As summer closes, the nation has seen a rash of EEE outbreaks.  Due to the high mortality rate that the disease poses, approximately 30% in humans (SOURCE:  CDC), public health departments turn to aerial applications to blunt further spread of the virus.  And for good reason.

Movement of both infected birds and infected mosquitoes amplify the virus. So fast, wide area treatment is the only practical and best practice means of suppressing the mosquito population and the disease transmission. (Guidance from the American State and Territory Health Organization – Page 26)

What is aerial application?

Aerial pesticide application immediately conjures up an image of a bi-wing crop dusting plane. That is NOT what aerial mosquito control looks like.

Aerial mosquito control applications use less than an ounce of product per acre. Compare that to the 1 pint to 3 gallons per acre of typical agricultural insecticide applications.  (SOURCE: Page 5, EPA Commercial Aerial Application Guide)

The planes used for aerial application are quiet, twin engine jets that fly at 300 feet at 170 mph. They use on-board software to take into account wind speed, wind direction, humidity and temperature as well as the product used to determine how deliver the product to the target zone. That means a plane may well fly over an area and not apply anything directly below.

A final distinction about aerial mosquito control is it is performed after sunset. That’s when mosquitoes are out and about, looking for blood meals.

Cloud vs. Cover

The other key distinction between mosquito and agricultural applications is droplet size. In mosquito control, droplets the size of the head of a pin are used to create a cloud that will drift through target application zones to impinge upon flying mosquitoes. (The amount of product applied is circled in the image of this blog header.) The purpose of agricultural applications, in essence, is to fall straight down and cover a plant with product.  Big difference.

The reason such small droplets are used is to deliver the right dose to a mosquito. Products are formulated specifically for a mosquito’s body type and size, which on average weighs between 2.5 to 10 mg, and works only by direct contact. Comparatively, honeybees weigh about 100 mg, Monarch butterflies and Luna moths are 750 to 1000 mg in body weight.

Safety Over Organic Crops and Livestock

From 2007 through 2017 there was a 121% increase in organic food demand in the U.S. (Source:  Organic Industry Survey 2018 ).  With that, more and more public health mosquito abatement programs have been challenge to provide uniform nuisance and disease vectoring mosquito control as a result of not being able to apply in or around certified organic crops. That changed with the introduction of Merus, an adulticide created at Clarke.

Merus is the only OMRI Listed public health adulticide available. This means the product – the active ingredient, the inert ingredients and manufacturing process – has been reviewed to ensure no residuals of concern are left, thus maintaining organic status.

About Merus 3.0 Adulticide

Of all the active ingredients used in public health mosquito control, natural pyrethrin used in Merus 3.0 breaks down the quickest by sunlight.

Natural pyrethrin is not miscible in water, meaning it does not want to mix or spread throughout a body or container of water. Instead, it wants to lay on top of the water surface, exposed to sun . . . and break down.

There are only two inert ingredients in Merus: vegetable oil and a proprietary, vegetable-derived biodegradable emollient commonly used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and mouthwash as well as in flavorings used for baked goods and candies. Like the active ingredient, these two inerts also do not like water.  Therefore, the complete formulation as applied wants to roll off vegetation, not stick, helping to diminish potential for residual exposure.

Dried Merus residues are not toxic. Any insect or animal who eats plants, ground cover or another insect after a treatment will not be harmed.