This is one of the most commonly asked questions whenever somebody hears that a mosquito spraying will be happening around your neighborhood. And since lately these spraying are becoming a common thing, with all the Zika, West Nile and Dengue fever threats floating around, I thought it would be very beneficial for us to figure out what exactly the mosquito spray trucks are spraying and how it can affect us and our lives.
Usually both larvacides and pesticides are used when an mosquito spraying is happening in any area. This strategy is employed in order not only to get rid of all the adult mosquitoes in the area, so there is less of a chance that you will be bitten by a mosquito, but also to get rid of mosquito larvae, so there are no more mosquitoes maturing and causing us problems. And the sprayings are held during the night, as that is not only the time when the least amount of people and beneficial insects are on the streets, but also the time when the mosquitoes are the most active therefore the most mosquitoes can be targeted. But what kind of chemical is actually used by the mosquito trucks?
One of the most commonly used chemical sprays during the so called ground foggings or foggings that are done from a car or on foot is called Zenivex. It is an effective pesticide, that targets adult mosquitoes, which is why it usually is used in conjunction with a larvicide. It is an oil-based fogging solution that can be used in both urban and rural areas, since it is approved for use even over agricultural crops. The main active ingredient in Zanivex is Etofenprox, which is a so called adulticide or an insecticide solution that targets adult insects disturbing their nervous system when they come in contact with this chemical, causing eventual death. Luckily to us, the Etofenprox insecticide and therefore by default also Zanivex insecticide has low toxicity to birds and when the spray has dried, it becomes harmless to living creatures like bees and dogs, too. Then also often these mosquito spraying programs use permethrin based solutions, which is another insecticide that is a long lasting and efficient insecticide, but that, once dry, doesn’t kill beneficial insects like bees and doesn’t harm humans and pets.
All of these solutions, no matter if we are talking about a permethrin based one, the Zenivex one or a whole different insecticide, are distributed with the help of an ULV fogger or Ultra Low Volume fogger which is able to turn the liquid solution into a very fine fog, providing that the insecticide solution gets into all the small cracks where mosquitoes tend to hide.
Of coarse, the insecticide still is a chemical, so if you want to be completely sure that you are not breathing it in or that your pets or other things don’t suffer, then I would suggest to close your windows and doors, when the spraying is scheduled, as well as to keep you pets indoors and cover you bee hives and fish ponds, so they don’t come in contact with the raw, just sprayed insecticide. But really people shouldn’t be that concerned about mosquito spraying, because not only the insecticides that are used are approved by institutions such as Environmental Protection Agency, but also the volume of how much the insecticide is actually sprayed is very small, making up about 10 times weaker of a chemical exposure, than you would experience if you would use a flea shampoo on your dog. And of coarse the mosquito spraying is much less harmful than what a mosquito will do to you, if it bites you and infects you with one of the mosquito-borne diseases it might carry. So no matter the worries of some, that these spraying are extremely harmful, the truth is that they affect our lives only positively.