By ElRay Roper, Senior Technical Representative, Syngenta Professional Pest Management
It goes without saying that California experienced wetter than usual weather this past winter. Combined with the potential for mosquito-borne diseases like the Zika and West Nile viruses, many California residents are wondering if they need to take additional steps to protect themselves from the increasing threat of mosquitoes.
Mosquito abatement districts have traditionally been responsible for managing mosquitoes arising from flood waters, naturally occurring spring runoff and agricultural runoff. However, two new species of mosquitoes have recently made their way to California — the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) — which are significant urban pests that readily breed in small containers and other water receptacles, unlike most common nuisance mosquitoes. These mosquitoes are also daytime feeders and principle vectors of diseases like the Zika virus, Chikungunya and dengue fever.
Because these are urban pests, pest control operators may be asked by their customers what they can do to help manage them. Below are several tactics to help your customers deal with the problems posed by these urban mosquitoes:
- Work with local mosquito abatement districts to educate customers about the risk of mosquito-borne diseases in their area.
- Encourage the use of mosquito repellents and proper clothing when working or playing outdoors.
- Help customers mosquito-proof their homes and businesses by inspecting screens and storm doors.
- Help customers reduce breeding sites by removing or closing containers that may hold water, like old buckets, planter bases, ceramic pots and old tires. Also inspect rain gutters, as they can hold water long enough for most mosquitoes to breed.
- Treat permanent bodies of water with bacterial control agents or insect growth regulators, which can be supplied by your local pest management distributor.
- Make insecticide barrier treatments to structures and landscape plants to reduce mosquito pressure in the areas immediately surrounding homes and businesses.
These mosquitoes like to rest in cool, shady areas created by landscape plants, decks and porches. These areas can be treated with a residual insecticide, which will kill mosquitoes that land on the treated surface. Research from Syngenta has shown microencapsulated insecticides like Demand® CS insecticide offer effective control of mosquitoes when applied to foliage. Additionally, Archer® insect growth regulator can be applied to prevent breading larvae from maturing to adults.
If you offer a mosquito management treatment, the products must be applied to both the top and bottom of the leaves. This is best achieved by using a mist blower applicator to apply the insecticide to landscape plants and under porches. A standard compressed sprayer may be used to apply insecticide instead, but generally requires more time and greater volumes to create the same amount of coverage as the mist blower. Barrier treatments work best around buildings with lush landscaping that provides resting areas for mosquitoes.
Most importantly, don’t promise results you can’t deliver when dealing with a mosquito management service. Never promise that they won’t get a mosquito-borne disease, or that they will never see mosquitoes or get mosquito bites. Your service can never cover a large enough area to keep all mosquitoes out of their yards. However, if you develop, follow and re-evaluate your mosquito control protocol, you will be able to help give your customers peace of mind when it comes to mosquito problems.
For more information about mosquito control, visit www.SyngentaPMP.com/Mosquito.
This article was published in the Pest Control Operators of California's (PCOC's) summer 2017 issue. Visit http://www.naylornetwork.com/cpc-nxt/ to learn more.
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