Mosquitoes, indeed, have an almost freakish ability to find homo sapiens – and the human blood that they crave. They are drawn to us by, among other things, the warmth given off by our bodies, and the smell and odor of carbon dioxide and other natural bodily secretions emitted by our skin. Although they have a short lifespan (only 2-3 weeks), mosquitoes breed very quickly; most females of the species will lay many hundred eggs and spawn large numbers of offspring in a very short of time.
They require water to reproduce – some potential laying areas for mosquitoes include streams, ponds, creeks, swimming pools, buckets of water or pot plants containing water, bird baths, fish ponds, shrubs, and trees.
Forms of mosquito control – mosquito foggers
Mosquito foggers do precisely that. These devices disperse insecticide over areas that mosquitoes are known to congregate and breed. The insecticide comes in the form of a mist or ‘fog’ of small droplets of the chemical. The mosquitoes that come in contact with the poisonous insecticide are killed outright, and often instantly. Foggers can discharge their contents directly onto foliage and lawn, or your home’s indoor surfaces or they can be sprayed into the air and land on those surfaces indirectly.
As mosquitoes are most active during the periods of early morning and in the late afternoon, fogging is most effective when conducted at these times.
Foggers are the devices of choice for pest control professionals tasked with regulating mosquito populations.
Various types of foggers
There are actually two different types of mosquito foggers, Thermal, and Electric mosquito foggers. Thermal foggers make use of heating coils that convert an insecticide from a liquid into a mist or fog. They are ideal for using them in outdoor areas like large yards, patios etc. These devices are capable of operating on a small butane gas cylinder and are thus very portable and versatile. But be sure not to use in enclosed spaces, due to the risk of asphyxiation! Electrical foggers, on the other hand, run on electricity, which they use to transform the fogging liquid into a fine mist that is then dispersed into the surrounding air.
About mosquito fogger insecticides
Due to the chemical residue they leave, residual chemicals are not recommended for use outdoors due to the effect they have on other wildlife. They may be more suited to indoor applications.
For outdoor applications, you should be looking at non-residual pesticides. Fogging with these chemicals is much like going over your garden with a very large can of mosquito spray. With a mosquito fogger, you can apply this type of insecticide to large stretches of the mosquito-infested area, including foliage, lawns, and gardens – or spray directly into the air. Unlike residual chemicals, non-residual insecticides have a much shorter half-life, ie their potency rapidly decreases after application resulting in a much-reduced impact on other wildlife. When applied directly to foliage or lawn, the insecticide will continue to work for a number of days before it is broken down (particularly by rain). When released into the air, it is usually only effective for a few hours before it dissipates and becomes too diffuse to be effective.
The most common active ingredients
- Malathion: this is an organophosphate that is often used as a crop-spraying insecticide, though it is also commonly used in mosquito fogging devices. You can spray it directly on vegetation, like the bushes where mosquitoes are known to dwell or use it in a 5 percent solution for fogging your yard.
- Permethrin – permethrin is one among a number of chemicals known as pyrethroids, a synthetic replica of a naturally occurring insecticide found in certain species of the chrysanthemum flower. Generally mixed with oil or with water and applied as a mist, permethrin kills the mosquitoes by interfering with the central nervous system of the creatures (this is how malathion works as well).
Both of these ingredients are powerful insecticides, and can also be toxic to fish and small birds (something to 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 used to control mosquitoes. Permethrin is probably a more eco-friendly ingredient that malathion.