Mosquito Control - Advice from the Experts
When it comes
to mosquito control, over-the-fence advice is not good enough. Even though
Uncle Mardy chewed garlic every day and never was bitten by mosquitoes,
that doesn't mean YOU would have the same results. (And don't forget,
Uncle Mardy died a bachelor!)
Experts were consulted for this
article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and not a single one had
garlic on his breath.
COVER STORY: The goods: What works,
Here's what some experts have to say about the various
kinds of mosquito-control products on the market:
Deborah Geering - For
Thursday, August 1, 2002
Mark Brown, associate entomology professor, University of
John Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University
Elmer Gray, research coordinator/public health entomologist,
University of Georgia
Rosmarie Kelly, medical entomologist, state
division of public health
Cheryl Turner, Richmond County environmental
health specialist, Augusta
Day: ''In terms of single-application
protection --- that is the amount of time you can get from a single
application --- there's nothing that beats DEET.'' Also, because the
product has been around so long, manufacturers have improved on the
fragrance and feel. ''I remember the DEET products from the '50s, and they
were awful. Now the formulations are really nice.''
Gray: ''DEET is
the most effective repellent on the market to date and is the standard
[against which] all others are compared. Children [up to age 5\] should
use products containing 10 percent active ingredient or less and an adult
should apply the repellent to the
Gray: ''Permethrin is a relatively nontoxic pesticide that
is only approved for use on clothing as a repellent. The most complete
repellent combination would be to use permethrin on one's clothing and
DEET on one's skin.''
Kelly: ''It should only be used on clothing.
Generally it lasts a couple of weeks and should last through washings. It
also repels ticks.''
Repellents for the skin,
including plant oils such as citronella, catnip, eucalyptus, peppermint,
Gray: ''Botanical repellent formulas have shown some
effectiveness, but are not typically as effective as DEET and need to be
reapplied much more often. Since West Nile virus has been found throughout
the state and especially in the Atlanta area, I'd recommend using the best
Day: ''Oil of eucalyptus has only become
available in this country in the past year. Of all the plant-based
products, oil of eucalyptus seems to hold the most promise in terms of
reasonable protection times with a single application.''
with all botanical products is that in effective concentrations, they can
be irritating to the skin.
''They are natural products, but that
doesn't mean they're not toxic. And some of them are really toxic. One of
the best stories is oil of pennyroyal. There was a thought at one time
that it would be an excellent flea treatment for dogs. They found that
when they had a high enough concentration of oil of pennyroyal to kill the
fleas, the product killed the dog.''
Mosquito Control Association: ''These devices [most of which, like humans,
emit carbon dioxide] will, indeed, trap and kill measurable numbers of
mosquitoes. But depending upon their placement, wind direction and
trapping efficiency, traps may actually draw more mosquitoes into your
area than they can possibly catch. Thus, the homeowner must still use
repellents and practice source reduction methods.''
Brown: ''All of
the devices like the Mosquito Magnet and Sonic Net are relatively
expensive to run and maintain but in effect are attracting mosquitoes to
the consumer's yard. Sure, some of the mosquitoes are trapped in the
device, but how many veered away to a more desirable human?''
''I think the bottom line with these traps for the homeowner is that if
they have a problem in their yard that is originating in their yard . . .
in that situation, these traps probably work very well. For relatively low
mosquito populations, I think the traps give you some relief. For the high
mosquito populations, I don't think you see that much
Turner: ''ULV [ultra low volume]
insecticide is probably the best way to kill adult mosquitoes, but the
problem there is it has to hit the mosquito. It is an effective thing if
it hits them.''
Gray: ''If you're having company over at 7, and you
fog at 6, you're going to take care of most of the mosquitoes. But
tomorrow night, if you haven't gotten rid of the buckets in your yard or
your neighbor's yard, they're going to be
Larvicides such as mosquito dunks are used
in situations where water cannot be eliminated, such as ponds and
Gray: ''It's a bacteria. It's very specific. It doesn't
hurt the fish; it doesn't hurt other aquatic insects. It's nontoxic to
mammals. It's one of the most classic cases of biological control where it
doesn't affect other species.''
Kelly: Bti [the bacterium Bacillus
thuringiensis var. israelensis] is a very nice product. They're good for
homeowners because they can put them out and you don't have to worry about
killing other insects; you don't have to worry about killing
CITRONELLA CANDLES OR PERMETHRIN MOSQUITO
Gray: ''Citronella candles have demonstrated some repellent
effectiveness, but only in areas with limited air movement. People should
not think that one citronella candle burning on their patio with any type
of breeze will protect them from mosquitoes.''
Day: ''Usually what
happens in these products is the chemical is released from the candle in a
downwind protection. It's a relatively small area that's protected.
Usually, mosquitoes are coming in from a lot of different directions. . .
. [But] they seem to work really well in a semi-enclosed
Kelly: ''Whether they have any effect any greater than any
other smoke, probably not. You sit next to a smoky campfire, you don't get
bitten by mosquitoes either.''
Day: ''Even though they're DEET, they don't work at all.
The mosquitoes would land all around them and feed all around
Worn on the body, these products
claim to emit sounds that simulate mosquito predators such as bats or
Gray: ''Ultrasonic repellers have not been shown to be
effective in significantly reducing or repelling mosquitoes.''
''The advertising is that they scare the mosquitoes away. And we've never
tested one that works. Mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide, and
there's nothing that's going to scare them away . . . short of a personal
Turner: ''Give me a break.''
''Bug zappers do not work. They kill beneficial insects. I wouldn't have
one in my yard.''
Turner: ''If you want to attract mosquitoes to your
yard, that's a good way to do it. They do kill a lot of other insects,
more than mosquitoes.''
Gray: ''Citrosa plants
are not effective and studies have shown that mosquitoes will even land on
the plants themselves. Buyer, beware!''
Kelly: ''The evidence I've
seen suggests they don't work.''
Gray: ''Fans will
provide temporary relief as long as you stay in front of the
Brown: ''A fan blowing through an area where folks are sitting
is a fine control measure.''
Gray: ''Bug jackets,
head nets and bed nets are used throughout the world and are apparently
effective in reducing mosquito bites. Bed nets are instrumental in
reducing malaria transmission in many parts of Africa and likely
throughout the world.''
Kelly: ''We always tell people to wear
long-sleeve clothing and long pants when out in mosquito populations.
Things like bug netting, they certainly work. . . . Probably screen doors
have done more to prevent mosquito-borne illness in the United States than
ON THE WEB
> Georgia Division of Public
Health, mosquito-borne illness:
American Mosquito Control Association: www.mosquito.org
University of Georgia Department of Entomology:
©2002 The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution. Reprinted with permission from The
Journal-Constitution. Further reproduction, retransmission
distribution of these materials without the prior written consent of
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and any copyright holder identified
material's copyright notice, is
Researchers find DEET-based products are best at
keeping bloodsucking mosquitoes at bay
Deborah Geering - For the
Thursday, August 1, 2002
Even with the wide
variety of mosquito catchers, chasers and zappers on the market,
old-standby DEET --- the active ingredient in Off and other repellents ---
is still the best at reducing bites.
That's the conclusion of a
study released last month in the New England Journal of
But for short-term relief on a patio or partially
enclosed area, there are other products that can help keep the little
bloodsuckers at bay, say entomologists. Even more effective than repelling
or killing the bugs is to limit their opportunity to breed in the first
''Folks need to take personal responsibility for reducing
mosquito habitats around the house and neighborhood,'' said Mark Brown, an
associate professor of entomology at the University of Georgia. That means
eliminating standing water and damp spots and keeping grass and weeds
''By reducing vegetation, homeowners reduce the areas that
adult mosquitoes can rest [in] during the heat of the day,'' explained
Elmer Gray, agriculture research coordinator with UGA's entomology
department. Like most insects, mosquitoes dry out quickly in the sun, so
the more air movement and less shade, the less mosquito-friendly the
The New England Journal of Medicine study dealt
specifically with repellents that are applied to the skin. Dr. Mark
Fradin, a dermatologist in Chapel Hill, N.C., and John Day, a professor of
medical entomology at the University of Florida, tested the effectiveness
of 16 products by recording how long it took before volunteers suffered
mosquito bites when placing their arms in cages of mosquitoes.
conclusion: DEET-based products provided complete protection for the
longest duration, and higher concentrations of DEET worked best. Off Deep
Woods formula worked best among products tested, with an average complete
protection time of more than five hours; other products containing DEET
also worked well. However, DEET-impregnated wristbands were
''DEET is kind of a barrier protection --- you need a
coating,'' Day said. ''So a wristband doesn't provide that barrier
Bite Blocker for Kids, which uses soybean oil as its
active ingredient, performed the best of products containing botanical
repellents. It offered about one and a half hours of complete protection,
far more than any citronella-based product that was tested.
researchers included four of Avon's Skin-So-Soft products in their tests.
Among them, Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus, which uses a chemical called
IR3535, performed the best, with an average complete-protection time of
nearly 23 minutes. Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard and Skin-So-Soft Bath Oil both
offered about 10 minutes of complete-protection time, while Skin-So-Soft
Moisturizing Suncare offered less than three minutes.
consumers prefer to use plant-based repellents because they are natural,
researchers caution that they can be more toxic than synthetic repellents.
In fact, toxic reactions to DEET are extremely rare. ''If you use something
on enough people, pretty much someone's going to be allergic to it,'' UGA's
Gray said. ''[But] I don't see them banning peanuts any time
In most situations, say entomologists, the most effective
home mosquito control program involves a combination of prevention and
''The risk of West Nile virus is real,'' Gray said. ''It's
present in most parts of the state, and despite low levels of severe
sickness, people should be aware of this threat and take reasonable
precautions to prevent mosquito breeding and bites.
that causes encephalitis and meningitis needs to be taken seriously.''
The information above is located at:
What causes mosquitoes?
Nothing can ruin a cookout, backyard get together or pool party faster than the swarms of mosquitoes that seem to magically show up whenever people are congregating outdoors. In reality, there isn't much magic to it. In fact, the mosquito possesses a number of very sophisticated physiological tools that make humans and animals easy prey for its insatiable appetite.
You see, when humans and animals exhale, they give off C02 (carbon dioxide) and Octenol (an alcohol-based substance). Mosquitoes have sensors that can detect the presence of these two chemicals at a distance of almost 100 feet. Once mosquitos pick up the scent, they will immediately change direction and fly rapidly toward their intended victim.
The Mosquito 'Cognito® device controls mosquitoes and other backyard pests so that people can retake control of their yards and enjoy the outdoors...without being eaten alive by mosquitoes and other biting insects.
The mosquito can SMELL exhaled Carbon Dioxide (C02) and Octenol at 100 feet and SEE their prey at 30 feet. The Mosquito 'Cognito® inhibitor blocks your scent. If they can't smell you, they can't get close enough to see you. No more bites!
All Mosquitoes are not alike!
Jurassic Park taught us that mosquitoes have been around for 100 million years. In that time, they have diversified into 3,000 species that are very different from one another. Instincts pre-program their life's behavior, and these programs are constantly refined by evolution. They have successfully adapted to climates from the arctic to the equator and developed means of locating indigenous bloodhosts in each locale: some mosquitoes prefer frogs, others mammals, still others birds. No product, including the Dragonfly® or Mosquito 'Cognito® devices, pesticides, or DEET, works equally well on every species of mosquito.
Bad Girls. Only Female Mosquitoes Bite.
Mosquitoes do not feed on blood. Rather, females need protein for the development of their eggs, and they get it from the blood of animal and human hosts. It is actually the nectar of flowers that provides sugar to power mosquitoes' flight muscles.
What diseases do mosquitoes spread?
Mosquitoes spread malaria, encephalitis, and dengue fever in people. They can also transmit parasites such as heartworm to pets. (Source: The American Mosquito Control Association.)
How Do They Find You?
Mosquitoes locate bloodhosts by scent, sight and heat. From 100 feet (30 meters) mosquitoes can smell your scent, especially the carbon dioxide (CO2) you exhale. They follow your scent upwind, and can see you at a distance of about 30 feet (10 meters). (The Mosquito 'Cognito® inhibitor works because its Conceal™ inhibitor interferes with this scent-tracking ability, so they can't get close enough to see you.) When mosquitoes get within 10 feet, they can sense your body-heat. They look for places to bite where blood is close to the skin's surface. (The Dragonfly® device works because it emits CO2 and octenol, the two most powerful host-odor attractants, and because it has a thermal lure which produces the infrared image of blood near the surface of the skin. Mosquitoes that attempt to land on the thermal lure are destroyed.)
Mosquitoes don't see very well, but are attracted to a thermal image and zero in like a heat-seeking missile. Even at 30 feet, they have trouble distinguishing you from any object of similar size and shape, like a tree stump, 55-gallon drum, etc. At 10 feet they use extremely sensitive thermal receptors on the tip of their antennae to locate blood near the surface of the skin. The range of these receptors increases threefold when the humidity is high.
People Are Not Always Their Favorite Target
Interestingly enough, people are not the primary target and bloodhosts for mosquitoes, especially in temperate climates. The major mosquito pests in the Southeast U.S., for example, seem to prefer the host-odor of small herbivorous (vegetarian) mammals, or birds. Even mosquitoes that carry encephalitis seem to prefer avian (bird) bloodhosts. These mosquitoes bite people when they get the chance, but they are better at tracking the scent of animals that are most abundant in their habitat. The Mosquito 'Cognito® inhibitor protects animals and people because its Conceal™ inhibitor blocks the mosquitoes host-odor receptors.
The United States Equestrian Team feels so strongly about it that in the summer of 2000, they began protecting their multi- million-dollar horses with Mosquito 'Cognito and Conceal. The USET member who owns the stable reported no problems with mosquitoes during a wet summer in which six horses in New Jersey died of West Nile Virus.
Field Testing by the USDA
Outdoor trials in the evening against large populations of native species are the most reliable test method, since these test environments best represent real life human exposure times. Both the Dragonfly® lure and Conceal™ inhibitor in the Mosquito 'Cognito® device were tested by the USDA in the laboratory and in the field. The field tests took place at night adjacent to mosquito breeding sites in wooded wetlands and salt marshes. To measure effectiveness against tropical mosquito species, field tests were also conducted independently in Malaysia and Australia. The results confirmed the unequalled success of these products in effectively controlling mosquito populations.
What causes mosquitoes to breed at certain locations?
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so eliminating standing water on your property reduces your risk. Areas like rain gutters, tree holes, old buckets or tires with stagnant water are breeding sites. However, although you may have taken steps to clear your property, you are subject to the actions - or inaction - of your neighbors, not to mention wetland areas in your community. Mosquitoes bite people when they get the chance, but they are better at tracking the scent of animals that are most abundant in their habitat. The Mosquito 'Cognito® inhibitor protects animals as well because its Conceal™ inhibitor blocks the mosquitoes host-odor receptors.
A great tool in the persistent war against flying insects, the Burgess® Propane Insect Fogger is proven as the fast, easy and effective way to economically control mosquitoes and other flying insects... Completely portable, the lightweight propane fogger is essential outdoor equipment.
It's ideal for the yard, deck, patio and pool, especially when preparing for picnics, special events and outdoor entertaining. Features include an unbreakable 40 oz container, trigger lock to prevent accidental dispensing of insecticide, uses a standard propane cylinder and includes
1 qt. of odorless insecticide. To use: Fog the outdoor area you will be using, particularly around bushes, and control mosquito's and other flying insects for up to 6 hours. For best results, fog when wind is 5 mph or less to insure insecticide fog does not blow away before effective.