Eliminate Breeding Habitat

Mosquitoes can reproduce any place that water collects and remains for as little as one week.  By eliminating standing water on your property, you can prevent mosquitoes from reproducing near your home. Inspect your property for any signs of standing water or water holding containers especially after significant rainfall.  If you have a low spot in your yard where water accumulates and remains for several days after a rain, fill it in or consider planting a water tolerant tree or shrub to soak up the water.  Alternatively, commercially available larvicides can provide several weeks of control to areas that fill with water and are difficult to maintain. Contact local retail stores to purchase products and closely follow label directions to achieve the best control. Develop a property checklist and get your family members involved with weekly inspections of trouble areas and unremovable containers.  

Make Your Property Undesirable For Adult Mosquitoes

The first step to making your property undesirable for mosquitoes is to control breeding sources as identified in the paragraph above.  Then, learn a little bit about the biology of the mosquitoes in your region.  The majority of mosquitoes are evening biters.  However, if kicked up during the day in shaded areas, you can expect to be bitten.  Mosquitoes generally seek out their blood meals a couple hours before sundown and may stay active until mid morning.  Once the temperature starts rising, they head for cover.  During hot sunny days, mosquitoes look for cool, shaded, and humid areas to rest.  Tall grass, weeds, and shrubbery provide ideal resting places during the day.  If tall grass, weeds, and shrubs are by your backyard deck, then you’ve pretty much invited the mosquitoes to your evening barbeque.  By keeping your grass and weeds cut short and shrubbery trimmed, you’ll reduce the resting sites for mosquitoes. 

Protect Yourself

Wear protective clothing to cover exposed skin.  Apply an effective insect repellent.  The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention recommends repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.  There are several new repellents on the market that are odorless, leaving your skin feeling clean and dry.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, DEET is not recommended for children under 2 months old.  Always follow the label directions when applying insect repellents. 

Materials, Processes, and Procedures for Eliminating Adult Mosquitoes from Your Lawn.

There are several common insecticides on the commercial market found in many hardware stores, sporting good stores, and supermarkets that are effective if used correctly. Using these products will give you highly specialized results for your property and will improve conditions immediately.

Not following label directions is a violation of Federal Law and could result in severe fines, jail time, or even the direct injury of you or someone else.

Please also remember to never apply a pesticide over the amount specified by the labeling. Not only is it a waste of money and time but applying more pesticides than what is needed is illegal, bad for the environment, helps mosquitoes become more resistant to pesticides, and will not add any additional level of protection. Simply put- DO NOT OVER APPLY.

Common active ingredients (A.I.) found in these insecticides are permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, deltamethrin, allethrin, tau-fluvalinate, and others. Make sure you see that either "mosquitoes" or "flying insects" are listed on the aerosol can or concentrate bottle before you buy it.

Many of these active ingredients are used in vector control agencies and through commercial pest control services. Speak to a salesperson that is knowledgeable in pest control if you have questions about which products are designed for mosquitoes or flying insects. Search for products with higher concentrations of A.I. and those with the lowest price. There are three primary application options available that any homeowner can use:

  1. Concentrates that are meant to be diluted with water and applied via a common yard pressurized hand pump sprayer as a barrier spray.
  2. Aerosol cans that are meant to be sprayed where insects rest and create a barrier.
  3. Aerosol cans that are designed to "fog" an area to eliminate pests.

Applying Residual Barrier Sprays

When used as directed, all three of these options have a purpose and will work wonderfully when used in conjunction. Typically concentrates will be best utilized by applying the recommended rate of material to dense shrubs, long grass, stick piles, wood piles, overgrown underbrush, dense evergreen trees, around your homes foundation, and fence lines around the periphery of the yard. Make sure your purchase identifies that it is intended for the elimination of mosquitoes in an outdoor setting.

The idea is that you are creating a barrier to keep mosquitoes away from your living space and establishing a residual treatment where mosquitoes will frequently rest. These residual barrier sprays are particularly useful during very hot days as the mosquitoes look to escape the hot sun which will eventually desiccate and kill them.

Look for cool, shaded, and damp areas - like around the baseboards of a shed, long grass under a tree's canopy, around an air conditioner, a dense shelterbelt, under a deck or similar structure, and your properties fence line. Spray vegetation from ankle to shoulder height with your pressure sprayer in tall dense vegetation. 

A common misconception is that homeowners should spray down onto their lawns from end to end like they are fertilizing the grass- in many cases that is not as helpful as one would think. However if there is little or no additional vegetation, a 10-15ft wide barrier spray onto the grass along the edges of your yard and around your living space might help. This is especially true if you keep your grass taller than 2-3 inches.

Most residual barrier sprays should last a couple of weeks but can be affected by rain or heavy watering and generally are slower process of elimination. Additionally, if it’s humid and not excessively hot- under about 95 degrees- mosquitoes will harbor any place without the threat of desiccation and thus the weather will minimize the effectiveness of any residual spray application.

However, this step is a good cornerstone to start eliminating mosquitoes and should be considered as a primary step when possible and should repeated as directed or every couple of weeks and at least a day before you plan to use an outdoor living space.

Applying Aerosol Barrier Sprays

Aerosol cans offer an ease of convenience by supplying both the application equipment and pesticide in an inexpensive and simple to use package. There are generally two types of products available, if you are looking for "fogging" aerosols skip to the next section.

Aerosol flying insect sprays have a number of uses both inside and outside of the home. Uses range from killing houseflies, killing nuisance wasps and bees, eliminating lady beetles infestations, to killing outdoor mosquitoes. Make sure your purchase identifies that it is intended for the elimination of mosquitoes in an outdoor setting.

These types of sprays utilize a nozzle that will release a coarse spray or mist. The droplets in these flying insect insecticides spray will not be successful if applied directly to the air in most situations. Typically aerosols that are designed to be applied directly to the air will identify themselves as a "fog" or "fogger spray", read the next section to learn about fogging sprays.

When applying these aerosol barrier sprays, apply the material as directed and focus on similar areas as you would with a concentrated hand pump spray. The difference between the two methods is that aerosols generally will work slightly faster but might not last as long or have any length of residual control after a few days. Also, if you have a larger area to cover and lots of vegetation- you can anticipate using several cans of aerosol barrier spray if this is your only option.

Again, you would want to apply these a day before using an outdoor living space or at the latest a couple hours just prior to being outside. These sprays work very well on very hot dry days when making applications to dense shaded foliage during daylight hours.

Apply the recommended rate of material to dense shrubs, long grass, stick piles, wood piles, overgrown underbrush, dense evergreen trees, around your homes foundation, and fence lines around the periphery of the yard.

Look for cool, shaded, and damp areas - like around the baseboards of a shed, long grass under a tree's canopy, around an air conditioner, a dense shelterbelt, under a deck or similar structure, and your properties fence line. Spray vegetation from ankle to shoulder height with the aerosol in tall dense vegetation. 

Follow label instructions and make applications as needed. If you use your outdoor living spaces frequently - a concentrate with residual presence might give you better results and will minimize the number of applications required. However, even when using a residual concentrate to spray a barrier, an aerosol treatment can offer a quick fix right at dusk when needed. 

Applying Aerosol Fogger Sprays

Aerosol cans offer an ease of convenience by supplying both the application equipment and pesticide in an inexpensive and simple to use package. There are generally two types of products available, if you are looking for "barrier" aerosols jump back to the previous section.

Foggers are different from other aerosols in the fact that they are designed to be applied directly to the air to "knockdown" mosquitoes that are in flight. Fogger type materials are an extremely important tool in any mosquito control arsenal and are recommended to be used when you are actively being bit by mosquitoes. The active ingredients found in these fogger cans are almost if not 100% identical to the pesticides that are applied by professional via truck mounted Ultra Low Volume (ULV) applications and via Low Volume (LV) aerial applications.

The purpose of a fogger type application is similar to what you want to expect out of a truck mounted ULV or aerial application. The material is sprayed out of the can through a specialized nozzle that breaks the droplets up into a very fine mist or fog. The fog is either carried downwind to make contact with the pest or applied directly to the insects using the expansion of the gas to push the pesticide onto the intended target. These sprays can be sprayed through vegetation however will have negligible effect once it has settled out of the air.

To make a successful application, first follow label directions. Make sure you there are pests flying, biting, or active. These types of sprays will have no effect if they do not come into immediate contact with mosquitoes. Applying fogger type materials when there is no activity is wasteful, dangerous, and illegal. Typically, mosquitoes will be active and biting during twilight and dawn. Most likely you will be using this material in the evenings, around an hour or so before sunset. To best utilize the fog, make sure you are spraying areas were mosquitoes are active and utilize the wind to push the spray away from you into areas you wish to use. Generally it would be advisable to spray around the perimeter of your yard, walking across or perpendicular to the wind, and then apply another smaller perimeter spray around the area you will be using. You might need to repeat this process once or more until mosquito activity slows down naturally.

Advanced Spray Methods

In some cases, small cans or bottles of insecticide will not be suffiecent for large yards, commercial settings, or farmsteads. Generally, the techniques stay the same but the area might require larger equipment to broadcast more spray. If you have a very large shelter belt for instance, you might consider utilizing a backpack sprayer that hold several gallons of finished spray as opposed to a 1 gallon pressurized wand garden sprayer. Make sure you still follow the instructions on the pesticide when mixing and spraying. Also make sure you are adequately agitating the tank to full homogenize the final product. There are many options in the commercial market for pull behind atv sprayers and backpack units. Cass County's perferred unit can be found here (please note this link will take you off of Cass County's website, and there is no expressed warrenty of any commercial products). Typically these larger scale sprayers are used for residual sprays in and around harborage (treelines, fences, shrubs) as discussed earlier, and are designed to put out a mist.

For fogging applications on a large scale there are literally several dozen options ranging from handheld units to backpack units to truck/atv mounted units. Make sure your purchase identifies itself as a ULV (Ultra Low Volume) sprayer or as a thermal fogger. In general a small propane powered thermal fogger that you can pick up from most large hardware stores should be adaquate for most needs. Make sure you speak to a qualified sales representative to ensure the equipment is calibrated correctly for the exact material you wish to spray. Not following label directions is a violation of Federal Law and could result in severe fines, jail time, or even the direct injury of you or someone else.