The first step to controlling mosquitoes is to eliminate breeding sites. After this has been done, use one of the products below to reduce mosquito populations.
Larvicide for homeowners such as Mosquito Dunks® or the Mosquito Torpedo®
- Based on Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis (Bti), a bacterium that produces proteins that are toxic for certain fly larvae
- Have little effect on the environment and lower impact than adulticides
- Safe for non-target insects and mammals
- Usually effective for up to 30 days
- Product labels describe how they should be used and how long each product lasts.
- Use before an event for temporary relief from biting mosquitoes
- Usually effective for a couple of hours or more
- Apply fogger toward shady areas and plants where mosquitoes rest and hide
- Aerosol foggers (spray cans) usually empty more quickly and are more costly than thermal foggers.
- Thermal foggers use heat, usually from a propane flame, to create a thick white fog that can kill many resting mosquitoes.
- Thermal foggers produce a highly visible smoke that can alarm neighbors.
- Both types of foggers may harm beneficial insects, such as bees, butterflies, and predator insects.
- Do not use them near plants where bees are active, and follow the label instructions carefully.
Backyard Residual Sprays
- Sprays that stay for extended times on surfaces
- Can suppress mosquito activity for up to a month
- Applied to mosquito resting sites on the sides of homes, around doorways, in tall grass and shrubs, and even in backyard trees
- Can be applied more precisely and drift of spray from aerosols or pump sprayers is generally less than from thermal fog
- Professional applications usually cost more but will last longer
- Professional applicators use a powerful fan to blow residual spray up into dense foliage
- Homeowners can apply residual sprays at home using aerosol sprays, pump-type garden-sprayers or hose end-sprayers. These types of sprays for homeowners tend to settle more quickly and do not penetrate dense foliage. Nevertheless, even do-it-yourself sprays around the backyard can help reduce the numbers of biting mosquitoes for days after application.
- Use carbon dioxide or human scent attractants to draw in and trap or kill mosquitoes
- Must be at least as attractive as a human and operate continuously when mosquitoes are active
- Some of these traps are relatively expensive
- Effectiveness may vary depending on wind and airflow patterns
- Use an ultraviolet light source to attract mosquitoes to an electrocuting grid
- Unfortunately, these traps attract and kill many beneficial insects and do not control the females of biting species
- Artificial breeding containers
- Sterilize or kill mosquitoes that come to the traps to lay eggs
- Few are available on the market and have not been thoroughly tested
- Mix sugar water with a toxicant
- Sugary mix attracts adult female mosquitoes, and the chemical kills them
- Have not been well tested but concept shows some promise
Backyard Mister Systems
- Consist of a timer connected to a series of nozzles that disperse a fine mist, or fog, of insecticide throughout the yard
- Systems are expensive and controversial
- Continual use of these systems may contribute to creating insecticide-resistant mosquitoes.
- Daytime use of mister systems is also likely to harm beneficial insects.
Know your product’s active ingredients!
Look for the “Active Ingredient” statement on the front of the pesticide label, usually near the bottom of the label. This will allow you to compare to the list of active ingredients (Table 1) for outdoor mosquito control.
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