Mosquito Control Tips and Why You Might Want to Consider Using a FIFRA 25(b) Insecticide!

Mosquito control has become an important part of many PMPs service offerings, opening up the playing field to the great outdoors to keep those pesky, nuisance flying pests in check to allow customers to enjoy the use of their outdoor living space and yard.

Just like in structural pest control, IPM plays an important part in the overall mosquito management plan and should include these important steps:

  • The reduction of breeding sites
  • The prevention of larval development
  • The reduction of adult mosquitoes

Reduction of Breeding Sites

Mosquitoes need standing water for two stages of their lifecycle: egg laying and larval development. Getting rid of standing water, even really small areas, will go a long way in preventing them a place to lay their eggs.

Here are some common areas around a home to check: rain gutters, downspouts, buckets, flower pots, plastic covers, toys, or anything capable of holding water where mosquitoes can breed. If there are items on the property designed to hold water, like bird baths, fountains, and potted plant trays, that water should be changed weekly. Since some mosquito species can lay eggs in damp soil depressions where water can collect, it is also important to fill in these depressions or to turn the soil occasionally.

Prevention of Larval Development

One of the best ways to control mosquitoes is to do it while they are in the immature stages of their life cycle (egg, larva and pupa), before they become adults. Using a larvicide while mosquitoes are in their larva stage before they emerge as an adult mosquito and take flight will help to reduce the adult mosquito population in the area. It should be used to treat standing water that cannot be covered, dumped or removed. Larvicides come in many forms, including liquids, tablets, pellets, granules and briquettes. When used according to product label directions, larvicides are very effective and will not harm people, pets or the environment.

Reduction of Adult Mosquitoes

Because it is nearly impossible to eliminate all mosquito breeding sites and to stop all mosquito lifecycle development at the larva stage, there will always be adult mosquitoes that need to be controlled, especially since they are attracted to people from the carbon dioxide, body heat, lactic acid and other scents that are on a person’s body. Mosquitoes may also be drawn to certain areas or structures because of their habitat preferences or breeding site availability.

The first step in doing an adult mosquito treatment is to chose which adult mosquito control insecticide product(s) to use, and to make sure you have the proper application equipment as specified on the insecticide label. And as always, be sure to read and follow the label directions for all products used.

The objective of an adult mosquito treatment is to quickly reduce the number of mosquitoes around a home and yard, and to provide extended protection through mosquito population reduction and/or repellency in the area treated. Treatment applications should be focused in areas where the adult mosquitoes rest, including deep inside vegetation, bushes, ground cover and other heavy vegetation on the property, and other dark moist areas such as under decks, woodpiles, etc.

Using the proper treatment equipment (compressed air sprayer, backpack sprayer, mist blower or power sprayer) and the proper equipment settings will help ensure the insecticide penetrates foliage and is applied to the undersides of leaves where mosquitoes tend to rest. Applications should also be made to all shaded, moist areas like under decks and porches. Thoroughness of the application is very important to get the contact kill and residual protection your customer expects in a mosquito control treatment program.

There are plenty of insecticide product choices for mosquito control, both EPA-registered conventional products and FIFRA 25(b) exempt botanical products. If for whatever reason you have never considered using a 25(b) exempt botanical insecticide, there are some benefits of botanical products that you need to know that are much more than just being “green”:

  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia are fast-acting, often times faster-acting than synthetic pyrethroids. Their fast mode-of-action provides extremely quick knockdown control of adult mosquitoes when applied directly on them.
  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia provide “true repellency” protection due to the volatile aromatic components. Insects that come in the vicinity of them will be repelled by the vapors.  In contrast, synthetic pyrethroids are called “excito-repellents” since they repel only when insects touch a treated surface.  So botanical insecticides provide much better spacial repellency than do synthetics.
  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia have dramatically lower fish toxicity compared to pyrethroids and much broader labels. Botanicals can be sprayed up to the water’s edge, applied to and around boat docks, fogged over water for mosquitoes and used with reduced risk on properties with ornamental water features.
  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia do not bio-accumulate in plants and the environment, so their risk to pollinators, outside of direct application to insects, is minimal.
  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia do not require notification before treatment on certain properties such as schools in most states. This allows an inspection and treatment to be completed on a single visit. Be sure to check your state regulations.
  • 25(b) exempt botanical insecticides like EcoVia are not subject to any pyrethroid application restrictions.

Providing a mosquito control program is a great way to help build your business, and to provide your customers a service that gives them the opportunity to better enjoy the outdoor living space around their homes.

 

Meet the Author:


 

 

David Newfang, ACE
Western Region Technical Representative, Rockwell Labs Ltd

David Newfang has over 13 years of field experience in the PMP industry, which includes experience as a pest control field rep for different California pest control companies, as well as a termite inspector, quality assurance specialist, and most recently, a branch manager for Dewey Pest Control in Pasadena, CA.

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