Mosquitoes seem to have an almost freakish ability to find us and the human blood that they crave. We attract them with the warmth of our bodies and the smell of carbon dioxide and other natural secretions emitted by our skin, among other things. Even though they have a short average lifespan of only 2-3 weeks, they can live longer (up to 6 months) and they typically breed very quickly. Most females will lay many hundreds of eggs and spawn large numbers of offspring in a very short amount of time.
They need water to reproduce, so some potential nesting areas for mosquitoes include lakes, swamps/marshes, swimming pools, buckets of water, planters, birdbaths, fish ponds, and trees.
Using Mosquito Foggers for Mosquito Control
Mosquito foggers do just that. These devices disperse insecticide into the air and should be directed at the areas mosquitoes use to congregate and breed. The insecticide appears in the form of a mist or fog of small droplets of insecticide. The mosquitoes that come in contact with the poison are killed, often instantly. You can discharge fogger contents directly onto foliage and lawns or allow it to drift from a distance.
Mosquitoes are most active during in the early morning and late afternoon/evening, so fogging is most effective when done at those times.
Foggers are the devices of choice for pest control professionals when regulating mosquito populations.
There are two main types of mosquito fogger: thermal and electric.
- Thermal foggers use flame to heat coils that convert an insecticide from a liquid into a mist or fog. They are ideal for use in outdoor areas like large yards, patios, and so on. These devices are capable of operating using only a small propane gas cylinder, which makes them very portable and versatile. But, be sure not to use them in enclosed spaces due to the risk of asphyxiation and burns!
- Electrical foggers (also called ultra-low volume or ULV, foggers), on the other hand, run on electricity (from an outlet or battery). They use this to generate high pressure that transforms the fogging liquid into a fine mist that they then disperse into the surrounding air.
The Insecticides Used in Mosquito Foggers
Generally speaking, these chemicals are divided into two types: residual and non-residual.
- Residual Chemicals – leave a residue that remains active for hours to weeks. Because insecticides are lethal to beneficial insects as well as pests, they may not be the best option for your lawn or garden.
- Non-Residual Chemicals – do not persist on surfaces and are only active during and immediately after treatment. Fogging with these chemicals is similar to going over your garden with a large can of mosquito spray. With a mosquito fogger, you can apply this type of insecticide to large stretches of land. These mosquito-infested areas can include foliage, lawns, and gardens. Unlike their residual counterparts, non-residual insecticides have a much shorter half-life. This means that their potency rapidly decreases after application, resulting in much less impact on other wildlife.
Mosquito Foggers Insecticides: Common Active Ingredients
- Malathion: This is an organophosphate that is often used to spray crops as well as in mosquito fogging devices. You can spray it directly on vegetation where you know the mosquitoes dwell. Its residual effectiveness varies with the type of surface onto which it is sprayed, remaining active on wood surfaces longer than plaster.
- Permethrin: This is one among many chemicals known as pyrethroids. These chemicals are synthetic replicas of a naturally occurring insecticide found in certain species of the chrysanthemum flower. Generally, you mix these chemicals with oil or water and apply them as a mist.
Both of these ingredients work by interfering with the central nervous system of their target insects. Because they are powerful insecticides, they can also be toxic to fish and small birds. This is something you should bear in mind if you care about the other fauna in your yard. But they are generally safe for humans when applied in the quantities recommended to control mosquitoes. Permethrin is less likely to enter groundwater than malathion and may be slightly safer for the environment as a result.