Mosquito Misting Systems – Effectiveness And Concerns

With the increase in the mosquito population and mosquito borne diseases, there has been attempts and discussion concerning different ways to control mosquito population. One such system that is used to control the growth of mosquitoes is to use ourdoor residential misting systems that disperse synergized formulations of natural pyrethrins or synthetic pyrethroids that are dispensed into the environment at predetermined intervals set by the user.

Outdoor Residential Misting Systems

Outdoor residential misting systems also known as “mosquito misters” are application systems that are designed to kill mosquitoees and other harmful insects by spraying pesticides in a fine mist. Misting systems usually consists of spray nozzles that are mounted around the perimeter of a home in the lawn or landscaping, or on parts of the house or fence. The spray nozzles are connected by tubing to a supply of insecticide. Misting systems can be automatic that are turned on at preset intervals set by the user. Others may be turned on using a remote controller.

What pesticides are used in the misting systems?

The insecticide products most often used in outdoor residential misting systems contain pyrethrins and permethrin. These products may also contain piperonyl butoxide. Certain minimal risk pesticides like Linseed oil, Malic acid, cedar oil etc, may also be used in some misting systems. Although not regulated by EPA, many states do regulate these pesticides.

Are residential misting systems safe?

People and pets may be exposed to pesticides used in a residential misting system through direct contact with sprays, by touching plants or other objects in the treated area, or by inhaling small amounts of pesticide remaining in the air. EPA has assessed the human health and environmental risks of the pesticides most commonly used in misting systems. Most of these pesticides last only short periods in the environment, so long-term exposure to humans is not expected. Based on its assessment, using toxicity data and exposure estimates, EPA does not expect risks of concern to humans when these chemicals are used in outdoor residential systems according to labeling specific for use in these systems. However, excessive use or accidents may pose risks. No pesticide should be regarded as 100% risk free.

Installing mosquito misting system

The installation of the mosquito misting system is easy and simple. First you would be required to decide on the area you want to cover. It is important to decide on the boundary area, which is the perimeter of your backyard, and then look out for areas within the boundary area, for instance, pools, decks, other entertainment areas, etc. Draw a rough sketch of the areas you want to cover and present it to the technician. The technician would then guide you with the number of nozzles and other installation requirements. You may then go about installing the system on your own, thus saving money.

Things to consider before buying mosquito misting system

Choosing the right mosquito misting concentration is important since that would depend on personal requirements. There are low toxic organic based misting concentrations that do not leave any residue. For the drum based systems the reservoir should be installed on a level ground. The reservoir would be heavy when filled. After installing the reservoir, ensure the nozzles have been installed 3.6 to 4.5 m apart the boundary area and 3 m around the areas within the boundary. Do not forget to test the system before loading it with misting concentrates. Check out for any leakages or if the valves are functioning properly. After testing the system, load the misting concentrates and water into the reservoir. Ensure that you have put on your safety gloves and goggles before loading the misting concentrates in the reservoir.

Concerns about mosquito misting systems

Though the use of outdoor automated misting systems might seem on the surface to be a very good control system to use for the homeowner, there are some serious concerns for the user. One of this concern is that these misting systems do not consider the need to monitor mosquito populations. Pesticides should only be used when mosquito populations are present at levels that could present a possible health hazard.

Such outdoor misting systems also target beneficial populations of insects and other non-target organisms through uncontrolled off-site pesticide drift. The indiscriminate use of pyrethrin insecticides will continually select for
resistance to the whole pyrthroid class of insecticides that we presently use to control mosquitoes. In time this will result in the development of resistant strains of mosquitoes, which will result in the loss of this important class of insecticides.

There is also concern over continued exposure by humans to pesticide sprays. Pyrethrins may be harmful if its been inhaled continously. They may also harm pets and birds and are advised to remove them before spraying. To avoid problems with the use of pyrethrin based compounds or any other pesticides used in this manner will require users to be diligent and follow the pesticide label very carefully. The users should also not forget that there are other means to help control mosquitoes, which include reducing or eliminating aquatic habitats and can significantly
reduce mosquito populations. Eliminating all mosquito habitats in an area like the Mid-
Columbia would not be practical.

In addition to using pesticides as aerosols or mists to control the adult mosquitoes. Use of pesticides to treat mosquito larvae requires treating their aquatic habitats. There are several types of materials available for treating these. Achieving mosquito control without harming other aquatic organisms can be accomplished with microbial larvicides, which are selective for mosquito larvae and considered non-toxic to other aquatic organisms and humans.