Summer is peak mosquito season, complete with annoying bites and fears about West Nile virus. While mosquitoes can be a nuisance, Mosquito Abatement Districts (MADs) do not necessarily have to resort to fogging in order to control mosquito populations.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Mosquito Control Association, the airborne spraying of pesticides, commonly called mosquito ‘fogging’, to kill adult mosquitoes is the least effective method to control mosquito populations. Fogging usually consists of spraying or fogging pesticides from the back of a truck or plane.
This method is ineffective because the pesticide only kills those mosquitoes flying in the spray; mosquitoes behind buildings or under vegetation are not affected. Airborne pesticides are particularly harmful as they may be easily ingested by humans and wildlife. Pesticide residue can also be left behind on items kept outdoors, such as children’s toys and outdoor furniture, or tracked inside on shoes. Since fogging also kills insects that eat mosquitoes, it can cause future population booms for local mosquitoes.
MPAC recommends three alternatives to fogging:
Larviciding: Dropping contained amounts of pesticides in mosquito breeding sites and killing mosquito larvae before they become a nuisance.
Source elimination: Removing standing water to decrease breeding sites for mosquitoes. Residents can help reduce mosquito populations by regularly draining and cleaning the standing water in bird baths, pool cover, pet bowls, and clogged gutters.
Ecological approaches: Using natural mosquito predators such as mosquito eating fish and insects to control mosquito populations.
Contact your local Mosquito Abatement District to learn more about fogging in your neighborhood. For what you can do to naturally reduce mosquito populations, check out MPAC’s complete mosquito factsheet.