If you want to enjoy the great outdoors, you may soon realize there are some not-so-great parts about heading out into the big, wide world. Whether you’re trying to grill outside, relax in a hammock or take a (literal) hike, you just might find that annoying, whining buzz following you. There are about 176 species of mosquitoes in the United States and these insects kill 50 thousand times more people than sharks do. They’re considered major disease carriers, transmitting malaria, the West Nile virus and other potentially fatal diseases. They’re also pests, getting in the way of outdoor activities, causing painful bites, and even causing injuries to animals and livestock. So how do we get rid of these pests? Mosquito treatment companies sometimes advocate lawn mosquito spray solutions for customers, but today many homeowners are concerned about chemicals and the environmental impact of insecticides. Another mosquito treatment you could consider is the mosquito trap, which reduces the numbers of mosquitoes to slow breeding.
A Quick Look at Spray Lawn Mosquito Treatment
Lawn spray treatments basically spray your property with an insecticide. A spray mosquito treatment for your yard will usually involve an evaluation of your property and regular sprayings of your property. You will need to keep paying and keep arranging for spraying appointments for this treatment to remain effective. Spray methods are a common way of getting rid of mosquitoes because they’re effective and generally affordable. They also have been around for a long time, so people have gotten used to this type of insect control. Sprays are also convenient and can cover big areas of land, which is why they’re often used in city-wide or region-wide mosquito control programs. This approach is not without its problems. Insecticides, as their name suggests, are designed to kill. They’re designed to kill insects specifically, but can also pose risks to humans, pets and other animals. Insecticides also don’t discriminate. If you have beneficial insects in your yard — like ladybugs, butterflies or honey bees — insecticides will generally harm them, too. Many homeowners feel uncomfortable treating their properties with chemicals.
What’s in the Spray?
Depending on your property, a company may use larvicides — used to kill eggs, larvae and young mosquitoes — or adulticides — used to kill adult mosquitoes. In some cases, both are used. Common chemicals and compounds used include:
These compounds have been approved for use and are considered “relatively” safe. They have also been proven to be effective. These compounds work by affecting the nervous system of mosquitoes, paralyzing the insects to kill them. The labels for these compounds indicate the compounds can be dangerous if they are inhaled and ask that birds, pets, and other animals be removed from the vicinity before spraying. Pyrethrins have been linked to skin irritation and respiratory irritation. In studies involving rats and dogs, even low doses administered over time affected the liver, thyroid and respiratory tissue of the animals. Pyrethrins have also shown to be very toxic to honey bees and fish — they have an environmental impact.
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)
Bt is a microbe used as a toxin in some insecticides. When insect larvae are sprayed with this insecticide, the toxins damage their gut and eventually cause death. There are different strains of Bt, and some are designed to be especially toxic to mosquitoes. Studies have suggested Bt can cause allergic reactions, and some strains have proven to be toxic to honey bees.
Used to treat 9 to 10 million acres each year in the United States, Permethrin is one of the most common mosquito control insecticides used. It is affordable and effective. However, it can cause skin irritation and at high doses can lead to dizziness, nausea and even coma. In addition to active ingredients, many pesticides contain other chemicals and substances to make the insecticides more effective. For example, one of the most common additions to many insecticide products is piperonyl butoxide, which prevents active ingredients from breaking down in the mosquitoes’ body and allows the insecticides to work. Unfortunately, while effective and considered safe by some, piperonyl butoxide has been labeled a group C carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Since some homeowners don’t like the idea of paying for repeated spraying of their property, some companies have created mosquito spray machines. These misting systems spray out mosquito insecticides at specific intervals. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has expressed concern over these insecticide solutions because they may increase exposure to insecticides and there’s no hard data to suggest they work.
Non-Spray Natural Mosquito Treatment: Is it as Effective?
Since some people are uncomfortable with the warning labels and potential risks of insecticides, a number of companies have created “natural” insect repellants. It’s important to keep in mind that products containing natural ingredients such as citronella won’t reduce the number of mosquitoes around you. These products are not harmful to mosquitoes — they claim to keep insects from approaching you, and whether they work is a matter of some debate. Some studies have concluded that citronella, for example, is not as effective as DEET-based products. Natural doesn’t always mean risk-free. Plenty of irritants in the natural world — like Poison Ivy and the Deadly Nightshade — are completely natural. Plants and plant-based products can still cause allergic reactions and adverse reactions. In addition, some companies add chemicals to their natural-based products, so always read labels carefully and follow instructions.
If you want to reduce the number of mosquitoes on your property, you need something besides repellants. If you don’t want to use insecticides, there is another solution: mosquito traps. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps work by attracting and then killing mosquitos. When it’s time for a female mosquito to feed (only female mosquitoes bite), mosquitoes find a host in three ways:
- By sight. Mosquitoes are sometimes drawn to movement.
- By heat. Animals and humans emit body heat (also known as infra-red radiation) and mosquitoes can detect this.
- By chemistry. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and other chemicals we emit (including lactic acid). In other words, mosquitoes don’t fly up to you because you’re human. It’s nothing personal: It’s because you’re sending out the right signals, indicating you’re a creature with blood. Mosquito traps capitalize on this idea.
Mosquito traps reduce the total number of mosquitoes on your property, working to reduce your risk of bites. They also reduce the number of female mosquitoes reproducing. This is important, since a female mosquito can produce more than 400 million offspring in one season — and that number assumes 75 percent of her eggs, larvae and young are killed. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps have more than 18 years of research behind them and studies have shown they are effective. Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps convert propane into CO2 and combine it with a carefully selected dose of heat, moisture and a secondary attractant to attract mosquitoes. Once mosquitoes approach the trap, they are whisked away by a vacuum into a net. They dehydrate and die within 24 hours, however it may take up to four weeks to disrupt the mosquito reproduction cycle.
Benefits of Mosquito Traps
Mosquito traps offer considerable benefits:
- They are not toxic to honey bees and other insects the way insecticides can be. If you have a garden and need beneficial insects for pollination, mosquito traps can help protect your local environment.
- They do not use insecticides or pesticides. Many people feel more comfortable knowing they are not adding potentially risky chemicals to their property.
- They are a long-term solution. Unlike repellants, which only last a few hours, or spray systems, which only last a few weeks, mosquito traps keep killing mosquitoes.
- They have been proven effective in a number of research studies.
- They work 24/7 to reduce mosquito populations.
- They disrupt the mosquito reproductive cycle. The fewer mosquitoes around your home, the lower your risk of bites. This is more effective than using repellants and hoping they don’t bite.
- There’s no risk of adaptation. Over time, insects can become resistant to some chemicals and compounds. Since mosquito traps work by attracting mosquitoes with something they find irresistible, there’s no way they’ll suddenly become “immune.” As long as mosquitoes want to drink blood, they’ll find the mosquito traps attractive and the traps will continue to work.
- They target biting mosquitoes. Mosquito traps work by attracting the female mosquito, which means they don’t indiscriminately kill insects not doing you harm.
- They are not harmful to the environment. There’s no residue left on your lawn or seeping into your soil.
- They can last for years.
- They require minimal work on your part to stay at peak performance. You will need to replace the propane tank, purchase a net as well as attractant every 21 days or so. Other than these simple tasks, your mosquito magnet can keep running unobtrusively in the background.
- They start to work right away. Just set up your Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps 30 or 40 feet away from you and your family or guests and start enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing your mosquito population is being reduced. Within 4 weeks, the reproductive cycle will be disrupted and you may see noticeable results.
- They give you control — you decide when, where and how to start using them each season.
- They are not dangerous for pets or children. Studies have suggested children and pets may be especially affected by insecticides. This is just not a problem with mosquito traps, since insecticides are not used.
- They allow you to use your yard right away — unlike some insecticides, which require a period when you need to stay off your lawn because of the risk.
Choosing the Right Mosquito Solution for You
To choose the right solution for mosquitoes on your property, here are a few questions you’ll want to ask:
How Many Mosquitoes Do You Seem to Have? If you have a large enough population of insects, they can be a real nuisance. You might not even be able to step outside in the evening without getting covered in bites. If you just see the occasional insect, simply using repellant may be enough. If you are getting bites and seeing more insects, a long-term solution might be important. More mosquitoes around the house mean there are probably breeding grounds nearby. The best solution? First, try to eliminate as many breeding grounds as possible. Any standing water — like bird baths or an old tire filled with water — has to go. Then install Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps to truly disrupt the breeding cycle and get rid of mosquitoes.
Do You Have a Family or Pets? Small children may not tolerate mosquito bites, and they may also be more vulnerable to insecticides. Pets and livestock, too, may suffer terribly with insect bites — and you generally can’t use insect repellant as easily. With some insecticides, you may be told to keep pets and children indoors, which might defeat the purpose of getting rid of mosquitoes in the first place. After all, you’re getting rid of pests so everyone in your family can enjoy the outdoors. If you have family or pets, you can use Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps safely and effectively and your entire family can start using the yard right away with no worries about exposure to insecticides.
Does Anyone in Your Home Have Sensitivities or Allergies to Mosquito Bites? Mosquito bites on most people get red and itchy. For some people, however, mosquito bites cause adverse or allergic reactions. For these people, bites can result in hives, painful skin inflammation and in rare cases even anaphylactic shock. Unfortunately, children are more likely to suffer from complications to mosquito bites. Their bodies just haven’t developed immunity yet —. If anyone in your family suffers greatly from mosquito bites, you need to take more aggressive action against mosquitoes. A long-term solution like Mosquito Magnet® mosquito traps can reduce the numbers of mosquitoes on your property, protecting everyone in your household.
Do You Have a Busy Schedule? Many mosquito control spray programs require you to set up regular appointments. You may need to be at home or arrange to pay for each visit. In addition to the spraying itself, you might need to move patio furniture out of the way or you might need to arrange to have someone at home when the company stops by. It can be a lot of work to monitor a spray schedule, and you will generally need to spray every 21 days or even more frequently. Trying to use repellants can be even more time-consuming, since you’ll be reapplying at least every few hours. With a Mosquito Magnet® mosquito trap, on the other hand, you’ll only need to take care of basic tasks — such as replacing the propane tank and purchasing a net as well as attractant to keep your mosquito trap working its best. You can do this on your own time — not just during business hours — and it only takes a short time.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Whether you decide to use traps, mosquito barrier sprays or repellents, a spray mosquito treatment for your lawn or some other solution, mosquitoes are tenacious. They are working to survive and they will do everything possible to keep on reproducing. You need to be vigilant and reduce mosquito breeding grounds around your property, even if you are using mosquito control methods. You’ll want to remove any standing water and overgrown weeds on your property, as they can provide mosquito breeding grounds. You’ll also want to continue using screens and other methods to keep mosquitoes out of your home. If you want to start enjoying the outdoors while worrying less about mosquitoes, contact Mosquito Magnet® to find out more about how insecticide-free mosquito traps can get rid of mosquitoes effectively and safely.