Entomology and Plant Pathology

Steps for Effective Mosquito Control

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Education

One of the most effective tools available is awareness of mosquito biology so that you can eliminate future mosquito breeding sites from your yard. You should be aware of the life cycle of mosquitoes so you can take steps to avoid rearing mosquito larvae in water containers on your property. You should eliminate larval breeding sites such as discarded tires, beverage cups/litter, and unused children's wading pools. Residents should clean and replenish pet water and bird bathes every 3 days, clean roof gutters to allow proper drainage, prevent standing water in flower pots, ensure good property drainage, and plug hollow tree stumps. Water gardens or small fountains should be treated with larvicides or contain mosquito eating fish to prevent emerging adult mosquitoes. Maintenance of screen doors and windows will prevent adult mosquitoes from entering homes. Remember, any container that will hold water for 5 to 7 days is a potential breeding site for mosquito larvae.

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Source Reduction of Larval Habitats

One of the simplest ways to reduce larval mosquito populations is to drain any unnecessary containers/pools of water which allow mosquito larval development. If it is not possible to drain areas, then treating them with larvicides if they are supporting larvae is an alternative. Many mosquito larvicides on the market are very host specific and only disrupt the larval stages of mosquitoes and do not harm non-target species. 
 
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Personal Protection

People can reduce their exposure to biting mosquitoes by wearing insect repellent when they are outdoors. They can also avoid being outside at dawn, early evening, and dusk when the majority of biting female mosquitoes are active. Wearing long sleeved clothing with long pants also provides protection. Repellants which contain from 10 to 30% DEET (N, N diethyl-m-toluamide) are most effective, but always read and follow label directions for proper application. Special care should be taken when applying repellants to children. Click here for some frequently asked questions about insect repellent use.
 

Chemical Control for Adult Mosquitoes

Homeowner chemical control for adult mosquitoes is not practical and decisions regarding control should be left up to municipal regulation. Area wide chemical control for adult mosquitoes in Oklahoma is typically applied by thermal fogging or Ultra Low Volume (ULV) spraying. This type of control is not usually effective in Oklahoma because it is very rare for conditions to be conducive for fogging adult mosquitoes. Adult mosquitoes must come into contact with the pesticide, so timing of application is critical. Since different mosquito species are active during different periods throughout a 24hr day it is critical to fog at exactly the proper time to get effective control of the target species. Extensive behavioral knowledge of the species to be controlled must be utilized and the spray applied only when adults are active. Weather conditions must be considered, as windy conditions usually present in the spring in Oklahoma may cause pesticides to drift out of an area so that they never reach their intended target. If ULV spraying is utilized the air temperature should be at least 60oF, with wind velocities between 3-5 mph. Spraying in the heat of the day is not recommended as ULV droplets volatilize and go upward out of target areas. ULV spray equipment must be properly calibrated and operated by experienced personnel to ensure proper pesticide application rates. Pesticide label rates and recommendations must be followed according to the manufacturers instructions for all pesticides applied. Mosquito control products available for consumer use are typically sold through local home and garden supply stores. Product availability may vary according to location and state regulation. For a complete list of products registered for control of mosquitoes in Oklahoma please click here. 
 

Chemical Control for Larval Mosquitoes

A listing of approved mosquito larvicides has been developed to aid municipal workers in treating mosquito populations in storm drains or catch basins in Oklahoma. For a comprehensive list of these products please click here.    
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