Quality matters when hiring for a big project. Call a Best Pick now!
A Buyer’s Guide to Mosquito ControlJune 24th, 2019 by
Mosquitoes today are more than just an annoyance—they’re also a public health issue. Countries in tropical parts of the world have historically had a high risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria, and traveling abroad to these areas often comes along with frightening stories and mosquito bite-prevention education.
Mosquitoes breed at an alarming rate—in the most favorable conditions, they can create over 3,000 offspring a year. The females and eggs hibernate in freezing temperatures and will re-emerge when the weather warms up. The diseases these pests carry can cause flu-like symptoms, joint inflammation, birth defects, and even death.
It is extremely important to contact a professional when you notice mosquitoes in your yard. Depending on where in the US you live, your local government may take steps to control mosquitoes in public places, but your own yard is your responsibility. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to repel mosquitoes.
Keep reading to explore your options for controlling and eliminating these pests.
The Best Mosquito Control Options
Mosquitoes breed and populate in standing water, and they attack from the air. You can control them in your yard, but you also need to keep them away from you while you’re out and about. Children, in particular, must be safeguarded against these pests.
When it comes to mosquito control, there are four main control methods:
- A combination of the above
In reality, a combination of methods will eliminate or greatly reduce the mosquito population on your property.
Personal mosquito repellent methods
To keep insects away from your person, there are plenty of options in the market today. It is important to keep in mind that pest-repelling chemicals you put on your body can cause long-term effects and may not be the best idea if it’s a regular practice.
With that in mind, chemicals like DEET are now more tightly regulated, and safety practices, like washing hands thoroughly after using an insecticide and not applying pest repellents to broken skin, are advertised more widely. Always pay attention to usage guidelines when using pest-repelling chemicals on your body, as some people may find them to be a skin and respiratory irritant.
If you’re concerned about conventional mosquito repellents, look into earth- and child-friendly products; my favorites are wristbands and natural pest repellents. Some essential oils repel insects, and you can find them in various formulations, from sprays to lotions.
Of course, the best form of mosquito control we can take as homeowners is to remove any standing water from the property. If these nasty insects can’t breed, they won’t be as thick in the air. There are also plants that repel mosquitoes, like geraniums, lemon balm, and catnip, and you can use these as a perimeter around your property or gathering areas.
Passive mosquito control methods
Passive mosquito control methods repel the insects simply by existing—there’s nothing for you to apply to your body or spray in the air. The most common methods of passive mosquito control include:
- Lawn spray application
If you have small children or pets who play and run around on your property, a passive approach to mosquito control is a good option since it minimizes the risk of children and animals coming into contact with the chemicals. As with any insecticide or pesticide, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Active mosquito control methods
Active mosquito control methods provide some of the most effective mosquito and insect control on the market. For the best results, always rely on the expertise of a mosquito control professional to administer these treatments safely and correctly.
Ask your mosquito control expert about the option that will work best for your needs:
- Auto-misting systems send out a mist of insecticide at set intervals throughout the day. The equipment is monitored and refilled by a mosquito control technician, but you can dial up or down the frequency of the sprays via remote control or a smartphone app.
- Barrier spray treatments are applied by a professional on a regular basis—typically every two to three weeks during the height of mosquito season. Barrier sprays target the air and the lawn to prevent both larvae and adult pests.
- Fogging treatments are similar to misting, but the fog covers hard-to-reach areas more effectively than misting. A fogging treatment lasts for only a few days, which makes it a great short-term solution if you’re hosting a party or other event at your home.
Keep in mind that while professional treatments typically have the best success rate in terms of limiting mosquitoes in your yard, you will need to plan ahead. Follow these guidelines for the best experience:
- If possible, schedule your service when dry weather is in the forecast. Rain too soon after (or before) a misting, fogging, or barrier spray service can reduce the effectiveness of the insecticide.
- Remember to adjust your sprinkler system’s schedule. Ask your mosquito control pro how long the treatment takes to dry so that you know when it’s safe to resume your lawn irrigation.
- Keep kids and pets indoors during and immediately after the treatment. This time frame will vary based on the type of treatment and the insecticide the technician uses. Botanical treatments are typically not a health hazard to people or animals and may not require a waiting time, but always ask to be sure.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined the most important factors in mosquito control. Both organizations suggest the use of integrated pest management (IPM) techniques to control and eliminate the influx of illness and pest volume.
Here are the IPM procedures recommended by the EPA and the CDC:
- Remove standing water
- Use structural barriers like window screens and netting
- Apply larvicide in standing water to eliminate the pests before they can become adults
- Apply adulticide mist in the air to eliminate adult mosquitoes and insects
An IPM approach to mosquito control is effective because it addresses each stage of the insect’s lifecycle. Keep the above steps in mind and follow them on a small scale at home to ensure that mosquitoes don’t take over your outdoor (or indoor) space.
The Best Way to Control Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes may be small, but they can transmit harmful diseases. Do what you can to protect yourself with sprays and natural repellents when you take an early-evening walk around your neighborhood, but for the best, longest-lasting protection against mosquitoes, always contact a professional.
The company you choose to address the mosquitoes will have plenty of suggestions and tested methods, and doing your homework will help resolve the issue more completely. If you prefer a more natural method of mosquito elimination, make sure to ask about available products and natural alternatives to conventional insecticides when you reach out to mosquito control companies near you.