Tech Notes

Up-to-date information about the Zika virus and mosquito treatment options

By Chris Keefer, Field Technical Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management

Zika update and mosquito vectors

There are more than 165 species of mosquitoes found in the U.S. belonging to approximately 15 different genera. These mosquitoes have the capability to transmit many diseases, including West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis, Chikungunya, dengue and Zika.

As of April 19, 2017, there have been 5,238 Zika virus cases reported in the U.S. 4,939 are travel-related, while 223 are presumed to have been caused by local transmission. Florida has the highest number of local transmission cases at 217, followed by Texas at 6. There have been 76 reported cases that are thought to have been acquired through other routes of transmission, such as sexual contact and congenital infection.1

The primary vector of the Zika virus is the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. What is believed to be a competent secondary vector of Zika is the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Ae. aegypti have been found in the U.S. for hundreds of years, while Ae. albopictus were introduced in the late 1980s.

Commonly referred to as container-breeding mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus share the following traits:

  • Go through complete metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa and adult
  • Can complete their life cycle in as little as 7 days (depending on temperature and humidity)
  • Have a flight range of several hundred yards
  • Are daytime biters
  • Rest in shady areas, and in vegetation less than 10 feet tall

Mosquito treatment revenue and best practices

Mosquito treatments generated more than $157 million in revenue for Pest Management Professionals (PMPs) in 2016, with the majority coming from residential accounts.2 Mosquito treatments can be great services to offer if you are properly trained and have the right equipment to deliver quality service to your customers.

You should understand key integrated pest management techniques before offering mosquito services, such as thorough inspections, source reduction and larval and adult control with proper application equipment. Effective mosquito management should also include the following:

  • Knowledge of the biology and ecology of target pests
  • PMP and customer education
  • Knowing local and state regulations
  • Personal protective equipment

Many different types of equipment are available for applying a mosquito treatment. However, a backpack blower/mister allows the applicator to easily adjust the volume applied and move the nozzle quickly to direct treatment to targeted areas. This equipment also allows precise treatments that avoid drift to non-target areas.

For the best mosquito control results, use a residual contact insecticide in conjunction with an insect growth regulator (IGR). The insecticide will control adults at the time of the treatment, while the IGR will inhibit immature stages from reaching complete sexual maturity. Demand® CS insecticide is a residual contact insecticide that is effective against mosquitoes and can be used in conjunction with Archer® insect growth regulator, which disrupts mosquitoes’ reproductive cycles. Both products are recommended in a 60-day treatment protocol as part of the SecureChoicesm Mosquito Assurance Program.

By staying up-to-date about these pests, including mosquito-borne viruses and treatment options, you can help give customers mosquito-free environments they expect. For more information about mosquito control, visit the SecureChoice Mosquito Assurance Program webpage.


Bennett, G. W., J. M. Owens, and R. M. Corrigan. 1997. Truman’s Scientific Guide to Pest Control Operations. Advanstar Communications Inc., Cleveland, OH.

Mallis, A. 1990. Handbook of Pest Control. Franzak and Foster Co., Cleveland, OH.


Syngenta hereby disclaims any liability for Third Party websites referenced herein.

©2017 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties and/or may have state-specific use requirements. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration and proper use. Archer®, Demand®, For Life Uninterrupted™, SecureChoicesm and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Syngenta Customer Center: 1-866-SYNGENT(A) (796-4368).

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