mosquito barrier spray

a_bearSeptember 24, 2010

This has been an especially brutal summer in our heavily wooded neighborhood, and all around me yard signs are popping up from the various companies that offer mosquito spraying services, especially one called the Mosquito Authority. I haven't asked directly--partly because I doubt I'd get an answer I'd trust--but in poking around I haven't been able to figure out what exactly they spray, although of course they all claim it's safe for kids and dogs, etc.

Does anyone know what they use? Am I correct in assuming that it's something that kills all sorts of other things too?

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Most mosquito "barrier" sprays I am aware of today are malathion, a very broad spectrum poison. Some places are mixing various other pesticides, a dangerous practice because often we do not know what mixing them will do, think of the many EPA Superfund sites around that are still being cleaned up because 2 chemicals were dumped near each other and mixed to produce some very toxic substances. DDT was used in the USA when I was much younger, and still is used in many parts of the world and no one really knows for sure what that does in a human many years after exposure.
In the article linked there are notes about adverse affects of malathion along with statements that no noticeable damage was done in X days. However, there is nothing to indicate long term studies of those changes seen in humans.

Here is a link that might be useful: Malathion

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 6:54AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I think you'd just about have to call and ask what the active ingredient would be - then if you still have concerns check into that active ingredient.

In doing a little searching online it appears many companies use a variety of formulations with permethrin commonly sprayed for owners of more sensitive households....but that's information found out of curiosity - we have a somewhat short mosquito season here that is not particularly troublesome.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 11:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

"Mosquito Authority" is a franchise. None of their websites (nor the main website) tell you what the active ingredient is. I can tell you that it will not be malathion, though. However, it might every well be a pyrethrin or pyrethrum form, often touted as 'safe for children and pets', but not so much. Yes, such chemicals are broad spectrum pesticides and harmful to a wide range of life forms, not just mosquitoes.

You are well within your rights to call the local number and ask for a list of the active ingredients, or for the MSDS information on the 'mosquito barrier'. Tell them you are interested, but not until you know what's in it.

Then get back to us! ;-) Who knows? It might be something we'd all love to hear about.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:42PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

I would say it's Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis but I don't know if they make a form that is spray able. Bt(i) is supposed to be safe for anything besides mosquito, black fly and leaf beetle larvae. Personally I would buy the granules and spread them myself if I had a mosquito problem.

I'm pretty sure it's NOT malathion and more likely(as rhizo stated) a pyrethroid insecticide. Alone the pyrethrin or pyrethrum would have a low toxicity level for pets and humans but they were chemically engineered to be more toxic with longer breakdown times, and are often formulated with synergists, increasing potency and compromising the human bodys ability to detoxify the pesticide.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 5:37PM
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There are people that have this mistaken notion that since pyrethrins are derived from a chrysanthemum they are safe for use around people when they are not. Nothing that is meant to kill any insect is really safe for use around people partly because we have done no studies to see whatlong term exposure to them does or what happens long term after an exposure.

Here is a link that might be useful: pyrethrins

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 7:03AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

kimmsr do realize the info in the article you linked is mostly over 20 years old, OBSOLETE and it means DIDDLEY??

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Information 20 years old may not be obsolete because no one has found any reason to to more research because that done 20 years ago is still valid. I am sorry that you do not find good information of value.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 5:56AM
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Why would you spray anything in the fall. Next spring may be dry and you may not have any mosquitos. Last year we had a rainy spring and the blackfkies and mosquitoes were bad. This year was hot and dry and we scarsely had a bug.

You can do things in your own yard to cut down on them. Empty out anything that has standing water. If you have water collection for gardening make sure it has a screen over it. Make sure anything you use that has the potential to hold water is stored up side down. Plant lemon scented plants throughout the yard. Occasionally put some lemon scented dish soap in a hose end sprayer and spray your yard

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 7:20AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

OK, here's the scoop on the 'mosquito barrier' spray used by the Mosquito Authority franchises. The active ingredient is the pyrethroid Bifenthrin. I called a local company for this information, since I couldn't find it on-line anywhere.

Bifenthrin is very much a broad spectrum pesticide, and highly toxic to a very wide range of insects and other arthropods...good and bad. It is also labeled as highly toxic to aquatic animals such as fish and amphibians. It's moderately toxic to birds, and small mammals. You need to add the elderly, infants and young children, men and women planning on having children, pregnant women (it is a known reproductive and developmental toxin), the infirm, etc.

The words 'highly' and 'moderately' are not my superlatives, but how this (and other) chemicals are rated.

I added the part of about the elderly, infants, etc., etc, because they are without the natural physiological protections that other mammals have. Without the protection, we become very susceptible to the problems caused by chemicals.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I appreciate all this info. I wasn't planning to do anything now, but I was thinking about being prepared for next season. This is a new house (for us), and both summers we've been here have been bad. This summer was even more brutal than last (despite being unusually dry and hot--go figure), leaving me to suspect this is more or less going to be the norm for us. The main issue is that behind us is nothing but woods, acres and acres of it, and I suspect there's not a lot I can do on my own to make it less of a mosquito haven. I've attended to any standing water I could find near the house (almost none), and I've been reading about planting lemon-scented plants and catnip. I might try that in the spring, and possibly it will make the front yard more livable, if I plant it there. But I fear it would take professional measures to really deal with the problem more systematically. As I said, though, I'm really wary of poisoning my family or our groundwater or indiscriminately killing things other than mosquitoes, which is why I was curious to know what these companies use. There's probably no avoiding calling them all individually, but I wanted to have sense of what the norm might be first.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 2:54PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

All of the 'Mosquito Authority' franchises will use the same chemical, same brand, same everything. The 'norm' for other mosquito abatement programs would pretty much be the same...they will use a pyrethrum or synthetic pyrethroid (like the Befenthrin above). It's the lesser of all of the evils.

If there are drainage ditches or ponds to think about, a company would probably use Bt-I (Bacillus thuringiensis var. Israelensis), which is a biological larvicide for many members of that particular insect order (Diptera).

Some municipal agencies still use malathion, delivered with ULV (ultra low volume) systems. They also use pyrethroids.

There is no scientific evidence that lemon or citronella scented plants repel mosquitoes. The REAL citronella does, but that plant won't grow where you live. It's a tropical grass, Cymbopogon nardus. That's the plant that real citronella oil comes from.

Speaking of oils, there are many natural plant oils that have proven to have good results in keeping these pests from biting. I used one for a long time that contained many of the ingredients listed in the attached article. It worked great, for me. And without the problems associated with DEET repellents.

Here is a link that might be useful: Just some interesting information

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 4:14PM
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We've found the Repel Lemon/Eucalyptus works pretty well when we make a point of slathering ourselves to do battle, but the bigger hassle is when we're going outside for only a minute or two, or even just coming and going out the door. Every time someone comes in we have to chase down the mosquitoes that came in with them.

Having a preschooler makes it extra challenging. The mosquitoes absolutely feast on him, even on his face, and there's nothing I'd feel comfortable putting there, where he could easily lick it off or it could sweat into his eyes or mouth.

There are no ponds in the woods, but our gutters drain down at the bottom of a hill in the back. The shade is very thick back there, so it's possible the water festers a bit, even despite this summer's record temperatures. Weirdly, it was in the driest and hottest months (July and August) that the mosquitoes were the worst. They're still bad now.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 9:19PM
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a bear---When my son was little we moved to a small town. The blackflies were terrible and my son had more bites than you could count. The old lady across the street told me to bathe him with sunlight laundry soap. Now I don't know if they've changed the formulation of it since then, but it sure helped. It also heloed take the itch out of the bites he did have. I washed his hair with unscented shampoo and rinsed it with water in which I'd steeped lemon balm and that helped too.

Try it it might save a few bites

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 7:20PM
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Interesting, oilpainter. I'll have to see if it's available anywhere around here.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 2:02PM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

It seems like I remember Sunlight regularly available at dollar store or dollar general. I get all my cleaning supplies at one or the other depending on what they have available. It's the cheapest place to find them unless you buy in bulk. Soap in general is a good pest deterrent and it will eventually kill many bugs.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:54PM
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I live I. Alabama and we have mosquito that will carry you away! The most effective and safe for everything is a product called cedar oil! It is 100 percent cedar oil you can order it from a company called cedarcide you hook sprayer to a hose and spray everything! I promise you it works! I live in the country and it also repels snakes and scorpions it will not hurt lizards or frogs or birds or any humans of any age. It doesn't actually kill the bugs it just repels them and believe me when you spray it you can watch any kind of bug run from your yard! You can also use inside your home. The only drawback is it is a little on the expensive side! Hope this helps everyone it works for us

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:50PM
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Never heard of cedar oil for spraying, but I do know cedar will repel insects other than moths. My mom-in-law (also in Ala) would put fresh cedar boughs under her porch to repel fleas and ticks off her dog who slept under there.
Since it is expensive do you have to respray after every rain? How long does it last otherwise? Does an oil-based spray hurt your flowers or shrubs in our Alabama heat? How long have you been using it? I would love to hear more. Thanks,

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 5:47PM
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For body spray we bought some Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent at Academy Sports and it works very well. I know it's annoying to have to apply something but at least it's 100% natural (lemon eucalyptus oil) and smells good too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Coleman® Botanicals 4 fl. oz. Pump Spray Insect Repellent

    Bookmark   August 15, 2013 at 5:25PM
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