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:
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.
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.
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 choose 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”:
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.