When we’re preparing for a relaxing afternoon under the Florida sun or an ambient dinner outdoors, it’s annoying when mosquitoes ruin our plans.
Thanks to our wonderful weather, we can go to the beach, have a picnic at the lake, and do other outdoor activities for the whole year - but it comes with a price. Mosquitoes thrive in heat and moisture, so we have no choice but to go back indoors during mosquito season. No one wants to put up with their irritating bites and buzzing or risk catching a disease.
There is no defined mosquito season since it depends on the temperature and rainfall. These pests tend to emerge when the temperature is above 50°F. They are also more active in the summer and spring due to the heat and humidity combined with frequent rain showers. This is the time that mosquitoes will start to hatch the eggs they laid during the winter. They are also most active during dawn and dusk, that’s why we usually have to cancel our outdoor dining. But we can’t just let these mosquitoes dictate our plans.
Do you want to get rid of those mosquitoes? You should blast them with a mosquito fogger.
What are Mosquito Foggers?
One way to kill these pests is to use different insecticides all over your backyard, but sometimes they are too small that it will not work. You can also frequently slather mosquito repellent, which is great if you’re going somewhere else. But if you want to swim, relax, dine, or play with your pets or kids at your home, it’s annoying to keep using repellent every day or reapplying every hour. To make your life easier, you can use a mosquito fogger.
You may think that mosquito foggers are bug bombs, but no. A bug bomb is not effective since the mosquitoes will come back once its effect wears off - which it does quickly.
A mosquito fogger is a device that turns an insecticide solution into a fine mist or fog which will kill and repel mosquitoes. It looks like a mist or fog because it produces tiny droplets, making it almost invisible. It is effective but not a long-lasting solution against these pests invading your outdoor area because it only reduces or thins the mosquito population.
How does a Fogger work?
Mosquito foggers produce fogging concentrates that effectively kill mosquitoes. The fogging concentrate is composed of fine droplets about 2 to 10 nanometers or 50 microns in diameter which sticks to the tiniest mosquito, making sure that they don’t escape. A droplet remains in the air until it evaporates. Once a mosquito comes into contact with a droplet, they die instantly or at best, keeps them away.
But a fogger will only be good if it uses the right insecticide solution or mosquito fogging liquid. The solution you use can depend on the price, chemical content, and natural ingredients to make it less hazardous.
Different types of Mosquito Foggers
A mosquito fogger comes in various sizes and shapes. There are three types of foggers: ULV, Thermal, and Aerosol.
ULV Mosquito Fogger
ULV, or also known as Ultra Low Volume or cold foggers, uses cold temperatures to create a fog. This type is usually powered by electricity and can be used indoors or outdoors. Compared to other foggers, a ULV mosquito fogger generates tinier droplets which creates a more uniform and thicker cloud. This will cover an area completely and since it is more concentrated, it will be stronger and more effective.
Thermal Mosquito Fogger
On the other hand, a thermal mosquito fogger creates fog using heat sources and is commonly used in larger spaces. This device can be further divided into two types: Propane and Electrical.
The propane mosquito fogger comes with a propane tank at the back. The liquid solution tank is placed at the bottom and then there’s a thermal element at the front which will create the fog or mist. This means that propane is used as a power source to ignite a flame that will turn the insecticide into a fog.
It looks like a strange gun with its hand-held design and trigger. To operate it, point the device at the infected area and press the trigger. It’s effective in large areas and bigger foliage. You also don’t have to be tied to a cord or cable because the power source is connected to the fogger. This is best used during picnics, camping, or other activities that don’t have a nearby power outlet.
On the other hand, an electric mosquito fogger uses electricity as a power source to generate the amount of heat needed to turn the solution into a fog. So you’ll be dragging a cord or cable when fogging your outdoor area. At least you won’t need to keep buying and refilling your propane tanks.
Similar to the propane type, the electric one also produces a dense fog which can be applied to flowers, bushes, trees, porch, or yard.
Aerosol Mosquito Fogger
This type is easy to acquire and use since they are inexpensive and don’t need a device. It comes in an aerosol or spray can, similar to bug or deodorant spray. It also produces a fog or mist which is effective to use in low areas such as bushes, tree branches, and other small spaces. But this type will produce a less wide and dense fog compared to the first two.
What chemicals do Mosquito Foggers use?
There are four different chemicals you can use for your mosquito fogger.
Pyrethrin is a natural and environmentally-friendly insecticide that is extracted from a chrysanthemum plant. This plant produces pyrethrin-I which can only be used by certified users and pyrethrin-II which is available to homeowners. The chemical disables the adult mosquito’s nervous system, killing it instantly. Even if it’s natural, it should still be used based on the recommended dosage by the manufacturer.
Pyrethroid is the most common chemical used for foggers. It has three types: sumithrin and permethrin, which are synthetic types available to homeowners, and resmethrin, which cannot be used by homeowners since the United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA stated that it is toxic to fish. This chemical also kills adult mosquitoes but compared to other chemicals, pyrethroids require less preparation to use. This is also similar to domestic insect spray cans found in the supermarket.
Naled is a chemical that also kills adult mosquitoes. EPA has stated that it is safe to use for homes. Similar to other chemicals, it can be sprayed to large outdoor areas, killing mosquitoes upon contact.
Similar to the first three chemicals, malathion also kills mosquitoes at the adult stage. This has been available in the United States since the mid-50s. Aside from using it in homes, this chemical can also be applied to agricultural settings and other large scale sprayings. EPA has declared that this chemical is safe and does not cause health risks.
There are also some people who use a combination of malathion and pyrethrin for their mosquito foggers.
CSI 30-30 ULV Concentrate
For ULV mosquito foggers.
Control Solutions CSI 4-4 Insecticide
For Thermal mosquito foggers.
Pyrocide 300 Pyrethrin
For both types of mosquito foggers.
Is a Mosquito Fogger effective?
A fogger can be used an hour before you will use the outdoor area to lounge, to party, or to swim (if you have a pool, of course). It will then kill and prevent mosquitoes from invading the area for a maximum of 12 hours.
But if you have the time, fogging is most effective when done in the dusk or evening. This is because the mosquitoes are active and go out to feed.
According to MosquitoNix, studies have shown that fogging reduces 90% of mosquitoes during the first week of treatment and then it gradually drops the following weeks.
If you want to effectively get rid of the mosquitoes, fog your outdoor area once a day for a whole week and then every other day for the next week. In the third week, you can do it once a week to ensure that the new ones won’t stay and multiply. But you can’t completely wipe out these pests, only reduce them during their active times.
If you read the section about the insecticide chemicals, you’ll notice that foggers are only effective against adult mosquitoes. It’s because these pests already fly and the fog won’t affect the larva or eggs. But at least it eliminates mosquitoes that carry a virus or disease. They also only affect mosquitoes in the direct vicinity of the fog and it cannot kill mosquitoes in hiding since it is topical.
Note: Make sure to fog bushes, dense foliage, thick shrubs, groundcover plants, low spots, and ditches.
Do Foggers harm people’s health?
No, the fog is not enough to cause harmful health effects to people. The output of this device is usually less than what is used on crops and it is also odorless.
For the chemicals, all of these are cleared by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and they have a standard of which chemicals are safe to use by homeowners or for commercial use.
Do not use resmethrin (pyrethroid) in your homes as it is toxic to fish. The safe pyrethroid types are similar to the insect spray cans you buy in supermarkets. You can also opt for naled, malathion, or a more natural solution, pyrethrin. If you want to know more about these chemicals, your local government or poison control probably has documents regarding these.
As long as you use chemicals cleared by the EPA, this is a safe way to prevent mosquitoes from dining on our blood and ruining our plans. But if you’re not comfortable to be in a newly-fogged area, wait an hour before entering the fogged area.