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 lifespan of only 2-3 weeks, mosquitoes breed very quickly. Most females will lay many hundreds of eggs and spawn large numbers of offspring in a very short of time.
They need water to reproduce, so some potential nesting areas for mosquitoes include streams, ponds, creeks, swimming pools, buckets of water, planters, birdbaths, fish ponds, shrubs, and trees.
Using Mosquito Foggers for Mosquito Control
Mosquito foggers do just that. These devices disperse insecticide in the areas that mosquitoes congregate and breed. The insecticide appears in the form of a mist or fog of small droplets with the chemical inside it. The mosquitoes that come in contact with the poisonous insecticide are killed, often instantly. Foggers can discharge their contents directly onto foliage and lawns. If sprayed in the air, they allow the product to land on those surfaces indirectly.
Mosquitoes are most active during in the early morning and late afternoon, so fogging is most effective when done at those times.
Foggers are the devices of choice for pest control professionals when regulating mosquito populations.
Types of Foggers
There are two main types of mosquito fogger: thermal and electric. Thermal foggers use heating coils to 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 butane 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! Electrical foggers, on the other hand, run on electricity. They use this to transform 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.
Due to the chemical residue they leave, it is not a good idea to use residual chemicals outdoors because of the effect they have on other wildlife. They are more suited to indoor applications.
For outdoor applications, you should look for non-residual pesticides. 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. Or you can simply spray it directly into the air.
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. When applied directly to your foliage or lawn, the insecticide will continue to work for several days before being broken down, by rain in particular. When released into the air, it is usually only effective for a few hours before becoming too diffuse to be effective.
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. You can also use it in a 5% solution to fog your yard.
- 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 probably a more eco-friendly ingredient than malathion.