Mosquitoes are considered the deadliest animals on Earth. This is because they are responsible for transmitting several disease-causing pathogens to humans.
According to various sources, including the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are estimated to cause over 1 million deaths worldwide each year due to the transmission of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus, primarily in developing countries (Organization, W.H., 2014).
The behavior of mosquitoes can vary depending on their species, habitat and region. Some mosquitoes prefer to rest during the day in cool, shaded areas and become active at night, while others, such as Asian tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus, may rest during the night and become active during the day. It’s important to note that regardless of their activity pattern, female mosquitoes require a bloodmeal to lay eggs, so they can be active and bite at any time if they are in search of a blood host.
Mosquito barrier treatments to the outdoor areas surrounding a home or other structures are designed to control the population of mosquitoes in outdoor areas by applying insecticides to areas where they rest, such as foliage and shrubs. These treatments aim to create a barrier that will prevent mosquitoes from entering the treated area and reduce the mosquito population in the vicinity. Mosquito barrier treatments may involve using various products, including sprays, mists and foggers, and are typically applied by pest management professionals (PMPs) using mosquito-proven products. These treatments are often used in areas with high mosquito populations or in regions where mosquito-borne diseases are a concern.
It’s important to follow all instructions carefully to ensure the safety of humans, pets, and the environment, while effectively reducing the mosquito population. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that mosquito barrier treatments are not a complete solution and should be part of an overall mosquito management plan that includes removing standing water, using mosquito repellent, and wearing protective clothing. By combining multiple approaches, it is possible to significantly reduce mosquito populations and decrease the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
Here are some best practices for mosquito barrier treatments:
- Read the label carefully before using the product and follow all instructions for use, storage and disposal.
- Wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE) per label, including gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. It is important to wear PPE during the entire process, including during the mixing and handling of the pesticide, as well as during the application process. The PPE helps to reduce the risk of exposure to the pesticide and protect the applicator’s health.
- Before treatment, make sure that no people and/or pets are present in the area to be treated.
- All pet items, toys, food, water and other items used or consumed by people or pets must be removed from the yard before application.
- Mix only the amount needed for the job. If the misting solution’s pH is outside the recommended pH range (5.5 to 7.0), the active ingredients will degrade, and performance will be reduced. For this reason, don’t forget to include an adjuvant in the solution with buffering agents to lower the spray solution pH, and use the mixture right away.
- Inspect all components of the sprayer to ensure the misting system is functioning at full capacity and there is no leak.
- If it cannot be avoided, when possible, arrange to cover all surfaces people might contact.
- Treat all vegetation, including but not limited to, ornamental trees, bushes and shrubbery, from ground level up to a height of 10 feet. Be sure to emphasize treating the underside of leaves, foliage and brush. Carefully apply to achieve a thorough coverage and penetration of the vegetation and leaf litter (this can be critical for ticks and fleas). Place nozzles several feet away from plants to avoid or minimize plant burn and apply with circular motion over the foliage to allow the spray material to penetrate and get to the underside of the leaves. Note that the Cluex mosquitoes, also known as Northern House mosquitoes, prefer to feed on birds and are commonly found in areas near dense vegetation and standing water. When treating these areas, it’s important to consider the height of the trees and apply treatments at a height greater than 10 feet to ensure coverage of the areas where the mosquitoes are likely to be.
- DO NOT treat any edible vegetation as well as any flowering plants that bees and other pollinators could contact. Mistakes can happen, such as when flowers and plants fall. It’s important to be mindful of herb gardens and other areas where pollinators may be present.
- Treat the nearest perimeter areas out to the edge of the property, but no further than 50 feet from the structure unless the tree lines and bushes are located further than this range.
- Identify and treat shady and common moist areas typically used as mosquito resting sites, including under decks, near drainage spouts and any moist areas where standing water is common and cannot easily be drained, such as pots for plants, under gutters and splash guards, low-lying grades and/or ditches. Do not apply to bodies of water or active waterways.
- Treat areas on the exterior of structures with little air movement (soffits and entryways).
- As applicable, treat areas where the lawn meets the woods, retaining walls, or ornamental plantings.
- As applicable, treat several yards into bordering woodlands.
- Treat groundcover vegetation near the home or walkways.
- Treat along paths or roadways, any areas of the yard often used by people (play areas, gardens, outside storage areas, walkway paths to neighbors, or mailboxes). Avoid herbs, vegetables, beehives, butterfly gardens, and any flowering plants.
- Do not treat within 25 feet of lakes, reservoirs, rivers, permanent streams, marshes or natural ponds, estuaries and commercial fish farm ponds. A few commercially available adulticides, such as plant-derived oil pesticides, can be used on water.
- It is important to avoid spraying during windy conditions to prevent the insecticide from drifting to unintended areas and potentially harming non-target organisms or people. Checking and adhering to state regulations regarding wind speed is also important to ensure that the application is done safely and effectively. Generally, it is recommended not to spray when the wind speed is over 10 miles per hour.
- Remember that barrier treatment does not guarantee the 100 percent elimination of mosquitoes. It will result in population suppression of mosquitoes up to 85 percent or more and last no longer than three to four weeks, depending on the level of infestation, an abundance of larval breeding sources around the affected areas, and weather conditions, such as rain. Therefore, repeated barrier treatments at three-to-four week intervals, depending on the products being used, are a recipe for success.
Organization, W.H . World Health Organization; Geneva: 2014. A Global Brief on Vector-Borne Diseases. [Google Scholar]
Dr. El Damir- Thank you for sharing your experience, insights, and wisdom with the community. We’re all grateful for your expertise!