Professor Pest's Best Mosquito Control Guide
The Truth About Mosquitoes
No matter what part of the United States you're in, mosquitoes wreak havoc at certain times throughout the year. In northern states, mosquito season typically extends from April through September, with some variation based on geography. In the south, mosquito pressure can extend well beyond that, with populations flourishing in some areas all year long.
The mosquito is widely recognized as the deadliest animal in the world, with mosquito-borne illnesses contributing to more than a million human deaths each year while transmitting deadly diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and Dog Heartworm to dogs and horses. The American Mosquito Control Association provides a comprehensive overview of the persisting and emerging mosquito diseases, including Malaria, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, Dengue, Encephalitis, Zika, and more.
In the United States, mosquito abatement products and services have made it possible to markedly reduce mosquito populations in given environments, thereby reducing the likelihood of exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses. Many professional pest control companies now offer mosquito abatement as part of their slate of service offerings. The continued advancement of mosquito adulticides and larvicides has helped mitigate mosquito reproduction, and improved protective mosquito repellent products have lessened the unnecessary risk of exposure even further.
The Best Mosquito Repellent Products
It stands to reason that the "best" mosquito repellent product is one that protects you from getting bitten by mosquitoes without any (or at least minimal) unpleasant or unnecessary side effects. As such, what might be considered "best" by you may not be so for your neighbor. With that in mind, let's dig into some of the mosquito repellent specifics.
The vast majority of consistently effective mosquito repellent products on the market today contain either DEET, oil of lemon-eucalyptus, or picardin as the repelling agent. While DEET continues to set the standard in mosquito protection, the other products have tested comparatively favorably. Both DEET (up to 30%) and Picardin products have been approved for use on children beginning at 2 months, but Oil of Lemon-Eucalyptus is restricted to use on children over the age of 3 years.
Professor Pest Suggests:
For a near sure-bet mosquito repellent that has been proven to deliver protective results, choose a mosquito repellent product containing 20-30% DEET, 20% Picardin, or 30% Oil of Lemon-Eucalyptus.
A Note About All-Natural Mosquito Repellents
All-Natural mosquito repellents have seen an emergence in popularity, along with mosquito repellent wristbands and ultra-sonic devices. Because these types of products are not not regulated quite the same way as other products, their actual effectiveness need not be proven or established. A 2018 article by Consumer Reports titled 5 Types of Insect Repellents to Skip sheds some additional light on this important topic. Several independent studies have determined that many of these all-natural mosquito repellent products have limited comparative effectiveness.
The Best Mosquito Sprayers & Misters
Gas powered and electric backpack and handheld mosquito sprayers have emerged as an effective application tool in the ongoing battle against mosquitoes. Mosquito control professionals undergo extensive training on how to safely operate this equipment and apply the right amount of the right types of product in the most efficient manner with the least possible impact on the surrounding environment.
While much of this same application equipment is available to do-it-yourselfers wanting to implement their own mosquito control strategies, certain considerations should be given and precautions taken before performing mosquito treatments. Mosquito backpack and handheld misters are designed to disperse airborne insecticides in a way that maximizes exposure to adult mosquito populations. This process brings with it inherent risks for untrained applicators, other organisms in the surrounding environment, and the environment itself. In most instances, Professor Pest recommends consulting a mosquito control professional to assist with your mosquito control efforts.
Several backpack and handheld mosquito misters are available and highly regarded, each with their own variations. The Solo 451 Mosquito Mist Blower, for instance, features a 4.3HP engine with a 3.4 gallon capacity and a 4 position liquid dosage control allowing for output between 0.12 and 0.89 GPM. Several other similar models are listed below:
- Tomahawk Power Backpack Mosquito Mister
- Invatech Italia Backpack Mosquito Mister
- Cardinal 3 in 1 Backpack Mosquito Mister
Professor Pest Suggests:
For ongoing mosquito prevention throughout the mosquito season, applications should be made every 3-4 weeks according to label specification of the product being used. Don't forget to minimize mosquito harborage areas and use a larvicide in areas prone to collecting water.
In addition to choosing a mosquito sprayer, you will also need to decide which mosquito product you plan to utilize (Talstar P is an excellent choice) and equip yourself with the necessary personal protective equipment in order to safely apply. Chemical resistant gloves, protective eyewear, face mask, and respirator are a few of the protection essentials.
The Best Mosquito Insecticides
Several multi-insecticides are labeled for control of mosquitoes. Before using any product be sure to check your state and local mosquito application regulations and follow all product label instructions. For optimal results, be sure to mix concentrates appropriately and apply the appropriate amount of finished solution in the recommended manner at the designated intervals. Not following label instructions is likely to minimize the effectiveness of treatment efforts.
- Bifenthrin is an effective mosquito adulticide with a residual component that provides ongoing protection between applications. Popular products containing Bifenthrin include Talstar P, Bifen IT, Transport Mikron, and others.
- Looking for an All-Natural Mosquito Product? Consider EcoVia EC.
Professor Pest Suggests:
Be sure to choose a product specifically labeled for mosquitoes for use in your particular type of sprayer. Always use the required personal protective equipment, and pay attention to certain application restrictions. Many mosquito products must be kept a certain distance away from lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. Products used in a backpack or handheld mosquito mister are designed to eliminate live populations of mosquitoes in the treated environment at the time of application and, in some instances, provide variable levels of residual protection. Results are best achieved through consistent, repeated applications at the prescribed intervals.
The Best Mosquito Larvicides & Growth Regulators
Effective management of mosquito populations requires more than just impacting the live adult populations in an environment. On average, adult mosquitoes live for only about 2 weeks (with some variation based on species), and spraying for mosquitoes primarily seeks to reduce those live adult concentrations at the time of application. For long-term, ongoing improvements, larvicides or insect growth regulators should be used in combination with adulticides.
Unlike adulticides, larvicides are insecticides that target the immature stages of mosquitoes while they are still in the larval or pupal stage of development. Whereas adulticides are typically broadcast sprayed with a mosquito mister, larvicide applications are made to specific targeted areas that contain or are likely to contain standing water that have the potential to become mosquito breeding sites. Water treated with larvicides will then become unsuitable for mosquito reproduction, often preventing immature mosquitoes from pupating into biting adult mosquitoes. This one-two punch of adulticide and larvicide allows for rapid knock-down of adult mosquitoes while preventing immature mosquitoes from ever reaching adulthood, which is the best approach for achieving maximal mosquito control results.
Professor Pest's Top 4 Mosquito Larvicides
Our top 4 mosquito larvicide products are shown below, and include Altosid Mosquito Pellets, Mosquito Beater Mosquito Granules, Mosquito Bits, and Mosquito Dunks.
Professor Pest Suggests:
Before applying larvicides in an environment, assess the property to see if any modifications can be made to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites. As a general rule, anything with the capacity to contain 2 inches of standing water or more is a potential breeding site. It is far more effective to eliminate potential breeding sites than to attempt to treat them. Any fixed conditions that cannot be corrected can then be treated with larvicide according to label instructions.
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