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September 6, 2002

Adult Mosquito Control
by Barb Ogg, PhD, Extension Educator

Recent West Nile Virus cases in Nebraska have resulted in questions from acreage owners and farmers about treating acreages or farmsteads for adult mosquitoes. In general, this type of treatment alone will take much effort with limited results unless treatments are repeated every day or two. Treating standing water or ponds with a larvicide, like Bacillus thuringiensis will be more helpful.

The most sensible and inexpensive way to prevent mosquito bites is to use an insect repellent, containing DEET (diethyl-toluamide). Products containing DEET are available in many concentrations that range from liquids to aerosols. It is even possible to purchase moist towelettes containing DEET that can be put in backpack, purse or glove box, just for emergencies. Be sure to read and follow label directions when using personal repellents.

It is legal for a acreage owner or farmer to apply general-use pesticide for adult mosquitoes on their private property. However, persons must be certified and licensed by the Department of Agriculture under certain conditions.

They need to be certified and licensed if:

  1. they are hired to apply insecticide for adult mosquitoes in private or public areas or,
  2. they apply Restricted Use Pesticides or,
  3. they apply insecticides for adult mosquitoes as a condition of their employment

For more information about pesticide certification and licensing, contact the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Pesticide Program at: 402-471-2394.

The following information about controlling adult mosquitoes comes from the Environmental Protection Agency. Because most adult mosquito control is done by municipalities, it is written for that audience, but the information also applies to successful adult mosquito control on acreages and farmsteads.

"For adult control to be successful, insecticides must be applied under proper environmental conditions (e.g., temperature and wind) and at the time of day when the target species is most active. The applicator must apply pesticides with carefully calibrated equipment that generates the proper-sized insecticide droplets that will impinge on adult mosquitoes while they are at rest or flying. If the droplets are too large, they will fall to the ground. If they are too small, the prevailing winds will carry them away from the target area. Once the insecticide spray mist dissipates, insecticides will break down in the environment (generally within 24 hours) producing little residual effect. Depending on the situation, insecticides can be applied from spray equipment mounted on trucks, airplanes or helicopters. All insecticides used in the U.S. for public health use have been approved and registered by the EPA following the review of many scientific studies. The EPA has assessed these chemicals and found that, when used according to label directions, they do not pose unreasonable risk to public health and the environment."

Links:

Mosquito Update for Nebraska - 2002 Update

Nebraska Department of Agriculture databases. For help in finding information on pesticides listed for mosquito control in Nebraska, visit the Nebraska Department of Agriculture databases of registered pesticides. The database even allows you to narrow your search "by pest" - in this case "adult mosquito". Visit HERE.

Nebraska Health and Human Services System - includes information on submitting birds

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's site

For more information on West Nile and Mosquito Control:

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