Hiring a Mosquito Service: Is it Right for You?

fogging to kill mosquitos

Mosquitoes can be a problem. Some bring deadly diseases, while others are merely pesky, but that is a problem if you or your family want to use your yard. You certainly want to take mosquitoes seriously. Perhaps you have considered hiring a mosquito service to take care of your home, but is it right for you?

Mosquito Control Services 101: What to Expect

Although every company has different service and product options, here are a few of the services commonly offered across mosquito control companies:

  • Barrier spray treatment: Barrier sprays kill adult mosquitoes on contact and bond to vegetation around your yard, creating a “barrier” that repels them for a few weeks. Most companies offer one-time and recurring service options.
  • Fogging treatments: Perfect for special event preparation, fogging treatments knockdown adult mosquitoes immediately but only last a few hours up to around three days.
  • Misting systems: Some companies will install mosquito misting systems. These systems spray adulticides at set intervals to keep your yard, patio, or poolside mosquito-free. They are similar to an automatic sprinkler system in that they are a “set it and forget it” kind of system.
  • Mosquito traps: Some companies set up and maintain mosquito traps around your property throughout the summer. These traps lure in females to lay their eggs and then employ larvicides to prevent the juvenile insects from entering the pupal or adult stages. This prevents the next generation from hatching in your lawn.
  • Natural or “green” options: Interested in protecting the people, pets, and pollinators in your yard? Ask your local mosquito control company about their green or natural products and mosquito control services. Many, but not all, companies offer these products to expand their product offerings and customer base. 

Reasons to Use a Mosquito Service

a man spraying mosquito foggers on plants
Photo Credit: Worledit / Canva Pro / License
  • They do big better. If you have places that attract a lot of mosquito larvae, you will be better off using a service. A slow-moving creek in the back of the property? A swampy area in the woods? Ditches along the property line? The amount of larvae such places attract might need the expertise of a professional. 
  • They target hard-to-reach places. The mosquito control services will usually have people go into your yard with backpacks to reach the places where mosquitoes like to hang out. The sprayers go after the cool, dark places in vegetation, and make it a point to reach the underside of leaves.
  • They can prevent drift. When insecticides are applied, especially on a do-it-yourself basis, they can drift (on the wind, for example) out of your yard. You want to be a good neighbor and not have your insecticide drift into the next yard. Drift is also illegal in some places across the country. 

    A service knows how to avoid these problems. It also knows that a certain amount of drift is unavoidable, and takes steps to accommodate it.
  • They will check the neighborhood. You want to be careful about spraying if the neighbors have kids or pets (that might have outdoor water bowls). A service would know to check for fish ponds, vegetable gardens, and beehives. They can adjust the product they use, in some cases basing it on the time of year.
  • They will protect the pollinators. Any spraying to control mosquitoes will also kill insects we see as being good insects, such as bees and butterflies (unless your product mentions that it is safe for bees). But a service knows how to minimize the damage. 

Reasons Not to Use a Mosquito Service

  • It might be something you can DIY. To avoid having a mosquito infestation, simply remove standing water from your house and yard. You might not be aware of water around your home until you walk around looking for it; it might make more sense to do that than to pay a company to go after them. 
  • You might not need it. In places that are being swarmed by mosquitoes, local governments will spray. You might see the planes, the trucks, or people with backpacks going around to spray. If they are spraying, you might not have a need to.

    The National Pesticide Information Center lists places in every state that are going after mosquitoes.
  • Overspraying becomes an issue. Automatic misting systems are growing in use, but they might not need to put out as much mist as you think. And you might set an automatic sprayer to mist too much or continue too long.
  • You retain control. It is your house; do you want to let someone take the lead in deciding what products to use, when to use them, and where to use them? If you want to put in the time (to research and to deploy), you make all of the decisions.

The Cost of Treating for Mosquitoes

Mosquito treatment costs an average of $350 to $550, depending on the following factors of your mosquito problem:

  • Size of the area 
  • Weather, especially humidity
  • Method of treatment 
  • Level of infestation
  • Products that are utilized

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

graphic for How to Control Mosquito Populations vertical
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez

Frankly, hiring a mosquito service is not enough to control the mosquito population around your yard, especially if you don’t focus on control at the larval stage. The EPA and CDC put out a joint statement on mosquito control in America that discusses the role of government (federal, state, and local) in controlling mosquito populations and makes recommendations on what individual homeowners can do to get rid of mosquitoes.

The statement makes the point that mosquito control will work only if members of the public take part. Their points:

  • Remove standing water, especially around the house. Mosquitoes need standing water as a basic part of their life cycle (to lay eggs). If you remove standing water, or treat it, you will not be overrun with mosquitoes.
  • Check your barriers. Screens on windows and doors should fit and should not have holes.
  • Cover up. If you go into an area with a lot of mosquitos, wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, and consider treating them with a repellent such as permethrin. 
  • Use proper mosquito repellents. There is no scientific support for rubbing your skin with cow dung or dryer sheets to repel mosquitoes. Get a proper mosquito repellant; there are sprays, lotions, wipes, and roll-ons. Make it a point to follow their instructions, which will be on the label. There are also natural mosquito repellent options.

The joint statement called for using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach. The EPA said an IPM program has four steps:

  1. Set thresholds. Don’t jump in if you see a mosquito or two. Decide what you would consider to be too many, then act.
  1. Monitor and identify. Be sure you have a mosquito problem, not some other bug.
  2. Prevention. Search out and remove standing water, fix screens, and take other preventive action, such as using Bti larvicides in standing water that can’t be dumped.
  1. Control. Start with simple, less risky control methods. You can turn to more serious ones, such as broadcast mosquito spraying, if initial methods are unsuccessful.

FAQs

How Can I Get Rid of Mosquitoes Myself?

Here is the DIY procedure recommended by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension:

Search for mosquito breeding sites, especially during mosquito season.
Attack those places where mosquitoes breed. Simply dump standing water or use larvicides in places like rain barrels or bird baths.
Decide if you want to use backyard foggers, sprays, zappers, or traps (including DIY mosquito traps like ovitraps). The best way to control mosquitoes is to control them before they develop into adults (mosquito dunks and ovitraps are your best bet). Once they grow into adults, foggers, mosquito yard sprays, and bug zappers act as complementary control measures.
Research your product’s active ingredients. (Or, if you’d rather not, hire a service provider who has this knowledge already.)

The common ones are allethrin, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti), bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, esfenvalerate, geraniol, imidacloprid, lambda-cyhalothrin, lemongrass oil, linalool, malathion, methoprene, peppermint oil, permethrin, phenothrin (sumithrin), prallethrin, pyrethrins, rosemary oil, and tetramethrin. 

Can I Spray and Be Green?

Yes, but options vary by company. There are places that need to use pesticides, but would still like to do their best to preserve the environment. The EPA offers the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) for people in that situation. Membership is available to those who use pesticides, but not to companies that make the chemicals.

How Do Mosquito Services Do Their Work?

Mosquito control companies follow a basic game plan in their mosquito control treatments:

Remove mosquito habitats. They get rid of standing water.
Put up barriers. They make sure windows and doors seal tightly and there are no cracks in walls. Baby carriages should have netting.
Go after mosquito larvae. They put out larvicides, the moist effective methods of controlling mosquitoes.
Go after adult mosquitoes. Adulticides can treat large areas with small amounts of pesticide.

Prefer to Hire a Pest Control Professional?

Have you decided that your best mosquito control method calls for hiring a mosquito service? Pest Gnome can connect you to the best mosquito control treatment experts in your area. You can be put in touch with professional mosquito control and professional pest control companies.

Main Image Credit: Bignai / Canva Pro / License

Ted Rodgers

Ted Rodgers has been an editor and writer for a half century at least, and has had to deal with pests throughout. His home is still standing, which is one (small) definition of success in dealing with them. He is willing to pause in his battles long enough to share what he has learned. He borrows from Beatrix Potter when he shares this truth about pests: “Tiddly, widdly, but not piddly.”