Mosquito Foggers: A Complete Guide

worker spraying to eliminate mosquitos

Summer is the season for swimming pools, picnics, and backyard BBQs with family and friends. However, mosquitoes can quickly turn this idyllic dream into a nightmare. These pesky insects can leave itchy bites, cause allergic reactions, and even transmit harmful diseases. This guide will show you how to use mosquito foggers to keep mosquitoes from ruining your fun in the sun.

What Are Mosquito Yard Foggers?

Mosquito yard foggers are a type of pesticide sprayer that covers a large area. They come in various types, including ready-to-use, electric, and thermal foggers, and are used outdoors to control adult mosquitoes. While mosquito yard foggers can effectively repel or kill mosquitoes, using them safely and responsibly is essential to avoid adverse effects and harm to beneficial insects.

To learn which mosquito foggers work well for your yard, check out our review of the best mosquito foggers of the year.

How Do Mosquito Yard Foggers Work?

person spraying mosquito fogger
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Mosquito yard foggers release a fine mist of insecticide using pressure, heat, or electricity to vaporize the solution. This mist is dispersed into the air and settles on plants, trees, and other surfaces in your yard, killing any mosquitoes that come into contact with it. Many foggers also add a repellent to keep new mosquitoes from settling in.

Active Ingredients

Mosquito foggers for lawns usually contain a combination of active ingredients, which can consist of various synthetic or plant-derived insect repellents and pesticides.

  • Pyrethroids: The most common ingredients are pyrethroids, which are synthetic versions of the natural insecticide pyrethrin.
  • Pyrethrin: This compound is found in some chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrins target the nervous system of flying insects like gnats and mosquitoes.
  • Essential oils: Plant-derived oils, such as citronella, lemongrass, and cedar oil, are also used.

Types of Yard Foggers for Mosquitoes

There are three main delivery methods for mosquito foggers. All mosquito foggers aim to disperse insecticide into the air by spraying tiny droplets or mists, creating a “fog” in the area. This fog repels and/or kills mosquitoes.

Ready-To-Use Yard Foggers

A pressurized, ready-to-use can releases fogging insecticide in a fine mist onto the lawn. They are easy to use and do not require any additional equipment. However, they may not last as long as other foggers and cover a limited amount of space, so you may need to reapply more frequently.

Electric Foggers

Electric or non-thermal foggers release pesticides as a vapor through spinning nozzles. They work for indoor and outdoor use but aren’t as mobile because they need electricity. If you want to use them outside, hook them up to a power source like a generator or outdoor outlet. Electric foggers are also called ultra-low volume (ULV) foggers.

Thermal Foggers

Mosquito control companies typically use these devices, which can be expensive. Thermal foggers use gas or are propane-powered and vaporize insecticide using a heating element before discharging the vapor. The resulting droplets can cover a yard in five to ten minutes.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mosquito Yard Fogger

fogger used for pest control
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When selecting a mosquito yard fogger, it’s essential to consider factors such as coverage area, ease of use, and a power source. Each type of mosquito fogger has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Choose the option that works best for you and your needs.

Coverage Area

When applying pesticides to a large area, foggers generally provide more coverage than mosquito yard sprays. However, the coverage area can vary depending on the specific fogger and the amount of solution it can carry.

  • Ready-to-use yard foggers work for small yards up to 1,200 square feet and are suitable for spot treatments.
  • Electric yard foggers can cover up to 28,000 square feet, making them an option for large open areas and yards.
  • Thermal yard foggers: These heavy-duty propane or gas insect foggers are designed to treat fields, farms, and large residential yards. Pest control companies typically use them, and they can cover up to 35,000 square feet.

Ease of Use

A ready-to-use fogger is the easiest and most readily available option, but it’s not great for larger yards. If you’re picking a mosquito fogger for a large area, consider the following features:

  • Adjustable nozzles: To control the amount of pesticide applied, users can adjust the spray density. Some products have built-in adjustable nozzles, while others require interchangeable nozzles.
  • Easy-fill tanks: Tanks with wide openings make filling the tank quick and easy while reducing the risk of a pesticide spill.
  • Shoulder straps: When treating a large area with heavy equipment, consider using shoulder or backpack-style straps. These straps can help reduce the strain of carrying the combined weight of the fogger and the solution.

Power Source

When choosing a mosquito fogger, it’s essential to consider its power source. Some products require electricity, while others use batteries or fuel. The ideal choice ultimately depends on your individual needs and preferences.

Mosquito yard foggers can be powered by:

  • Battery: Mosquito foggers come in battery-powered models that are easier to use in areas without electrical outlets. While these cordless foggers are more portable, they may have short battery lives and require recharging. A good choice for small lawns.
  • Electricity: Non-thermal or electric foggers require an outlet or generator for power. Although portable, they have a shorter range than other foggers because they need an electrical source within reach. For this reason, they are a common choice for homeowners with small to average-sized lawns.
  • Fuel: Thermal foggers use heat to spread a mist of insecticide across your lawn and are usually run on propane, gas, or a gas/oil blend. While they work quickly and cover large areas, they are more expensive than other options. Thermal foggers are a popular option as professional mosquito control companies often use them.

Safety Precautions

When selecting a product, ensure it is safe for people and pets to be near. Always follow the manufacturer’s warnings and directions. Improper use of pesticides can harm people, pets, and the environment.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear protective gear: To protect yourself, wear gloves, pants, and a long-sleeved shirt. Use goggles and a mask to protect your eyes and airway.
  • Wait to enter: Depending on the product, you may need to wait 30 minutes to 2 hours or more before re-entering a treated area. Check the label for the recommended wait time and follow the instructions.
  • Symptoms of exposure: Chemical pesticide exposure can lead to various side effects, including irritated eyes, rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, shortness of breath, and vomiting.

How to Use Mosquito Yard Foggers

To guarantee that mosquito yard foggers are safe and efficient, follow the instructions on the packaging. Pesticides are regulated by agencies in each state, which investigate issues and any instances of misuse.

Prep the Treatment Area

To use mosquito yard foggers safely and efficiently and prevent future mosquitos from taking up residence in your yard, prepare your outdoor space first:

  • Eliminate breeding grounds: Get rid of standing water in birdbaths and flowerpots. Check and clean your gutters to eliminate places where mosquitoes can breed. Female mosquitoes only need a bottle cap full of water to lay eggs.
  • Apply a larvicide: If standing water cannot be removed, use mosquito dunks or a similar product containing Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) to destroy mosquito larvae before they mature. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water.
  • Maintain the yard: Trim tall grass and prune hedges near mosquito breeding areas. Watch out for mosquitoes breeding in your water-holding plants, such as bromeliads.
  • Remove debris: Piles of wood or junk will hide a multitude of pests, including mosquitoes. Remove piles or consider the cost of a junk removal service to clear excess clutter.

Tips for Using Mosquito Yard Foggers

man fogging to eliminate mosquitos
Photo Credit: Songpin / Canva Pro / License

Mosquitoes are sneaky insects typically found in dark and damp areas during the day, such as under bushes or in patio corners. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Time of day: Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Treat the area in the early evening for effective mosquito control without harming pollinators.
  • Watch the weather: Avoid spraying when it’s windy to prevent drift. Also, watch for anticipated rain, which can reduce the effectiveness of the spray.
  • Application Frequency: Mosquito foggers are best used before outdoor events such as pool parties and BBQs or for mosquito control while camping. Check the label for recommended reapplication intervals, as the frequency can vary.
  • Areas to avoid: To ensure safety, avoid spraying near food sources, people, or pets. Direct fog away from flowers and gardens to protect the produce and beneficial insects like bees.
  • Get the underside: Ensure the fog gets under patios, decks, and hedges for maximum effectiveness.

Pros and Cons of Mosquito Yard Foggers

Mosquito foggers are highly effective at temporarily controlling these pests in outdoor spaces. With the right product, you can enjoy your backyard or event without the hassle of mosquitoes. However, you should also consider potential drawbacks before using them.

Pros of a Mosquito Yard Fogger

✅   Highly effective at quickly killing adult mosquitoes

✅   Covers large areas quickly

✅   Comes in various types, including ready-to-use, electric, and thermal foggers

Cons of a Mosquito Yard Fogger

❌   Can harm beneficial insects

❌   Must be used safely and responsibly to avoid adverse effects on people and pollinators

❌   A temporary solution that may require repeated use

Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard

Mosquito control illustration
Photo Credit: Juan Rodriguez

To create a safer environment for your family and protect against mosquito-borne diseases, use a combination of methods in addition to your mosquito fogger. Consider these strategies to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Repair screens: To prevent mosquitoes from entering your home, replace or repair screens on windows and doors.
  • Use mosquito nets: Create a physical barrier with mosquito nets placed around patios and sleeping areas.
  • Set mosquito traps: Both commercial and DIY mosquito traps mimic human breath and smells by emitting carbon dioxide, heat, and moisture, drawing mosquitos in where they can’t escape.
  • Use personal repellents: Apply mosquito repellents or bug spray to your skin or clothing to prevent mosquito bites and mosquito-borne illnesses like the West Nile virus and the Zika virus.

FAQ: Mosquito Yard Foggers

When Should I Avoid Using a Mosquito Yard Fogger?

Avoid using mosquito yard foggers in windy conditions, if rain is forecasted, or when people or pets are present. It is also important to avoid spraying near food sources and flowers to protect veggies, flowers, and beneficial insects like bees.

Do You Need to Reapply Mosquito Yard Foggers?

Yes. Fogging is a temporary solution for controlling adult mosquitoes. However, using a yard fogger can make outdoor events more enjoyable. For optimal results, it is recommended to fog the yard the day before or the morning of the event, particularly if it is planned for the late afternoon.

How Long Does Fogging the Yard for Mosquitoes Last?

Typically, a single application of mosquito fog lasts for one to three days. However, it is essential to note that fogging should be combined with other mosquito control measures, such as removing standing water and maintaining a clean and trimmed yard.

When to Call a Pro

Mosquito foggers are highly effective at temporarily controlling these pests in outdoor spaces. However, consider using an integrated pest management strategy instead of conventional insecticides for long-term solutions. With Pest Gnome, we can connect you with top exterminators in your area to keep your backyard mosquito-free.

Iowa State University – Spraying for Mosquitoes in the Backyard

Illinois DPH- Pyrethroid Insecticides

Texas A&M – Do-It-Yourself Backyard Mosquito Control

Rutgers – Chemical Control of Mosquitoes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Mosquito-Borne Diseases

The American Mosquito Control Association – Control

National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) – Oil of Citronella, Pyrethrins

University of Missouri – Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms and First Aid

Main Image Credit: Songpin / Canva Pro / License

Raven Wisdom

Raven Wisdom is a writer with a passion for pest control, gardening, sustainable living, and making a positive impact in the world. When she's not defending her garden from critters in the wilds of West Texas, Raven can be found writing, wrangling two kids in a neurodivergent family, and supporting her local animal rescues.