It’s still early in mosquito season for some parts of the country, and as the ‘skeeter populations begin to build, many homeowners are exploring their options for keeping their own properties as mosquito-free as possible during the summer season.
Based on Clarke’s nearly 70 years of work in public health mosquito control, here are a few things to know when considering hiring a mosquito abatement service for your home:
- Eliminate standing water first so mosquitoes can’t breed.
- Look into all the different service companies providing mosquito control services in your community.
- Understand the different application types and what you prefer.
- Make sure service providers are using EPA-registered mosquito control products.
ELIMINATE STANDING WATER
The very first and most effective thing you can do to fight mosquito breeding on your property is routinely eliminate standing water sources around your home. And…it’s free!!!
Even the tiniest amount of water left standing for just 4 – 7 days in a child’s toy or the base of a planter can be enough for some species to lay eggs in. Eliminate the water, and mosquitoes can’t breed.
If you have a water source that can’t be eliminated, like a decorative pond or rain barrel, consider treating that water source with an extended control larvicide tablet. These products prevent mosquito larvae from becoming biting adults. There are several on the market for consumer purchase, and Clarke makes one too called Natular DT.
ASSESS YOUR OPTIONS
A quick Google search will produce a list of several companies providing residential mosquito control services in your community. You’ll find local landscapers, national franchise lawn care businesses, general pest control companies, and of course, specialized mosquito control businesses, all offering solutions for nuisance relief and disease prevention.
Consider what matters to you as you evaluate these options. Price only? Products used? Having a method of treatment appropriate for your property? Ability to offer notification in advance of each application? Looking for a one-time service or routine, scheduled treatments? All of these are things that can help you choose a best fit service provider.
UNDERSTAND APPLICATION TYPES
Typically, residential property treatments include a barrier application, which applies an EPA-registered insecticide through a backpack to the foliage around your property. This is where adult mosquitoes harbor during daytime hours. Residues from this insecticide will remain on the plant foliage and provide mosquito control for 7 to 30 days, depending on what type of product is used, what dose is applied, and, of course, weather conditions.
Larger properties may also require or include a ULV spray application. This is different from barrier treatments. ULV treatments are done by mounting an ultra-low-volume sprayer to an ATV and spraying a fine mist of an EPA-registered insecticide into the air. The mist is made up of tiny droplets that move through the air in order to make contact with adult mosquitoes in-flight. This type of treatment is highly effective for quickly taking down mosquito populations, but it does not provide any extended control.
Some companies also offer repellents in a residential service package. Essential oil blends or even garlic treatments are common repellent solutions. Keep in mind the purpose of a repellent is to keep mosquitoes away for a period of time. They will not reduce populations.
ASK ABOUT PRODUCTS
All products for mosquito control are not created equal and there are several options available today, including both EPA and non-EPA registered products (essential oil blends are an example of a non-EPA registered option). The most important thing to verify is that a service provider is using EPA-registered insecticides, and applying them according to the label. In order to be registered with the EPA, all products go through rigorous testing and are evaluated to be sure that when used according to the label, there is a reasonable certainty of safety to humans, animals and the environment from their use. The labeling on EPA-registered products tells applicators how, when, where and at what rate the product needs to be applied to work as designed.
Additionally, only EPA-registered products are required to prove their performance against mosquitoes. EPA-registered products must demonstrate that they can kill or repel at least three of the most prevalent species of mosquitoes in the U.S., in at least five different geographic locations, and for the length of time the manufacturer claims.
Ultimately, using EPA-registered products ensures that the product has been fully assessed, will be safe to use on your property, and will do its job.
If you have questions about how Clarke approaches residential mosquito control, drop us a line.