Mosquito control has become a popular service offering for PMPs since pesky mosquitoes can make it very difficult for homeowners to enjoy their yards during mosquito season. Customers today not only want their homes to be bug free but also their outdoor living space. Offering a mosquito control service can provide your customers the relief they want and give you an additional source of revenue. When tackling a mosquito problem or setting up a mosquito prevention service, an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach is best. An effective mosquito management program will combine the use of insecticides, targeting mosquitoes at different stages of the life cycle, and working with customers to reduce breeding and resting sites.
To successfully manage mosquitoes, it is important to understand their behaviors. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes in the world and over 180 species in the United States. A mosquito’s appearance and breeding, habitat, and host preferences vary depending on the species. However, mosquitoes develop through the same process.
Their life cycle includes four stages—egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Understanding this life cycle will aid in control and prevention efforts. Female mosquitoes require a blood meal to produce eggs. Eggs are deposited in water where they hatch as larvae. The larvae live in water and feed on microorganisms and organic debris. They develop into pupae that remain in the water. When adults emerge, they begin to feed and breed. Mosquitoes will remain active as long as temperatures are consistently 50°F or higher.
After female mosquitoes feed, they need to find a place to lay their eggs. This location will change depending on the species. Mosquitoes can be divided into three categories based on their preferred breeding site: permanent water breeders, flood water breeders, and temporary water breeders.
Mosquitoes that prefer permanent water sources are looking for areas where water is always present. These mosquitoes often lay eggs in masses called rafts. Ponds, lakes, and ditches are potential water sources. Permanent water breeders include Culex and Anopheles species.
These mosquitoes lay eggs on moist surfaces including damp soil. Flood water breeders also deposit eggs in areas prone to flooding as well as marshes. If water dries up, eggs will remain dormant until it rains. Aedes and Psorophora species are considered flood water breeders.
Temporary water source breeders take advantage of water that accumulates for a short period of time. Puddles, tree holes, containers, toys, and other manmade items can provide mosquitoes with enough water to breed. Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are considered temporary water source breeders.
Knowing where mosquitoes are likely to breed will make it easier to effectively treat your customer’s space. Anywhere water collects could become a breeding site. Here are a few of the most common mosquito breeding sites:
The use of conventional insecticides for mosquito control is not the only way to deliver an effective treatment program. In fact, there is a large and growing number of consumers that are leery of the use of conventional products that are broadcast sprayed in and around yards where children and pets play and where adults hang out. There has also been an increase in the number of restrictions related to the use of conventional insecticides outdoors including pyrethroid application restrictions, water set-back restrictions, and notification restrictions.
The availability of effective, green insecticide products makes it easier than ever for PMPs to provide a completely green mosquito treatment program that addresses both consumer concerns and pyrethroid application restrictions. EcoVia botanical insecticides are a research-based, comprehensive product line of minimum-risk, EPA 25(b) exempt insecticides from Rockwell Labs. Our EcoVia products are proven in the real world and deliver quick knock down and kill, and true repellency. True repellents act in the vapor phase. Mosquitoes and other insects that come in the vicinity of them will be repelled by the vapors. In contrast, synthetic pyrethroids are called excito-repellents. The mosquitoes and other insects have to touch them, and then the irritating effect can cause them to act erratically and potentially be repelled.
EcoVia botanical products have several other advantages over synthetic products. Because EcoVia botanical insecticides have no water set-back restrictions, they can be fogged over water and applied near water sources, areas where mosquitoes are likely to be found. There are no pyrethroid or neonicotinoid use restrictions. EcoVia botanicals offer minimal risk to pollinators and don’t require notification in most states (Be sure to check your state’s regulations). The two EcoVia products we will be focusing on for an effective green mosquito control program are the EcoVia MT concentrate and the EcoVia G granules.
EcoVia MT is specially formulated to treat mosquitoes, ticks, and flies. It provides quick kill and residual control. Its concentrated formula provides low use rates as low as 0.33 oz/gallon for mosquitoes and deer ticks. EcoVia MT can be used outdoors and in unfinished indoor areas including attics, garages, sheds, and basements. For outdoor applications, thoroughly apply using a compressed air sprayer, mist blower, or fogger to ground cover, shrubbery, heavy vegetation, and shaded areas where mosquitoes may harbor including under porches and decks. EcoVia MT mixes easily and stays in solution like a traditional synthetic insecticide. For information about dilution rates and supplemental application recommendations, check out the supplemental label for EcoVia MT.
EcoVia G is a broad-spectrum granular insecticide that is effective against mosquitoes and other pests. It provides long-lasting adult repellency and larval kill. It has low use rates and contains more than two times the level of active ingredients compared to other 25(b) granules. A higher level of botanical actives means EcoVia G delivers quicker control and longer residual protection. Another benefit of having a higher level of botanical active ingredients is lower use rates that save PMPs money and time. EcoVia G can be applied at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per 1000 sq ft. It is the perfect complement to EcoVia MT mosquito treatments for targeted applications. Apply EcoVia G to landscaped areas, ground cover vegetation, wooded areas, and turf. Pay special attention to heavy growth, shady damp areas, and the boundary between wooded areas and turf.
In addition to EcoVia MT and EcoVia G, there are other EcoVia botanical products that you can use in your mosquito control program. You can also use EcoVia EC Emulsifiable Concentrate rather than EcoVia MT. EcoVia EC is a broad-spectrum insecticide that is labeled to control a wide variety of pests including mosquitoes. The main difference between EcoVia EC and EcoVia MT is that EcoVia MT was specifically formulated for mosquito, tick, and fly control. Those are the only pests listed on the label. EcoVia MT also has a higher level of botanical active ingredients (68% actives vs. 42%), so the use rates for EcoVia MT are lower. The mosquito control application instructions are virtually the same as EcoVia MT. EcoVia WD Wettable Dust is a versatile formula that can be applied as a dust or wettable powder. Use EcoVia WD as a supplemental dust spot treatment in shaded or damp zone areas and as a wettable powder in other areas to provide enhanced kill and to extend the residual protection. Apply to dark and damp areas where mosquitoes breed and rest.
To learn more about using these EcoVia botanical products for a mosquito control program, watch this video.
To ensure your mosquito control program is successful, it is important to identify mosquito breeding and resting areas around the property. Once these have been located, you can work with your customer to reduce them. Mosquitoes prefer shaded and humid areas, so reducing the moisture and shade in a yard will enhance your control efforts.
Encourage your customers to practice preventive techniques including:
Mosquito control does not have to stop when you leave your customer’s property. There are other opportunities to help your customers and add revenue to your business.
Understanding mosquito behaviors and utilizing a range of products and treatments can help you successfully control mosquito problems utilizing a green approach. Helping customers identify and remove mosquito breeding and resting sites will aid in the prevention and control of these pesky pests. With EcoVia botanical insecticides, you can provide your customers with an effective green service program that is safe for their kids, pets, and the environment.