSECT REPELLENT COILS. These are not the Citronella type you may have seen in the past. These are the newer formulated type which have a Synthetic Pyrethrin as the active ingredient (a known repellent to flying insects like mosquitoes).
MOSQUITO CONTROL REPELLENTS FOR PEOPLE
Personal repellents are products that you wear which help keep mosquitoes away. One such product is the BUG BAND. These are worn around the wrist and release a scent which actively confuses mosquitoes and prevents them from identifying you as a target. Bug Bands will last many hours, can be stored for long term reuse and can be worn by both adults and children. Another type of personal mosquito repeller is the PERSONAL BITE SHIELD. These devices are made of a strong durable plastic and feature a small fan which is powered by two AA batteries. The unit holds repellent cartridges which release an organic and natural mosquito repellent called Geraniol. This active is extracted from plants where it serves as a natural repellent that the plants themselves use to keep predatory insects away. Each cartridge is snapped onto the Bite Shield and the fan is turned on which disperses the Geraniol around the person wearing the device. It's about the size of a pager, fits on your belt or can be set on a table, ledge or other area where you are sitting. The pleasant light odor released will keep mosquitoes at bay naturally and it can even be hooked up to an external power supply.
Mosquito Repellent Lotions and Creams
If you want something for your skin, which is the most direct way of repelling mosquitoes, considerDEET. We've got several formulations of Deet and the 100% ODORLESS formulation is very effective.
Mosquito Repellent for Clothing
For complete clothing protection when traveling abroad or into areas where mosquitoes pose a health risk, use some PERMETHRIN to treat clothing, gear and shoes. Permethrin is odorless, labeled for many uses and will keep mosquitoes away since it acts as a detectable repellent they don't like. And since it works on other nuisance pests like gnats and no-seeums, it can provide much needed relief from several types of annoying pests.
Mosquito Netting and First Aid
Another option is to keep them off you altogether when going afield. This can be done with a MOSQUITO HEAD NET. These nets are lightweight and come with elastic bands. Simply pull them over your head and they will fit snug enough to keep mosquitoes off your face but loose enough so you will still be comfortable. These are an excellent item to bring along when fishing or camping and the pressure from mosquitoes or other biting pests is simply too great. The screen is pre-treated with Permethrin so it offers some repellency as well. If you want no chemicals on it simply wash it once and all the Permethrin will be gone. However, we suggest spraying it periodically with MOSQUITO PERMETHRIN AEROSOL to give it added repellency when going afield.
If you've sustained some mosquito bites and want to minimize the discomfort with some first aid ointment. The MOSQUITO STING RELIEF SWABS work great and offer immediate relief from annoying bites. They're small enough to bring afield and work on contact.
2) MOSQUITO LARVACIDE - Growth Regulator
MOSQUITO DUNKS look like a donut and are used in water where mosquitoes are reproducing. The dunk will slowly melt away releasing thousands of bacteria which kill mosquito larva when the larvae feed on the bacteria. By killing the larva, the mosquito reproduction will stop. This has been an effective and time tested control method over the years and the dunks are both easy to use and maintain. More importantly, Mosquito Dunks are so safe they can be used in ponds, bird baths and water holding tanks without being presenting a hazard to pets, wildlife or people. They can be used in retention ponds, catch basins for plants and drainage ditches. Use them anywhere you know that water will be held for 3 weeks or more. Because the bacteria is simply digested by mammals (which includes pets, people and wildlife), there is no hazard to this product being used in water used for drinking. If you have water which will only be available for 1-3 weeks, you can still treat with Mosquito Dunks but our MOSQUITO GRANULES will probably work better. Because they release quicker, Mosquito Granules will impact the developing mosquitoe larvae that much faster. Mosquito Granules have a short life; you may need to treat once a week since they break down so fast. However, they are perfect for small areas such as plant catch pans, bird baths and rain barrels. Made from the same bacteria as the original dunk, Mosquito Granules are able to stop developing mosquitoes from reaching adulthood and are an excellent option for small "mosquito pockets of moisture" commonly found around the home.
If you want something like the all natural Mosquito Granules but a little stronger, get the METHOPRENE GRANULES. These look like the other granules but use a growth regulator instead of just a bacteria to impact growing mosquitoes. The active ingredient in this granule is Methoprene. Commonly used for flea control, Methoprene will stop mosquitoes from being able to mature to reproducing adults. Since Methoprene is essentially a protein, this product is still very safe to use and is labeled for all the same areas as the other granules. However, these granules will work a lot better than the bacteria based Mosquito Dunks/Granules. For standing water, moist and wet compost or flower beds, water gardens, tree holes, roof gutters, pool covers and just about anywhere water can collect to invite mosquitoes which won't be used for consumption, the Methoprene Granules are a good fit. The other great thing about this form is that a little goes a long way making it more cost effective in the long run.
3) MOSQUITO SPRAY - Chemical Options to Spray
If you have a lot of plant life and landscape around the home that requires water throughout the growing season, chances are you will attract mosquitoes. Shrubs, annual flowers, thick Fescue and Bermuda grass or ground covering ivy all provide pockets of moisture where water can last and provide prime breeding locations for mosquitoes. As warm and hot summer months dry local wet lands, expect mosquitoes to migrate in search of moist, shady areas. Your landscaping becomes an excellent alternative nest site for these migrating mosquitoes. Many pool owners or homes with decks and porches provide perfect conditions for mosquitoes to nest and reproduce. The shade and moist areas are what mosquitoes need to survive and you will notice populations increasing as the hot summer sun diminishes local watering holes that were so abundant during the early spring rain seasons.
For small landscapes, the use of a residual concentrate can provide protection. If you have a really small area to spray, CYONARA RTS is one of the easiest materials to use which works quite well. Simply hook it to the garden hose and turn it on. There is no mixing needed and it's safe for use on lawns, plants and even vegetable gardens. Each quart will treat up to 15,000 sq/ft so it's quite cost effective too. For large areas, ESFENVALERATE will prove to be the more efficient concentrate to use. It is easy to apply, is labeled for use on turf, trees, shrubs and flowers and will provide residual for long term control. Mosquitoes are easy to control when you have a specific location that can be targeted and treated with Esfenvalerate. Expect most treatments to last several weeks on plants and maybe longer under decks, porches and other shady areas that aren't receiving direct sunlight. Use a DIAL-A-MIX applicator which hooks to your garden hose to apply Esfenvalerate as this treatment will require a lot of water. Expect to see immediate results following the initial treatment but it is hard to say how long you can expect to be mosquito free. Every area will experience different results based on weather, moisture, wind, local breeding conditions, rain, temperature and humidity. Expect to get 1-2 weeks of protection per treatment but the length will vary from region to region. Dry environments can expect longer lengths of residual; moist rainy areas will need to retreat more frequently. Retreat as necessary. To extend the length of residual and therefore reduce the frequency of treatments needed during mosquito season, consider adding a growth regulator to your tank mix. Long used for flea control, growth regulators have now found a niche for controlling mosquitoes as well. Earlier in this article, the Methoprene Granules were highlighted which feature the same technology. They use a growth regulator and are designed to be applied in water. Another growth regulator proven effective is called NYLAR. This product is newer then Methoprene but works much the same way. Basically it interferes with the mosquito larva's ability to grow properly so they are not able to fully develop to biting adults. Use it with the Esfenvalerate since Nylar won't kill any adults; it only works on eggs and larva stages. Though you can use a standard pump sprayer to apply the two materials, if you have larger areas to treat use another hose end sprayer that's best suited when mixing 2 or more chemicals during the treatment. For small areas, the 6 GALLON HOSE END will prove efficient; for large areas go with the 20 GALLON HOSE END. Adding Nylar to the tank mix really makes sense and will cut down on the frequency of treatments needed by about 75% so it's worth the extra cost. In most cases, Esfenvalerate by itself will have to sprayed at least twice a month. When used with the Nylar, you will only have to treat once every 1-2 months. Combining the two products will cost more at first but in the long run will end up saving you a lot of work, time and cost.
ORGANIC MOSQUITO CONTROL
If you want an organic mosquito control product, we now have some options which work pretty well. In the past few years there has been some products come to market which work well. The big problem with natural or organic chemicals in the past has been their efficacy (how well they kill the target pest). The bottom line is that they haven't been nearly as good as the man made compounds. Additionally, they didn't seem to last long. Recent efforts by most all the big chemical companies have shown us that an organic or alternative product can actually work. We have been selling these new "green" compounds (most all made from food extracts and oils) for the past couple of years and we're seeing good results. They actually kill mosquitoes well and can last providing residual action which is many times needed.
Organic products that bear the "organic gardening" logo like ORGANIC MOSQUITO KILLER RTS have been certified as compliant and organic by NOP and are generally very safe for use around the home. This product uses pyrthrin and insecticidal soap combined in a hose end sprayer ready to use. Just hook it up to the garden hose and you can get to work. Each quart will treat up to 2500 sq/ft. For inside the home, the ORGANIC FLYING INSECT KILLER can be used which wil provide a quick kill for any flying insect around.
The strongest liquid that falls in the "less toxic" category would be ECO IC EXEMPT CONCENTRATE. It will knock down mosquitoes and other flying pests effectively and can be applied to the landscape over plants, bushes, ground cover and grass without any special concerns or preparation. It does require more to mixed with water so the 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER is a good option if you weren't going to be using a good PUMP SPRAYER.
4) MOSQUITO CONTROL FOGGER MISTER
Space spraying (misting and fogging) has long been the standard way to treat for mosquitoes when one has needed to cover a large area. Since mosquitoes are able to fly, they may be coming to your yard for food and living directly alongside your land in wet, swampy conditions that offer shade and moisture. Such conditions, when large, are hard to treat with Esfenvalerate or some other spray used with a Hose End Sprayer as described above. To penetrate dense foliage or cover large areas quickly, fogging or misting is the preferred method of application. You may be able to treat small air spaces with some PT-565XLO or FLYING INSECT KILLER. The 565 uses pyrethrin as the active ingredient and will kill mosquitoes quickly; Flying Insect Killer uses resmethrin and it too will kill on contact but is somewhat stronger acting and smelling. The organic choice is ECO KO AEROSOL which uses wintergreen oil, white mineral oil, eugenol and other plant extracts. Spray either of these around decks and picnic areas for a quick kill and a few hours of flying insect relief. Any of these are easy to use and great for around the garden, deck, patio or back yard area.
TIMED AEROSOL MACHINES are also good for small areas just outside the house (they can be used inside too). They can be hung on the wall, are battery operated and can be programmed to release a blast of pyrethrin based aerosol which works well on most all flying insects. Use some METERED PYRETHRIN AEROSOL in these machines and they will keep most any flying pest under control. Use of these products is for small areas only. They are great for barns, sheds, garages, around a deck or patio or a front porch. For larger areas, you'll need to get one of the true misting or fogging machines listed below.
MOSQUITO CONTROL MISTING MACHINES
For areas 2000 sq/ft or larger, the use of a misting machine will prove to be quite helpful. These machines come in many sizes and shapes. Essentially they take a liquid and convert it to a mist or aerosol form which is then shot into the air. This enables the applicator to reach a lot of area with little effort. It also enables the spray solution to be used more efficiently which over time will save a lot of money.
The smallest good machine is the FM MINI FOGGER. Ideal for areas from 0-5000 sq/ft, this electric hand held fogger can hold 1 quart of mixed product and can be used with both water and oil based formulations.
For yards in the 5000-10000 sq/ft range, the FM 6309 is next best machine. The 6309 is able to pump a lot of chemical over a large area in a short amount of time. It is able to treat 1/4 to 1/2 acre in 15-20 minutes. (The machine will pump a gallon of material in around 12 minutes, but it takes extra time to drag the extension cord to new treatment areas).
If you have a lot of small areas to treat, you may prefer the FM 6208. This fogger is a step up from the FM 6309 because it has a volume control switch which allows you to adjust the rate of flow. It still uses electricity for power, but unlike the FM 6309 it has a rotational switch which you control and can set to be "off", "low", "medium" or "high". Having a control to "set" the machine can be a real help for two reasons. First, you are able to turn it keep it low when treating around the home and only need a light mist. Such treatments can be tough with the FM 6309 because it only fogs at one speed - high. That means when using the FM 6309 to treat alongside a structure, the fog coming out is so strong it will bounce off the building and come back at you. If you have a lot of small, close locations to fog, get the FM 6208. It not only lets you turn it down for these types of delicate applications but the rotating switch will let you turn it to "off" when done fogging. Though the machine is still on and trying to fog, it will quickly run dry. This is handy if you are interrupted during treatment. Simply turn the switch to "off" and let the fogger use up what's in it's system. Now you can store it for a few days without worrying about the insides getting clogged.
Another model to consider is the FM 7807. The FM 7807 features the same controls as the FM 6208 but includes a long extension hose. This extension is great for reaching high, under and around things which other machines have difficulty covering. The FM 7807 also features a quick on/off control on the wand; great for when you need precise control of flow.
All the above foggers are great for jobs around the home but they do require electricity and are not nearly as portable as the BACKPACK MISTER/FOGGER. This fogger has over a 3 gallon tank and is gas powered so it's completely independent of power cords. Perfect for those large jobs where electricity is not available. Simply fill up the holding tank, make sure you have enough gas in the tank and you can go wherever the mosquitoes may be hiding! Great for property where being free from electric cords is necessary or if you have a lot of area to treat on a regular basis but need to move from one point to another and don't feel like dragging power cords every time you make a move.
If you need to fog an area larger than an acre, you should consider a true thermal fogger. Thermal foggers are "hot"; they heat the chemical being used before it is released which enables them to produce a true ULV or Ultra Low Volume fog. This type of fog is lighter and comprised of very small particles compared to the other misters. Thermal foggers can therefore penetrate better and cover large spaces more effectively but are really only needed when treating several acres at a time since they do have drawbacks. Besides being costly, you are limited in the chemical secelection you pump through them. Thermal foggers require an oil based chemical (see more on this below). These are quite expensive and very often limited in supply. Second, thermal foggers are more prone to breakdown and require a lot more care during handling and use. Though you can mix your own chemical, it's important that you get special "deodorized" oil only or risk damage to your fogger. And don't waste time with $100.00 to $200.00 units found commonly at some hardware stores. These devices will create a hot fog, but the flow is very weak and slow and therefore not efficient. You'll be able to get better results with our PT-565XLO Aerosol option listed above. Additionally, these inexpensive fogging machines almost always require you to purchase "their" chemical which will prove to be very costly. If you have anything larger than a few thousand feet to treat, these inexpensive hot foggeres are not a good option. Get our FM Mini Fogger instead. It will work better and be much less costly chemical wise. For more home owners with 1 acre or less to treat, one of our electric options listed above will do a fine job. If you have 1-2 acres to treat, the Back Pack Fogger will suffice but if you will be treating in excess of 2 acres a lot, you should consider the GE THERMAL FOGGER. This is a true Thermal or Hot Fogger featuring electric start, compact design and a fast rate of application. This means you'll be able to get the job done in a hurry. The drawback of this unit is it's high price tag and the limits on what you can pump through it. Like any other hot fogger, you can only pump oil based chemicals. This means you'll be spending more to get right "carrier" to insure you don't foul up the machine. Thermal Foggers are more likely to break down - especially when a bad batch of deodorized oil is used - so it's important to get the right grade tank mix or else face high repair costs.
MOSQUITO CONTROL CHEMICALS
Once you decide on which type of fogger will work well for the property you want to treat, you'll need to get some chemical. The following discussion will list the most commonly used concentrates today. All of these can be mixed with water or oil. Remember, all the Electric Foggers discussed earlier can use a water based product. Our Back Pack Fogger also uses water based products. However, the Thermal Fogger can only handle oil based solutions as explained below.
Though products like Malathion have been used over the years when fogging for mosquitoes, you will achieve much better results with some of the newer compounds. In the past 20 years, PYRETHRIN exciter has become one of the most common actives used on flying insect control. Pyrethrin by itself will kill mosquitoes immediately but it has no residual action. This means you will have to apply it over and over; once the treatment dries it's pretty much gone. Other negatives about pyrethrin include a slight odor, it's fairly common for people to be allergic to it and lastly, pyrethrin is generally expensive. Though pyrethrin is a natural pesticide (it's derived from the chrysanthemum plant) these negatives are something to consider. Currently there is a worldwide supply shortage so for now, pyrethrin is probably not the best choice. Fortunately there are several good alternatives.
Closely related to Pyrethrin and widely used around the world is an almost odorless active known as PERMETHRIN. This product is probably the most used active worldwide for several reasons. First, it's relatively safe around mammals. In fact it's so safe it's actually labeled for use on horses, cattle, dogs and other animals. Second, Permethrin provides some level of residual. This means there is some left after the treatment so you get lasting protection for a week or two per application. Third, it's almost odorless which many people appreciate. Applications can be done in the yard and people can enter treated areas in less than an hour with there is no lingering smell. Most importantly, it works well on mosquitoes and other flying pests so Permethrin is a good choice for use around the home. And there is also a label for use in gardens; VEGETABLES PLUS is the same odorless Permethrin with a label for vegetables and other garden plants covering a wide range of common pests.
Rounding out the list of good concentrates to use is BIFEN. Though relatively new compared to Pyrethrin and Permethrin, Bifen is odorless and highly effective on mosquitoes. It's not labeled for use in the garden but it's safe for the grass and other vegetation so it has quickly become a commonly used active for mosquitoes. It's big advantage is that very little goes a long way meaning you need a lot less chemical to get just as much coverage as the Permethrin. Additionally, the residual action of the Bifen is longer lasting sticking around for 2-4 weeks per application.
As good as Permethrin and Bifen are, you can improve their performance by adding some NYLAR to the tank mix. Nylar is the growth regulator which interrupts or prevents mosquito larvae from growing into biting adults. Use it side by side with any adulticide and you'll find treatments will last longer and in theory, a lot less treatments will be needed over the course of your mosquito season. This should save you both time and money.
NON TOXIC MOSQUITO CONTROL
In recent years, the demand for non-toxic organic pesticides has forced many of the chemical companies to expand their product line to include concentrates which incorporate naturally occurring active ingredients. The current federal law allows these "other" insecticides to be "exempt" from standard registration requirements when they fall into this classification which is considered to be exceptionally safe for use around people and pets. Over the last couple of years several of these products have proven to be quite effective. Though they tend to be a little more costly and usually won't last as long compared to their more traditional counterparts, these organic solutions do in fact work quite well. The big advantage they offer is based on the minimal amount of risk associated with their use. Mostly these products incorporate natural plant extracts and essential oils which means these alternative products have very little impact on the environment. It is for this reason many are gaining general acceptance as a viable choice when fogging.
Currently there are two such products we are confident in recommending. ECO EXEMPT IC is a concentrate which can be mixed with either water or oil and can be fogged for most any flying pest. It can be used inside or outside, won't hurt people or pets and seems to provide 1-2 weeks of control. It features a full label and can control many pests depending on where you spray it and the concentrate percentage you create. Use ECO EXEMPT IC in any of our fogging machines for safe and effective mosquito control.
If you are looking for an organic or non-toxic mosquito control concentrate that can be used in your Mosquito Misting System, the ECO EXEMPT MC will prove to be your best option. It should be combined with the ECO EXEMPT EMULSIFIER which will provide the stabilizing components so your tank mix will remain active for 90 days. Like the ECO IC, the MC formulation is very active on mosquitoes, biting flies and other flying pests and won't pose a hazard to people or pets who move about in the treated areas.
Remember, special Oil Based Carriers are needed for Thermal Foggers!!
As mentioned earlier in this article, thermal foggers require a special DEODORIZED OIL to be used as the carrier for their tank mix. This is one of the drawbacks when using a thermal or hot fogger but the good news is you can add the Permethrin, Bifen and Nylar to the Oil which will help save costs. In the long run, creating your own oil based spray is smart if you intend on treating a lot during mosquito season. But if you don't want to be bothered mixing chemicals or only need a little amount of product from season to season, our ready-to-fog OIL BASED INSECTICIDE 300 will prove to be a good choice. It uses Pyrethrin as the active ingredient and is every effective on most any flying pest. This product only needs to be shaken a little prior to use and can be added directly to your thermal fogger tank mix without any further preparation. For longer residual action, add some NYLAR to the mix.
Ready-to-Fog Water Based Option
Lastly, there is also a ready-to-fog water based option for all our electric foggers and Back Pack Mister. AQUACIDE uses Pyrethrin as it's active ingredient and like the Oil Based Insecticide, it only needs to be shaken a little prior to use. Nylar can be added to the tank mix for a longer residual action and will prove to be cost effective over time if you have an extended mosquito season or problem.
5) MOSQUITO CONTROL BLOCKER TRAPS
There are many new products that have come to market in recent years designed to provide mosquito control. This is relatively new technology but the logic behind it makes a lot of sense. It's kind of like the new allergy medicines. Most allergy medicine is designed to deal with the symptoms of the allergy - the itchy eyes, running nose and congestion. Newer medications are histamine blockers which essentially block the uncomfortable symptoms of having allergies. You still have the allergy - just not the symptom. This approach is very effective, relatively easy to administer and tends to be healthier in the long run. The same is true for these MOSQUITO BLOCKERS. These devices are small plastic machines which run on 2 AA batteries. They will operate at least 720 hours per set of average batteries that are used to power the onboard small fan. The fan blows out a product called Conceal. This is not a pesticide. Conceal is comprised of plant oils and other natural ingredients which bind to insect olfactory sensors. The impact of Conceal is that mosquitoes and several other biting insects are not able to detect Co2 or octenol - two gases which people (mammals) exhale all the time. By not being able to detect the presence of Co2 or octenol mosquitoes further than 30 feet away will not be able to track your presence. You will become invisible to them. Remember, mosquitoes have a limited range of sight. It is probably not more than 15-20 feet and certainly not more than 30 feet. Mosquitoes which are not able to see any targets will then begin to trail or track their prey by detecting Co2 and octenol. As they fly around they are constantly hoping to find some of these gases in the air. Any breeze will carry your exhaled breath several hundred feet and mosquitoes along this path will be able to trace it back to it's source - YOU! By installing a MOSQUITO BLOCKER about 10-20 feet downwind of where you are sitting, the Conceal will be carried with your exhaled gases. As mosquitoes cross this path they will be affected by the Conceal in such a way that they will not be able to detect the Co2 or octenol you or other family members are releasing. These units work best when there is a slight breeze. Simply place a unit close by, downwind, and go about your activities. You won't even know it's there after a few days. It's perfect for the front porch, decks, sitting areas out in the yard, pool or pond and is completely portable. Just remember to bring it back inside and to keep a fresh supply of CONCEAL REFILLS so you can replace them as needed. If there is no wind or breeze present, you will probably need to locate two or three machines around you. Remember, the more the better. If there is no real direction to the way the air is moving then try to keep one on any side where mosquitoes can approach or find you. This may mean having 2,3 or even 4 machines. As a general rule you need to have more machines as the number of people increases as well. This is due to the increase of gases being released with more people being present. The Mosquito Blockers are an excellent tool which can be set out easily and safely. They undoubtedly can provide additional relief from the pressure local mosquitoes will apply. When used in conjunction with Mosquito Killers or Foggers you can really reduce the amount of bites you, family and friends have to endure.
One way to enhance the performance of Mosquito Blockers is to give the local mosquitoes a reason to forage elsewhere, away from where you want to be outside. This can be accomplished with the MOSQUITO PHEROMONE TRAP. This trap is made with a small plastic jar which is about 1/2 gallon in size. The jar is filled with one quart of water and some "lure". These lures will attract female mosquitoes. The jar has a small tube that runs through its middle. It serves as an entrance as well as a holding area for the EGG LAYING PHEROMONE which is set out with the trap. Be careful not to touch the pheromone; human scent, natural oil from our fingers or some other contaminate will erode its effectiveness. The pheromone is a scent which mosquitoes naturally release in the wild when they find a good egg laying location. This "locator pheromone" is then smelled by local mosquitoes ready to lay eggs and will attract them to attempting to get as many as possible to enter. Once inside, they won't be able to escape. This will happen over and over during the course of the season which can have an astounding impact on local populations. Place out 2-4 traps for the average yard; about 6 per 1/2 acre. Be sure to place them along property borders or where people won't be active; preferably in moist shady areas.
Lastly, it doesn't hurt to equip yourself with some form of "mechanical" control. This can be accomplished with our HAND HELD ZAPPER. These little tools are really handy when dealing with mosquitoes inside around something where you don't want to make a mess or cannot administer the common "smash" motion. Simply wave the Zapper where the mosquito is flying in a gentle manner and if the mosquito makes contact with the Zappers metal grid work it will be dead. Don't try to swat them,; this Zapper is not designed to be used like a tennis racket. However, it is a great tool to keep at your side when mosquitoes are in the area and you want an easy and clean way to kill them. Since mosquito's are so slow when flying, you can even catch them with our BUG VACUUM/ZAPPER cordless tool. This device is generally best for crawling insects but works well for mosquitoes, flies or moths and just about any flying pest which likes to land on walls, windows or ceilings. Though these tools are effective at killing mosquitoes, don't expect the Zapper or Vacuum to provide any long term or lasting control. True, they are easy and handy to have around, but they should only be considered for spot situations and only when needed. As is the case with many insect pests, the best "control" approach is to incorporate as many tools and options you possibly can. Because mosquitoes fly, cover a large area and breed efficiently, this approach will provide better results.
Mosquitoes have long been an enemy of man and our lifestyle. To enjoy the great outdoors, you must first learn why they are attracted to your land. Once shelter and breeding locations have been identified, choose the best approach to make these locations largely ignored by your local mosquito population. Though Bug Bands and Deet will help out in the field, treatments with Repellent Granules, Dunks, Esfenvalerate or Fogging Solutions will be necessary for complete control. Be sure to get enough "machine" when fogging so the time you spend treating will be minimal and the time you are able to enjoy the great outdoors is maximized. Set out some Blockers for added protection and you just might be able to enjoy the great outdoors during the summer time once again!
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All articles copy righted by U-Spray, Inc.
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