We – InsectCop – are professionals when it comes to mosquitoes and how to better control them. To help you fight those annoying, blood sucking and diseases transmitting insects we have developed this extensive mosquito fogger and control guide, which includes such subjects as:
Find complete reviews in our new mosquito fogger article.
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What a mosquito is and where it lives?
If you have come across this website there is a high chance that you already know what a mosquito is. But for those who do not know, a mosquito is a small insect from Culicidae family. There are over 3500 discovered mosquito species in the world. Mosquito population has spread all around the world and only places you won’t find at least a single mosquito breed are Iceland, Antarctica and few smaller islands. Mosquitoes love humid and warm climate, but they do live in colder areas with regular winters and hibernate trough a winter same as other insects and bugs. Most of mosquito species suck blood out of humans, animals, birds, reptiles and other living beings, however, only female mosquitoes have specific mouthparts to pierce skin to access blood vessels, so male mosquitoes actually do not suck our blood.
Most mosquito species prefer humid, dark and warm places to reside and reproduce. The largest part of mosquito species are more active in evenings and early mornings. Mosquitoes females need still water to lay their eggs, so you will find majority of mosquitoes residing near a standing water reservoir. Mosquitoes can use both natural or artificial places with water to lay their eggs. Some of the more common areas where you will find mosquitoes are:
- around vegetation – shrubbery, flowers, plants, trees;
- in buckets, cans, old tires from water resistant material such as metal, plastic or rubber that are filled with water, also clogger rain gutters;
- larger, artificial areas filled with water, such as swimming pools, outdoor baths and others;
- natural areas with standing water, which include swamps, ditches, ponds, lakes, wet lawns or gardens and other similar areas.
Male mosquitoes live a short life, but female mosquitoes that sucks our blood live from 3 to 4 weeks depending on a specie of mosquito. Mosquitoes lay eggs in a standing water that can be either in artificial tanks that have collected rain water such as old tires or buckets, or natural sources of standing water like ponds and swarms. After female mosquito has laid eggs in the water they develop for about 7-10 or more days (different times for each mosquito specie). Mosquitoes have 4 development stages – egg, larva, pupa and adult mosquito. When mosquitoes hatch from eggs, they are in larva stage and it takes about 4-7 days to develop from larva to pupa to adult mosquito. When mosquitoes have reached an adulthood they can start to breed and mosquito life cycle continues.
Why and how mosquitoes bite?
While you might think that mosquitoes bite because they need blood to feed themselves like some sort of vampires or they just want to get on your nerves, you are wrong. First of all, biting is done only by female mosquitoes and male mosquitoes doesn’t even have such mouthparts that can be used to pierce a skin and suck blood. Male and female mosquitoes need sugar for energy, so they feed by drinking nectar from flowers. Female mosquitoes in addition need protein that can be found in blood for egg development. So mosquitoes actually don’t drink our blood to feed themselves, but to provide necessary substances to develop their eggs.
Mosquito mouth parts. Source – http://wiki.bugwood.org
How mosquitoes bite is actually a pretty complex process. To be able to pierce skin and suck blood mosquitoes have total of 6 organs that are located in the head. The only mouthpart of a mosquito we see is called proboscis, which is basically the trunk of the mosquito, but inside of proboscis there are multiple different organs. Labium is a cover for other mouthparts and doesn’t go into the skin. Inside a labium there are such mouthparts as 2 mandibles, 2 maxillae, 1 hypopharynx and 1 labrum. Mandibles and maxillae are used to pierce the skin, so hypopharynx and labrum can be inserted into the skin. Hypopharynx and labrum are tube like organs, hypopharynx is used to pump saliva into blood vessel to prevent it from clotting, and labrum is used to suck blood from a blood vessel. A mosquito will suck blood until its abdomen is full, or the pumping process gets interfered or until the mosquito is killed.
What attracts mosquitoes?
To know how to better avoid mosquitoes, you need to know what attracts them. As simple and primitive a mosquito may seem, it actually uses multiple ways to sense and find their victims. Scientists have not yet come with a complete list of things that attract mosquitoes, as there are over 3500 mosquito species and each of them prefer different types of attractors more than others. But there are some strong attractants that all mosquito species use to find their prays:
- Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is one of the strongest attractants for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes have a special organ called maxillary palp that can detect carbon dioxide. Humans and animals produce carbon dioxide when exhaling, so mosquitoes can find us practically any time, and as more we exhale, as more likely a mosquito will detect us in opposite to other carbon dioxide sources around. Some mosquito species can detect CO2 from as long as 150 feet (45 meters) away.
- Lactic acid. Lactic acid is released from our skin the most when we exercise and sweat and also when we eat salty foods. This is why mosquitoes are so attracted to people that sport and sweat.
- Fragrances and skin care products with flower and fruit aromas. Lots of fragrances such as sweet flower and fruit aromas will attract mosquitoes. Such fragrances can be found in products like perfumes, lotions, shampoos, washing powders, fabric softeners and others. Also skin care products that contain a lactic acid are strong attractants for mosquitoes.
- Moisture and sweat. Mosquitoes need water to breed so they are very good at locating moisture and water. People who are sporting produce a lot of sweat on their skin and also exhale more water particles with heavy breathing, which both will attract mosquitoes.
- Heat. Mosquitoes can sense heat that our skin radiate to locate blood vessels that are closer to the surface of the skin. Mosquitoes use heat sensing from a close range, when they have located a victim and are flying close to the skin or are landed on the skin.
- Movement. Mosquitoes can detect movement of objects closer to them. This is done by detecting changes in light waves of objects. Movement detection is not the primary sensing method for mosquitoes and they much often use carbon dioxide, heat and body odors to find their victims.
- Other body odors. A human body and skin produce over 350 known odors and some of these odors also attract mosquitoes. Each human body produce different amount of body odors, so mosquitoes are more attracted to some people than others. Experiments are being conducted of which odors are stronger attractants for different species of mosquitoes, but as there are lots of mosquito species and lots of different odors, many experiment still need to be conducted to find a precise answer to the question – what attracts mosquitoes?
What to use for mosquito bites?
If you have ever been bitten by a mosquito, you must know the annoying feeling of itching at the spot a mosquito has stung. Luckily there are ways to ease the swelling and itching feeling by using different natural oils or medical creams on the swollen area.
Some of the natural substances you can use on a mosquito bite are aloe vera oils, chamomile, lavender, tea tree oil, basil, lemon and lime, peppermint, cucumber, cinnamon and row honey. All these natural substances have anti-inflammatory effect that will help for itching and will heal the stung spot faster. If you want a faster effect you can look for medical creams and lotions for mosquito bites. Some of medicine you can use are Absorbine Jr. that instantly soothes pain and itching feeling, different gels and creams, such as Cetaphill skin cleanser, Vicks VapoRub and other, also rubbing alcohol will disinfect the bite and some people suggest using mouthwash liquids on the stung area that will relieve the pain and itching feeling faster.
Mosquito borne diseases
The most important reason to control mosquitoes and reduce their population is not because they annoy us, but because different mosquito species are carriers of multiple diseases that can harm our health as well as health of our household pets. The most common mosquito borne diseases are:
- Malaria – This is the most common mosquito borne disease, which has caused many deaths in African regions. Malaria is carried by the Anopheles mosquito specie that can be found in tropical and subtropical climates.
- Yellow fever – Yellow fever is another dangerous disease carried by mosquitoes. Regions where this type of disease can be found are tropical and subtropical regions such as Africa and South America. To enter countries where yellow fever is a problem, you must be vaccinated against this disease.
- Chikungunya – This type of virus carried by mosquitoes are more common in the Caribbean region and the symptom for this disease is strong joint pain. Carriers of Chikungunya disease are Asian Tiger and Yellow Fever mosquitoes.
- Dengue fever – This type of virus is carried by Asian Tiger and Yellow Fever mosquitoes and is present in different regions in North America, South America, Africa and Asia. Dengue fever a dangerous virus, for which there is no vaccine. Quick diagnostic and treatment is important and will allow for simple treatment of this disease.
- Encephalitis – This disease is more commonly transferred by thicks, but can also be carried by mosquitoes. There are different types of encephalitis and some of them also affect humans, however there are vaccines against this disease.
- West Nile virus – This is a very common mosquito borne virus that can be found in many areas from North America, to South Europe, Africa, Australia, India and Middle East. West Nile virus is not as deadly as other viruses carried by mosquitoes only about 20% of people infected my develop symptoms as fever, headache, rash and other, and just 1% of these people develop serious symptoms that require stronger medical treatment.
The simplest way to get rid of mosquitoes is by using a mosquito repellent. There are multiple ways you can repel mosquitoes, either with natural methods (citronella oil, scented candles) or by using different sprays and lotions that contain mosquito repelling substances such as DEET, piciridin and others. We are going to look at the most common ways to repel mosquitoes and how effective each of these ways are.
Mosquito sprays and lotions (DEET, picaridin)
If you have ever tried to combat a mosquito problem, you have probably used an insect repelling spray or lotion. These are the most used mosquito repellents, because they are very easy to apply, are cheap to buy, do not take lots of space and most of them really helps to repel mosquitoes. Each of these repellents contain one or more active substances that blocks scents from our bodies that a mosquito can detect. Two of the most widely used active substances in mosquito repellent sprays and lotions are DEET and picaridin.
DEET insect repellents
DEET is a chemical name of the most common active substance used in insect repellents. When applied in a form of a spray or lotion to the skin or clothing, DEET makes us invisible to mosquitoes for certain amount of time, even up to 12 hours depending on the concentration of DEET in the repellent. Most mosquito repellents contain DEET in concentrations from 20% to 50%. Although there are no scientific evidence that DEET can cause harm to a human health, some people are allergic to it. There are numerous of safety cautions when applying DEET to skin and clothing. Until this day, DEET is still the best substance for mosquito repelling and no other substances with such strong and long effect have not been discovered. Remember that DEET will not kill mosquitoes, but simply repel them for few hours.
Picaridin is newer type of mosquito repellent that is used as active ingredient in sprays and lotions. Picaridin has advantages that it does not leave any oil stains, it doesn’t have a specific odor and doesn’t damage plastic materials in opposite to sprays containing DEET. Besides these two, also substances like permathrin and citronella oil are used in sprays. Permethrin needs to be applied to clothing, its effect can last up to few weeks, while citronella oil is a natural insect repellent.
Natural mosquito repellents
If you don’t want to a use repellent that contains chemical substances, there also some natural mosquito repellents. Two of the most common are sprays and lotions with citronella oil and scented candles. In both sprays and candles the most common natural active ingredient used is citronella oil.
Citronella oil sprays and lotions
Citronella oil can be obtained from leaves of a lemongrass plant. Citronella oil is used in multiple industries which include foods and beverages, perfumery, cleaning products and products for mosquito repelling. Citronella oil needs to be applied to the skin and provides from half and hour to few hours of protection against mosquitoes, as well as can be used to treat bitten areas on skin. Citronella oil, same as other repellents masks scents from our body that mosquitoes can detect, but instead of DEET and picaridin that provide multiple hours of protection, citronella oil will work for much smaller amount of time, just couple tens of minutes to an hour of protection. Citronella oil is usually used in combination with other substances in commercial products as sprays and lotions, but many people choose to make their own mosquito repellents from the citronella oil in combination with other natural products.
Scented candles that contain insect repelling substances are one of natural insect repelling methods. The biggest advantage of these candles is that they contain only natural substances. They work by releasing an active ingredient in air when burning, which blocks scents from our body that mosquitoes can sense and makes us harder to find for mosquitoes. The most common natural substance used in mosquito repelling scented candles is citronella oil. Although scented candles are quite cheap and made from natural products, they have some serious disadvantages. First, they will repel mosquitoes only in short distances, approx. 3 feet (1 meter) from the candle, so you must be near a candle all the time for some protection against mosquitoes. Also citronella candles won’t provide such strong protection as other repellents such as DEET. Next disadvantage is when the candle burns out the protection stops and mosquitoes will be able to find you. The last disadvantage is that candles release carbon dioxide in the burning process, which is a strong attractant for mosquitoes, and if the candle does not contain enough active ingredient, it will cause an opposite effect and instead of repelling mosquitoes it will attract them with carbon dioxide, so be careful what type of candles you use and make sure they contain insect repelling substances such as citronella.
What is the best insect repellent?
The best insect repellent currently is DEET same it has been for many years. DEET has proved to be very effective to blocking scents from our body that mosquitoes can detect and provides quite long work time. Other chemical substances as picaridin are also very effective and will repel majority of mosquitoes. We suggest using sprays that contain DEET as they are pretty cheap and can easily be applied to skin. If you don’t want to use chemical substances, you can try out either a citronella oil sprays and lotions or scented candles to get some protection against mosquitoes. But these natural repellents won’t provide the same protection as repellents with DEET.
However, mosquito repellents are just temporary solution and will not provide any long term effects for mosquito problem. To fight with mosquitoes effectively you must not only kill them but reduce their population in backyard or other area. For this you must use one of the mosquito control methods that include mosquito foggers, mosquito traps and bug zappers. For areas with large mosquito population multiple mosquito control methods should be used combined for better mosquito control results.
How to kill mosquitoes?
Fogger is a tool that is used to atomize and spray some sort of fogging solution such as insecticide, pesticide and sanitizer to treat a pest, mold, insect and other problems. Foggers can be categorized into two main categories – cold and hot or thermal foggers. Cold foggers use cold fogging techniques such as high air pressure to atomize the fogging solution, and thermal foggers use heat to vaporize a fogging solution to produce fog with very small particles of solution. There are indoor foggers made for usage in homes, warehouses and similar areas to get rid of pests, molds, mildew, odors and viruses, and there are yard foggers that are used to fog outdoor areas to control and limit population of different pests and insects in that area. Foggers are tools that can be used to treat small areas such as a single room in a house or a back yard, and also are used for large areas such as storage facilities, warehouses, outdoor fields and even large disaster affected urban areas. This is why both thermal and cold foggers have professional tools and personal usage tools. Professional tools have powerful electric or gasoline engines that can atomize high amounts fogging solution in short time and can be used to treat large areas. Commercial mosquito fogger can cost from couple hundred to few thousand dollars. Personal or home use foggers are much smaller, use less powerful engines, usually are made from a plastic material and have approx. 0.5-1 gallon (1.9-4 liter) tanks. Home use fogger will cost starting from 50$ for smaller thermal fogger up to few hundred bucks for powerful, high capacity electric ULV foggers.
While just few fogger models are made specifically for mosquito control, practically all thermal and most ULV foggers can be used to spray fogging solutions for insect control. When looking for a mosquito fogger first pay attention if the fogger is suited for outdoor usage, and second if it can be used with various fogging solutions. If it is a universal thermal or cold fogger there are high chances that it can be used to spray insecticide solutions for mosquito control.
Do mosquito foggers work?
Mosquito foggers are considered to be one of the best method for temporary mosquito control as well as a long term solution to mosquito problem and can be used to reduce mosquito count in a certain area. Unlike other methods such as many insect repellents and bug zappers that provide a temporary solution to a mosquito problem, foggers, if used continuously (few times a week depending on the size of a mosquito problem), can reduce a mosquito population in a certain range and even get rid of some mosquitoes species in that area for long time. Although mosquito fogger is an effective mosquito control method, if mosquito population in the area is very high, there will be need of multiple mosquito control methods together for a better result.
Mosquito traps are one of the most common devices used to repel and kill mosquitoes. There are basically two types of mosquito traps – homemade and commercial traps. Homemade traps are usually very simple tools that can easily be made at home and produce small amounts of carbon dioxide that attracts mosquitoes, but in most cases these traps will not provide a visible effect to reducing a mosquito population or repelling them. Commercial traps on the other hand are much more complex devices and can cost over hundred dollars. These are large in size tools that works on electricity or gas and use different type of attractions for mosquitoes. Most of these tools output carbon dioxide, same as humans and animals but in a larger quantity to attract mosquitoes not only from short range but also from further distances. Also most mosquito traps produce heat as infrared light to attract mosquitoes from short distance. Some traps flashes light in certain frequency that lure some mosquito species, and others produce different scents, such as octenol, to simulate scents produced by a human body. When a mosquito has been lured to the trap it gets captured into a special tray or net using a strong fan or they get electrocuted when they get in contact with an electric grid inside a trap.
Whether or not a mosquito trap is going to be effective depends on multiple factors, such as the location you use the trap, weather conditions, species of mosquitoes and the quality of the trap. There are proved experiments that mosquito traps indeed can kill thousands of mosquitoes over few day time and significantly reduce a mosquito population in the area. For a mosquito trap to be successful in mosquito control it must be placed close to the area where mosquitoes live and reproduce, if there are multiple such areas in your yard, you may need multiple traps, which will cost a lot more than other mosquito repelling and killing methods. Also you must constantly monitor the wind direction and move the trap accordingly, so that it reaches mosquito breeding areas. Each mosquito trap won’t work for all mosquito species, because each specie uses different attractants, while some may use carbon dioxide to find humans, others can prefer sensing odors from a human body, so while one trap can work for mosquito problem in tropical regions, it may prove to be ineffective for mosquito species in temperate climate zones and opposite. The effectiveness of a mosquito trap is also impacted by the quality of the trap, as there are lots of different mosquito traps on the market at price ranges varying from couple tens of dollars to multiple hundred dollars.
The last two things you need to know if you want to get a mosquito trap is that some poorly made traps may cause an opposite effect and instead of repelling or catching and killing mosquitoes they can actually increase the mosquito count in the area. Also mosquito traps have very high usage and maintenance costs, because most of these units work on electricity, gas or even both. Mosquito traps that work on gas will need a frequent replacement of the gas tank, which can cost from couple tens of dollars depending on the capacity, and traps that lure mosquitoes using chemicals such as octenol will also require those chemicals to be changed after time. If you need more guidance about usage and effectiveness of mosquito traps, check out our best mosquito traps article.
Bug zappers or mosquito zappers are very popular tools that people use to kill mosquitoes and reduce their population. Mosquito zappers have advantage that they are generally cheap to buy when compared to mosquito traps or mosquito foggers and you can hear how they work, because when a bug or an insect flies inside the device, it gets electrocuted making a zapping noise (from which the name zapper was created). A bug zapper works by producing an ultraviolet light that lures many bugs and mosquitoes to the zapper, where they get electrocuted. While bug zapper might be effective to kill numerous types of bugs and insects and you may find hundreds of dead insect bodies in a tray, in reality only small percentage of insects killed are going to be mosquitoes and even smaller percentage female mosquitoes that actually do the biting, because mosquitoes use other attractants more than ultraviolet light such as carbon dioxide. And what is the worst part is that bug zappers will kill hundreds of good bugs that are useful for nature. And also if you place a bug zapper near, there is a higher chance that a mosquito is going to detect carbon dioxide from your breath, rather than get attracted by the ultraviolet light that zapper produce.
Mosquito fogger types
Mosquito foggers have two large categories – thermal and cold foggers. Both of these fogger types can be used to spray insecticide for mosquito control, however, each of them works differently.
Thermal foggers use hot fogging techniques to vaporize a fogging solution and create a dense cloud of fog with tiny particles. Thermal fogging method is better suited for outdoor usage, because high temperatures are used in the heating process that can cause fire safety risks when used indoors. However there are also some thermal foggers suited for indoor usage to treat such problems as mold and different bacteria, as particles produced by thermal foggers are very small in size and can penetrate very small places such as cracks in floor and walls, gaps between furniture and warehouse equipment and many other areas. Thermal foggers produce particles in size from 5-10 microns, but can also produce particles in such tiny size as 0.5-5 microns.
Thermal foggers come in two types – gas and electric thermal foggers.
Gas fogger is a more common type of thermal fogger and uses some sort of gas, such as propane to power the fogger. Thermal gas foggers are often called propane foggers, as it is the most common type of gas used in these foggers. Propane foggers use propane gas to heat a heat assembly element located on the front of the fogger. Insecticide in liquid form gets pumped trough the heat assembly unit, where it gets heated and sprayed out trough the nozzle of a fogger, where it vaporizes coming in contact with air. Propane foggers have advantage of portability, because in opposite to electric thermal and ULV foggers they don’t need electricity to work, but a gas tank needs to be attached to the fogger. Some larger models also work on petrol that needs to be filled in a fuel tank. When the propane cylinder runs out of gas, you must replace it with a full cylinder to continue fogging.
Electric thermal foggers work on electricity and should be plugged into an electric outlet to work. These foggers cannot be used to fog large outdoor areas, because they need a permanent electricity source that limits the usage distance to the length of an extension cord. Some professional electric thermal foggers also come with external rechargeable batteries, which gives some level of portability to the fogger, but these units usually cost significantly more than regular thermal foggers.
Cold foggers are such devices that don’t use heat in fogging process, but instead atomize fogging solution using high air pressure and swirl nozzles. Cold foggers are often called ULV or ultra low volume foggers. In opposite to thermal foggers that are mainly used outdoors or in large indoor areas such as warehouses, cold foggers can be used in practically any area, which makes them a more universal use foggers. ULV foggers are used for all sorts of works and most units can output water and oil based solutions. Cold foggers are used for mold and mildew control, to spray disinfect liquids for sanitizing indoor spaces, getting rid of unpleasant odors, pests and insects, they are also used as humidifiers in greenhouses.
ULV foggers work on electricity, so a permanent electricity source is used for these foggers. Same as with electric thermal foggers, some professional units are powered from external batteries, so they give some portability for the fogger, however, these batteries are usually lead acid rechargeable batteries that are pretty heavy, so fogging unit comes mounted to a movable cart. ULV foggers have an electric engine that is used to produce a high air flow to atomize the fogging solution and output it trough one or multiple nozzles. ULV foggers have advantage of being able to output very consistent and precise particle size that can be adjusted. Most ULV foggers allow to adjust the flow rate of fogger, so turning a higher flow rate will output larger particles and turning the flow rate down will produce smaller in size particles. The average particles size that ULV foggers can output is smaller than thermal foggers and range in approx. 5-50 microns size. Because of such a wide particle range cold fogging devices produce, they can be used for a lot of applications, from fogging rooms for mold and odor control, to fogging outdoor areas to get rid of bugs and mosquitoes. Some cold foggers also can fog automatically that allows to set the fogger into a room and leave it to fog automatically, so there is no need for a person constantly operating the fogger.
Cold vs thermal foggers – comparison of both fogger types
Cold and thermal foggers can both be used for mosquito control, but because each of these fogger types operate differently, they also have different pros and cons. We have compared ULV and thermal foggers in different categories, to better show advantages and disadvantages of both types for getting rid of mosquitoes.
Both fogger types actually produce different density fog. Cold foggers output solution more like fine mist that is practically invisible, while thermal foggers outputs cloud of an easily visible fog. Both types of fog have their advantages and disadvantages, but for mosquito control thick, dense, and highly visible cloud of white to gray fog produced by thermal foggers has more pluses. First, the fog produced by a thermal fogger is much easier to monitor and control, what makes the fogging process more effective. Second, it is much simpler to see that something is being done, and third, it is easier for the person operating the fogger as well as other people around to escape the cloud of fog that may contain substances that should not be inhaled. The advantage of much less visible fog produced by ULV foggers is that it doesn’t cause any traffic hazards if used in urban areas. Other than that it is much harder to control in which direction the fog flows, especially when fogging outdoors even in small wind. Also it is more difficult to avoid the fog cloud, which is hard to see and people might accidentally come in contact with the cloud that contains chemicals.
Droplet size and density
Thermal foggers produce tiny particles from 0.5 micron size. Because of the small particle size, the fog produced by thermal foggers is more dense than one produced by cold foggers. Such small particles have advantages for both indoor and outdoor applications. Because of the tiny size these particles will stay in air for longer time, increasing chance to coming in contact with mosquitoes or other insects. They can penetrate very small areas indoors, which can be an advantage when getting rid of molds or pests. Despite advantages, tiny droplets from thermal fog also has few disadvantages. Tiny particles can be easily moved even by smaller wind gusts, so outdoor fogging must be performed in a windless or near windless conditions. Second, particles under 5 micron size might be ineffective when coming in contact with a mosquito. Particles from 5-25 micron size are considered to be the most effective for mosquito control. Fog produced by cold foggers usually is in range of 10-50 microns, averaging on 20-40 microns, so the fog won’t be able to stay in the air for such a long time and larger sized particles won’t be able to reach all the smallest gaps and spots that fog from thermal foggers would access.
Thermal foggers are more efficient than cold foggers in few ways. First, they use lower concentration of active ingredient and second they need less energy and shorter time to output same amount of insecticide. However, cold foggers use a lot less fogging liquid and carrier, so they are generally cheaper to use, as you don’t need to purchase gas cylinders or fill the fogger with petrol. When using a thermal fogger you will need to change the gas cylinder regularly, which will result in much high operation costs.
ULV foggers will be simpler to operate than thermal foggers. With thermal fogger you need to light the burner of fogger, which can take time, if your fogger is not equipped with an automatic igniter, on cold fogger you simply turn the fogger on with a switch. Then with thermal fogger you will have to wait until the coil heats up, while cold foggers can be used instantly. The last thing is that you must fog in certain intervals with thermal foggers to produce a dry fog and fogging in short intervals will cause the fogger to produce wet fog and drip the solution out of a nozzle that can leave hard to clean stains on surface. Thermal foggers can be louder than cold foggers, when it comes to professional thermal foggers.
Majority of cold foggers can be used with water and oil based solutions, so most fogging liquids can be sprayed with an ULV fogger. As mentioned ULV foggers are simpler to operate and it is easy to control the flow rate and particle size of ULV foggers. However cold foggers are more difficult to maintain and repair, because they are made from more complex parts such as an electric motor, air pressure pumps, advanced nozzles and other parts.
When it comes to personal or home usage foggers, thermal foggers will cost you less than ULV foggers, because cold foggers are multi-use devices that can be used for all sorts of fogging works and can be used both indoors and outdoors, so they have more complex construction and functions. Thermal foggers for personal use can cost even two times less than ULV foggers. The average price of a thermal fogger is starting from approx. 50 dollars for personal use products up to few thousand for professional products, while the average price for cold foggers start at approx. 200 dollars and also goes over thousand dollar for professional equipment.
In areas where safety is a concern a cold fogger is going to be better suited than thermal fogger. Thermal foggers operate at high temperatures, which can cause fire risks when used indoors. The burning assembly of a thermal fogger can get very hot, which can cause burns to skin if touched with bare hands while operating. Also, thermal foggers output thick cloud of white to grey fog that can cause traffic hazards if used in an urban area. Another risk with thermal foggers is that they can drip fogging solutions and carrier from the nozzle if the fogger is not heated to proper temperature and outputs a wet fog.
Insecticide is the liquid you pour into your fogger or any other device used to kill and/or repel mosquitoes and many other kind of insects and pests. It usually is powerful concentrated substance that has the abilities to not only kill adult insects, but also eliminate insect larvae and eggs to further ensure that the mosquitoes are abolished from your area and won’t attack and prevent you from enjoying time outdoors.
There are commercial grade insecticides as well as ones for home use, because insecticide is used in many different fields such as agriculture and even medicine, because the insecticide destroys also all the diseases and viruses that are carried by mosquitoes or other insects.
Insecticide is classified mainly by the way the insecticide works on insects and what type of substances are used to make these insecticides. This is why insecticides vary from very natural ones that have very little chemicals in their solution, to those who are full on chemical and also quite dangerous if not used right. And from those who affect insect nerve cells and kill them that way to those who target insect skeletal muscle, calcium channels and kill them by blocking insect nerve transmissions. The one type of insecticide especially worth mention is plaint-incorporated protectant, because it is formulated so that insects cannot build a tolerance against this insecticide.
There are four main insecticides that are used specifically when fighting mosquitoes. First there is Malathion that is more commercial grade, because mainly used to spry crops and rid them from mosquitoes. Then there is Permethrin that is not harmful to pets or humans, but might cause damage to bees and fish, and Scourge and Anvil is also a common mosquito repelling insecticide.
How to use a mosquito fogger?
Effective particle size for mosquito control
As mosquitoes are pretty small insects in size, smaller particles are more effective for mosquito control. Effective particle size for mosquito control applications is in range from 5-25 microns in diameter.
This particle size can be produced by most thermal and ULV foggers. Smaller particles in size are going to be less effective, because they can be easily cleared away from intended area with the slightest wind breeze, and also they might contain insufficient amounts of active ingredient that kills mosquitoes, so these tiny particles may be ineffective when coming in contact with a mosquito. Larger particles than 20-25 microns also won’t be so effective, because they are sprayed in much lower density and cannot fully cover an area in opposite to particles in smaller size. Also larger particles are heavier and will fall to ground in much shorter amount of time and so will reach lower amount of mosquitoes in the air. Particles in 5-25 micron range are the most effective size for mosquito control, as they contain enough active ingredient to kill a mosquito when coming in contact with it, they are dense and will fully cover an area, so no mosquitoes can escape the cloud of fog and also, because these particles are light, they stay in air for longer time than heavier particles, but at the same time are large enough to not get blown away with a slightest breeze.
For other type of insects and bugs different size particles are going to be effective. For larger insects such as flies and wasps you will want to use a fogger that can produce particles larger than 30 microns and for agricultural pests and bugs particles from 70 to 300 microns and larger are going to provide the best results of fogging.
Usage of mosquito fogger depends on the type of a fogger you have – thermal or cold.
Thermal fogger usage
Thermal foggers work with gas, which for most models is a propane gas, so first thing you need is a propane gas cylinder. Some mosquito foggers come with a propane cylinder when you purchase the unit, but for most models you will need to purchase the propane cylinder separately. Before purchasing a propane cylinder read the product specifications or operation instructions to know what type and size of gas cylinder is suitable for the fogger. Besides thermal propane foggers there are also electric thermal foggers. If you have purchased a thermal fogger that works on electricity instead of gas you will need an electric outlet to plug the fogger. If you want to fog outdoors, use an extension cord that is made for an outdoor use.
Next thing you’ll need is a fogging solution that is suited for mosquito control. Most foggers have recommendations on what type of insecticide can be used with certain fogging device. Fogging solutions are either oil or water based, some foggers will work with oil based solutions, others with water and some can work with both types of solutions, this is usually indicated in the operation manual of the fogger. The fogging solution needs to be filled inside a solution container. Cheaper thermal foggers have plastic tanks while more expensive professional models will have metal solution tanks that are more durable than plastic models. Most thermal foggers have a detachable solution tank that is located on the bottom of the fogger, but some models have a built in solution tank. Do not overfill insecticide into the tank or it may spill out when fogging and also make sure to fill enough insecticide for fogger to work, because the pump of some foggers will not reach to the bottom of a solution tank and won’t be able to pump the solution when fogging trigger is pressed. When attaching the tank back to the fogger make sure to secure it tightly or the fogger may not work correctly.
After fogging solution has been filled inside the container and it has been attached tightly to the fogger, the next thing to do is to attach the propane cylinder to the fogger, if you have a propane fogger or plug an electric cable into an outlet if you have an electric fogger. You must close the fuel valve of a propane fogger before inserting a propane cylinder in the fogger. Also check if there aren’t any dirt or debris on the end of cylinder before inserting it into the fogger.
When all parts have been attached to the thermal fogger it is time to light it up. For thermal electric foggers there is a switch on the body of the fogger that simply turns the unit on. To light a thermal propane fogger you first need to open the fuel valve until you hear a gas flow. Next you need to ignite a burner, some foggers will have an auto ignite button that when pressed lights a spark to the coil which ignites the burner, but on models that does not have an ignite button you will need to light the coil manually by placing a match or lighter to the burner. When the fogger has been lit, it is important to let it heat up for couple of minutes for both propane and thermal models before usage. This is needed for a fogger to produce dry fog, because if the heat assembly of fogger hasn’t reached sufficient temperature, it won’t be able to heat the fogging solution to the correct temperature to fully vaporize it and in result the fog produced will be wetter and some amount of solution can start dripping from the nozzle when fogging.
When fogger has been heated up for couple of minutes you can start using the unit. If your fogger has a fogging trigger button make sure to release it or else you won’t be able to press the trigger. To pump the insecticide from the container to the heat assembly, where it heats up and sprays out trough the nozzle as fog, press the fogging trigger that is located under the handle for most thermal foggers. Make sure to keep an interval of couple seconds between trigger presses to allow the heat assembly to heat up to correct temperature for dry fogging. It is recommended to observe the color of fog to indicate whether the fogger is working properly. The fog cloud produced by a thermal fogger must be thick in white to gray color. If you notice flame from the fogger, liquid dripping from the nozzle or fog in yellow or brown colors, the fogger is not working correctly, you should stop fogging, read the operation and maintenance instructions that came with the fogger and try to locate and fix the problem.
To turn the fogger off lock the fogging trigger by pushing the lock bottom on the fogger, allow for all insecticide to fog out of the coil for couple of minutes and turn off the gas supply by closing the fuel valve of the fogger. Leave the fogger to completely cool down before further operations. Before storing the fogger empty and clean the container from any fogging solutions and also remove the propane gas cylinder.
ULV fogger usage
The operation of ULV foggers is simpler than thermal foggers, although the devices themselves may even be more complicated than thermal foggers. The first thing to do is to locate an electric outlet, because practically all ULV foggers (except some professional models) work on electricity that powers the electric motor inside the fogger. Some companies manufacture multiple ULV fogger models for different voltages, for example one 110V and other 220V model. If you want to use the fogger outdoors, you will probably need an extension cord, because majority of ULV foggers come with just few feet long electric cords. For fogging backyard or other outdoor areas, use only an extension cord that is suited for outdoor usage.
When you have located an electric outlet, next thing to do is fill in a fogging solution. Most ULV foggers allow to use both oil and water based fogging solutions. The solution tank for ULV foggers can be either detachable or built into the fogger. If your fogger has got a detachable solution tank, detach it from the fogger, fill in the fogging solution and attach the tank back to the fogger. Make sure to properly tighten the solution tank to the fogger. If your fogger has a built in solution tank, take the cap off the tank, fill in a fogging solution and screw the cap back on the tank.
The next thing to do is adjust the flow rate of the fogger. In opposite to most thermal fogger, on ULV foggers you can adjust the flow rate and particle size the fogger produces. There is a flow adjustment valve on the fogger that allows increasing or decreasing the flow rate. Larger flow rate will produce mist containing particles in larger size suited for applying sanitizing liquids, and decreasing the flow rate will produce fine mist or fog containing smaller particles useful for control of mosquitoes, other insects and pests. Turn the flow rate on by turning the flow adjustment valve on the fogger or else no fog will be produced by the fogger.
Now you can plug the fogger into an electric outlet and turn it on by pressing an on/off button or on/off switch which is located on the body of the fogger. Turning the fogger on will start to power the electric motor and the fogger will produce fog with the flow rate you previously set up. ULV foggers in opposite to thermal foggers do not need to be constantly operated and they can be left to fog automatically, which is useful when you need to fog a larger indoor area.
When you have finished fogging turn the fogger off by first turning of the flow rate by closing the flow rate adjustment valve. When the flow rate has been turned off, only then you can turn off the motor by pressing the on/off switch. If you do both these steps in opposite order and first turn off the motor and only then try to turn off the flow rate, the fogger might start dripping fogging solution into the hose, which can flow back to the fogging tool and eventually damage the motor of a fogger. When the fogger has been turned off and you have unplugged it from electricity, empty the solution tank and wash it from any remaining liquids with water, so no chemicals remain in the tank and that could damage it. Store the fogger in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight for the next use. Also most ULV foggers have filters on the bottom that protect the motor from liquids, which need to be changed after some time to ensure that the fogger works at its best.
Where to fog
Before using a mosquito fogger it is important to locate all areas around your backyard where mosquitoes reside and treat these areas directly to reduce a mosquito population in yard. You need to look for dark and humid places around your yard, preferably areas with standing water, where water has been present for couple of days. These areas include vegetation such as shrubbery, trees, tall grass, plants and other, different objects around the yard that can collect rain water such as old rubber tires, metal cans and barrels, and many other similar places. You can also look for larger places with standing water such as pools without chloride water, swamps, ponds and other areas. There are practically no limitations of areas where mosquitoes can reside and reproduce, until that spot is in a darker place and has got permanent source of standing water.
When you have located these areas around your yard, it is time to start taking action. Fill your mosquito fogger with appropriate insecticide and start fogging. Targeted fogging is going to be the most effective for reducing a mosquito population. Get rid of all areas with standing water by spilling out the water. If you cannot reach the area with standing water such as clogged rain gutters or cannot get rid of the water, you can fog these areas multiple times to get rid of mosquitoes in these places and also limit their population by destroying mosquito eggs from the water. When fogging shrubbery and plants make sure to fog under the leaves where it is darker in day and where mosquitoes like to hide from sun. Also fog around trees and try to fog tree tops that are covered with leaves, because mosquitoes use these hard to reach areas to hide during daytime. Also fog in longer grass and smaller bushes and look for other dark and humid places to fog around your house and yard where mosquitoes might be.
When is the best time to fog?
The best time to fog is when mosquito activity is the highest. Most mosquito species are active during evenings and early mornings and only some mosquito species are active during middle of day. Generally the best time to fog is in evenings around dusk because of the following reasons. First, the wind at this time, same as in early mornings, is very calm which makes perfect conditions for fogging and which also is one of the reasons why mosquitoes are active during this time of day. Also at evening hours the temperature outside has lowered and temperature closer to the ground is going to be higher than one in the air, so the fog is going to stay closer to the ground and reach larger count of insects for longer time. And third, most good insects and bugs such as butterflies and bees are active during day hours and activity ends before evenings, so fogging at this time won’t harm these good insects and bugs. When it’s not a good time to fog is during high wind conditions, because fog will immediately get blown away from the desired area in uncontrolled direction and can get in contact not only with harmless insects and bugs, but also other people, children and pets, or it can be redirected back to you. So choose only windless or low wind conditions for fogging.
Top fogger manufacturers
The Fountainhead Group, Inc. (Burgess, Black flag)
The Fountainhead Group, Inc. is probably the oldest and experienced company when it comes to thermal fogger manufacturing and spray applications. They have been around since 1880 and has only grown larger since then. Today their products are sold under such well known thermal fogger brands as Black Flag, Burgess and two others called Cutter and Repel. Black Flag brand is known for making thermal propane fogger as well as insecticide formulas for mosquito control, while Burgess brand has got one of the best selling thermal propane mosquito fogger – Burgess 1443 and professional thermal electric Burgess 982 fogger. The Fountainhead Group, Inc. has made the first compressed air sprayer as well as the first propane thermal fogger over 50 years ago. Besides thermal foggers and insecticides this company also sells backpack sprayers, indian fire pumps, lawn and garden sprayers and many other useful products.
Bonide Products, Inc.
Bonide Products, Inc. was started by two brothers James and George Wurz in 1926 who sold cattle sprays and almost 90 years later Bonide Products is still a family business, who cares about their customers. Bonide are producing different solutions for garden, pest and insect problems as well as few mosquito foggers. They also have one of the best selling insecticide solutions on the market for mosquito control. Another good aspect about this company is that it sells spare parts for its foggers, which is very useful if your fogger breaks, because you can change just a single part and not all the fogger.
Longray is one of the largest ULV and thermal fogging device manufacturers today. Longray is a worldwide supplier for fogging equipment and their customers lopcate all around the world. Longray produce professional thermal foggers that are used to fight viruses, bacteria, diseases and are also used for mosquito and pest control in large areas. Longray also sells personal use and professional ULV foggers. Their personal use foggers are between top selling ULV foggers on the market and are used for wide variety of applications, starting from disinfectant sprays, mold and odor control, to indoor pest and bug control and outdoor insect control.
Fogmaster is a company that started in 1982 and produced foggers and sprayers that used cold fogging techniques. Today they produce variety of cold ULV foggers starting from handheld foggers, to drum mounted and sentinel modular foggers. Their best selling model is a simple but effective handheld ULV fogger called Fogmaster Jr. 5330. Their product range starts from foggers that can output wet fog with 30 micron and larger particles to foggers that can output dry fog with 10 micron small particles. Because of that their products can be used for wide variety of applications from indoor odor and mold control to outdoor mosquito control.
H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company
H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company is one of the largest global fogger manufacturers and distributors with manufacturing in the U.S., Mexico and Asia. The company now has over 100 years of experience that has helped them grow the business in becoming one of the leading manufacturers of sprayers for different applications, from garden sprays, to agricultural sprays and pest control and public health products. Their wide product range start with small and simple handheld sprayers and yard sprayers to propane and ULV foggers and industrial spray tools.
Curtis Dyna-Fog, Ltd. has over 60 years of experience in the field and was founded in 1947 by Russell R. Curtis and his father W.H. Curtis. Today Curtis Dyna-Fog has become one of the main producers of both cold and thermal fogging equipment in the world and their headquarters are still located in the USA and their products are also manufacturer in the USA. Their main focus is making and selling professional fogging equipment, starting from high power thermal foggers used for large area mosquito and other vector control, as well as personal and professional ULV foggers that can be used in smaller indoor areas such as individual houses up to large warehouses to spray sanitizing liquids to fight viruses, bad odors, molds, mildew and other problems, and also can be used outdoors for mosquito and other pest control. They also produce various light traps that use special light to attract, trap and kill mosquitoes.
InsectCop TOP5 Best mosquito foggers for personal use
||Fogmaster Jr 5330
||Bonide 420 Fog-Rx
|Thermal propane fogger
||Thermal propane fogger
Burgess 1443 propane insect fogger
If you know what a mosquito control is, you have definitely heard about the Burgess brand, which is amongst the leading brands of manufacturing and selling thermal mosquito foggers. This Burgess 1443 is a propane powered thermal fogger, which is one of the most popular mosquito foggers on the market for personal use. And there are good reasons why people choose this product to fight with a mosquito problem. First of all, the fogger is very cheap when compared with professional thermal foggers that will cost you well over 1000 dollars and even when compared to most ULV foggers that cost around 200 dollars. You can get this Burgess 1443 mosquito fogger for around 50-60 bucks. The whole unit is made from a durable plastic material, which is also pretty light weighting about 2.8 pounds (1.27 kg) with an empty container and has got a nice handle on the top of the unit that makes carrying of this fogger easier. It is equipped with a 40 oz (1.9 l) solution container and is recommended to use with the Black Flag insecticide. The fogger will output large and thick cloud of dry fog that can penetrate even the smallest gaps under leaves of plants, in thick bushes, tall grass and tree leafage. The manufacturer The Fountainhead Group, Inc. provides a 1 year warranty for this product.
For more extensive information read our full Burgess 1443 propane fogger review.
Fogmaster Jr 5330 fogger
Compact and effective are two words that best characterizes Fogmaster Jr 5330 fogger. And not only, this ULV fogger is also very affordable for an ULV fogger costing just over 120 dollars. The fogger offers similar features as other ULV foggers such as adjustable flow rate and particle size. This tool can output particles from 15-40 microns, which is appropriate particle size for mosquito control applications. Because this is a very compact tool it also is light with a full body plastic. The weight of the tool is just 5 pounds (2 kg) with empty tank and it also features a large handle so it is easy to carry it around. Fogging solutions are atomized in fine mist with ¼ HP electric motor, which is quite loud for such a small device that is the only disadvantage we found with this sprayer. Fogmaster Jr 5330 can work with both water and oil based solutions, so you can use it for wide variety of applications, starting from mosquito control to spraying sanitizing liquids indoors or fogging plants outdoors. The fogger is able to spray in approx. 10 feet (3 m) distance with maximum power. Fogmaster Jr 5330 ULV fogger features a 32 oz (0.95 l) solution container, which is pretty small when compared to other ULV foggers with 0.8 gallon (3 l) tanks, but because this is a compact and economical fogger, the capacity of tank will be sufficient for majority of applications. Manufacturer Fogmaster backs this fogger with a 1 year warranty.
For additional information of this product read our full Fogmaster Jr 5330 review.
Bonide 420 Fog-Rx propane fogger
Bonide is known not only for manufacturing propane foggers but also effective insecticide solutions for mosquito control. Bonide 420 Fog-Rx is their best selling mosquito fogger. This is a thermal fogger that uses a propane gas to heat the heat assembly and vaporize the fogging solution. The fogger features a durable nylon plastic cylinder and is very light, weighting only 4 pounds (1.8 kg). The fogger has got a portable design with comfortable handle to carry it around. You will need to purchase additional propane cylinder to operate the fogger, as the product comes without a cylinder. On the fogger itself you will find some useful triggers such as auto ignite button that when pressed lights a spark to the coil, so you don’t have to light the fogger manually with a match or a lighter. It also has got a trigger lock button, so you accidentally don’t press the fogging trigger and release fog while operating the fogger. And under the handle there is a large fogging trigger button. Bonide 420 Fog-Rx propane fogger will output a large and dense cloud of fog that will reach mosquitoes even in tiniest places. Remember to wait for few minutes after lighting the fogger to allow it to heat up to the right temperature before starting to fog. This mosquito fogger will cost you around 60 dollars with additional 10 bucks for a propane cylinder.
For more information read our full Bonide 420 Fog-Rx propane fogger review.
Tri Jet ULV fogger
Tri Jet is an ULV fogger that uses cold spraying methods for fogging. The fogger is manufactured by a company called Createch USA. This is a personal use fogger with features and specs of a professional fogger, so it can be easily used in commercial applications. This ULV fogger will cost you about 200 dollars, but it is definitely worth it if you need a universal fogger that can be used for both indoor and outdoor applications. Tri Jet fogger is powered by a powerful 1000W motor. The device features a durable full aluminum body and solution tank. Fogger can be used as a portable fogger and it has got a carrying handle on the top of the unit, however because of its large capacity solution tank, powerful motor and a metal body it is pretty heavy weighting 13 pounds (5.9 kg). Tri-Jet fogger has got a large 1.2 gallon (4.5 l) solution tank and can be used with both water and oil based solutions. It can spray fogging solutions in 30 feet (9 m) distance. ULV sprayer has got an adjustable flow rate and particle size from 15-30 microns. The fog is released trough three action nozzles. Because of its high power, large size with full metal body, long spray distance, adjustable flow rate and ability to use both water and oil based solutions this fogger has broad usage spectrum, from mosquito and other pest control in indoor and outdoor applications, to odor and mold control indoors, sanitizing large indoor areas such as warehouses and many other uses. Manufacturer Createch USA provides a huge 5 year warranty for Tri Jet ULV fogger.
For more information read our full Tri Jet ULV fogger review.
Hudson 99598 ULV fogger
Hudson 99598 is an ULV fogger manufactured by H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company, which produces many different personal and professional use sprayers. This is a pretty large fogger with a high capacity solution tank that can also be carried around thanks to the handle on top of the unit as well as the fabric strap that comes with the fogger. You can find Hudson 99598 ULV fogger for just over 200 dollars. This tool has got few advantages that will be useful for different spraying applications including mosquito control. First of all it is equipped with a large solution tank with 2 gallon (7.5 l) capacity, so you can be sure that fogger won’t require refill after short time of fogging. However, the fogger by itself is heavy weighting 11 pounds (5 kg), but with a full solution tank the weight of the tool can reach over 20 pounds (9 kg). The body of the fogger as well as the solution tank are made from a durable plastic and there is a metal strap to attach the solution tank to fogger. This powerful ULV fogger features an adjustable flow rate from 1.5-14 gallons (5.6-53 l) per hour and can produce particles in 22-46 micron range. This allows to use the fogger for wide variety of indoor and outdoor applications, from fogging plants outdoors or in greenhouses with pesticides to protect them from pests, as well as fogging outdoors with insecticide to reduce a mosquito population in a backyard, fogging disinfectants in indoor areas and many other applications. Hudson 99598 fogger also has got a flex hose that can be used to access and fog hard to reach places under house, in tall tree tops, clogged rain gutters, indoors behind furniture and gaps in floor or ceiling and other areas. It can spray solutions in approx. 13.5 feet (4.1 m) far distance. H.D. Hudson Manufacturing Company provides a 90 day warranty for this product.
For more information read our full Hudson 99598 ULV fogger review.