What You Need to Know Before Spraying for Mosquitoes

Hiring a company to spray your yard for mosquitoes will also kill other insects, including bees and butterflies.

When the weather is nice, there’s nothing better than getting out of the house to enjoy nature right outside your door. Whether it’s grilling out with family, doing some gardening, or even just taking a nap in the fresh air, spending time in your yard or on your deck or patio is a great way to connect with nature. Good friends and family and backyard birds and butterflies are always welcome, but there’s one guest nobody wants visiting while enjoying time outside: mosquitoes.

These pesky insects can turn a pleasant outdoor gathering into an itchy nightmare. No one likes mosquito bites, so it’s understandable that you may be considering hiring a mosquito-control company to treat your yard by spraying it with insecticide. Maybe you already have.

Unfortunately, despite marketing claims, these sprays don’t just harm mosquitoes. The most widely used residential mosquito sprays are also highly toxic to native pollinators such as bees and butterflies, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and they can even pose a risk to pets and people. Here’s what you need to know before spraying.

What’s in Mosquito Sprays?

Most residential mosquito control companies use insecticides known as pyrethrins, which are chemicals derived from chrysanthemum flowers that are toxic to insects; or more frequently, pyrethroids, which are synthetic chemicals that mimic pyrethrins. Whether natural or synthetic, these are broad-spectrum insecticides that are highly toxic to a wide variety of insects, not just mosquitoes.

Tiger swallowtail on a purple coneflower.

Companies such as Mosquito Joe, Mosquito Squad, Mosquito Authority and a host of others use pyrethrins and pyrethroids in their standard treatment options. Marketing efforts and corporate talking points correctly state that these pesticides are regulated and approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but that doesn’t mean they are without any negative environmental consequences.

We know the specific pyrethroids that these companies use such as bifenthrindeltamethrin, and permethrin are all highly toxic to bees, killing them on contact and for one or more days after treatment, a fact the EPA itself acknowledges.

There is no way for companies to spray these broad-spectrum insecticides in your yard without also killing other insects they come in contact with, including bees, butterflies, caterpillars, ladybugs, dragonflies and other beneficial insects, along with the mosquitoes.


How Sprays Hurt Bees and Other Wildlife


The focus of much of the toxicity testing by regulatory agencies has been on domesticated honey bees because their pollination services are critically important for our agriculture system and food production. Researchers have documented widespread contamination of honey bee hives with toxic pyrethroids, finding residues of these chemicals in the pollen that bees bring back to the hive, in beeswax, and on bees themselves, at levels that can be lethal to bees or cause harmful effects.

Honey bee enjoying nectar.

Even extremely small, residual doses of the chemicals used in mosquito sprays can disorient honey bees and prevent them from

returning to the hive. One study found that after topical application of only 0.009 micrograms of permethrin per bee, none of the observed bees returned to the hive at days end because of disorientation due to the treatment. A separate study with different authors found similar effects for deltamethrin, which disoriented 91% of return bee flights to the hive after a dose of only .0025 micrograms per bee. With declining bee populations worldwide threatening global food security and nutrition, we can’t afford to continue killing or harming bees.

Much less is known about the impacts of these sprays on wild insects and other native wildlife, but mosquito-control insecticides have been linked with declines of native pollinators. It’s clear that wild native bees and other pollinators are also at risk from mosquito pesticides. Wild bee susceptibility to insecticides directly correlates with the surface area to volume ratio of the bee, meaning smaller bees like alfalfa-pollinating alkali bees native to the west and southwestern U.S. are at even greater risk from mosquito sprays than honey bees.

Recently, thousands of monarch butterflies

 were found dead in the Fargo-Moorhead area of North Dakota and Minnesota after aerial spraying of a 100-square mile area with permethrin to control mosquitoes. Monarch populations have plummeted at an alarming rate in recent decades. The total ecological impact of a spraying event like this is untold, but surely devastating to an unimaginable number of wild insects due to permethrin’s broad-spectrum toxicity.

Many insects are beneficial to humans, serving as pollinators and pest predators. Many are beautiful and iconic, like the monarch butterfly. Insects are also part of the base of the food web, without which other wildlife cannot survive.

For example, 96 percent of our backyard birds rely on insects as the exclusive food source for their babies. When you spray your yard for mosquitoes, you also kill off that food source and make it more difficult for birds to successfully reproduce. Almost 30 percent of the North American bird population has disappeared in just the last 50 years. Insect populations themselves are rapidly plummeting as well. Pesticides are a factor in all of these wildlife declines.

Mosquitoes themselves play an ecological role, serving as pollinators and as a food source for other wildlife.

Other Impacts of Mosquito Sprays

Mosquito sprays aren’t just toxic to insects, either. Runoff can wash these chemicals from our yards into surface waters, where they can poison aquatic organisms such as fish and crustaceans, which are highly sensitive to pyrethroidsPets exposed to pyrethroids can experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and other symptoms.

While the risk to humans from pyrethroids is relatively low when applied properly, these products are far from harmless to human healthPeople exposed to large amounts of pyrethroids can experience effects like stinging skin, dizziness, headache, or nausea that might last for several hours. Pyrethroids can enter your body if you breathe air containing the chemicals, eat food that has been contaminated by the spray, or if your skin comes into contact with the spray. Children and infants are the most vulnerable risk group to pyrethroids.

Alternatives to Spraying

Luckily, it’s possible to keep mosquitoes at bay and reduce your chances of being bitten even without pesticide sprays. We encourage you to avoid broad-spectrum insecticide sprays because of their deadly impacts on non-target insects and other wildlife and instead consider more effective and less harmful mosquito control strategies.

Many companies offer “organic” spray options marketed as less dangerous. Such sprays are typically made up of various plant-based essential oils, but that doesn’t mean they are effective or without negative impacts. These oils can still be harmful to bees and other beneficial insects upon direct contact, so they shouldn’t be used on flowering plants or during the day when bees are active. More research is needed to fully understand the impacts of these alternative sprays on native insects and other organisms.

Overall, the most effective and safest ways to control mosquitoes in your yard are through source reduction and early intervention. Mosquito larvae need stagnant water to develop, so try to regularly remove or drain sources of standing water which can pool up in gutters, corrugated PVC drainage pipes, kids’ playsets or any debris left outside. For sources of water, you can’t drain, use mosquito dunks or other products containing the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis or “Bt,” which targets mosquito larvae and other biting flies but is essentially harmless to other wildlife and people. Other wildlife like turtlescopepods, frogs, dragonflies, and birds are voracious predators of mosquitoes, so enlist their help by gardening for wildlife and doing your part to maintain healthy populations of these wild allies.

If mosquitoes are still a problem for you, you can protect yourself from bites by wearing long sleeves when mosquitoes are present or using repellents containing DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus, a botanical spray that has been shown to be as effective as synthetic repellents. Even a simple electric fan can help significantly by blowing away your scent and making it harder for mosquitoes to find you.

Mosquitoes are annoying, but we don’t need to sacrifice native wildlife and put our own health at risk to keep them away. As you head outdoors, ditch the toxic mosquito spray services, and take advantage of the more natural and effective ways to reduce mosquito bites. You’ll get to enjoy a painless outdoor celebration, and the bees will thank you.

Published By: National Wildlife Federation



Same Amazing Environmentally Sound Pest Control Products Under a New Brand Name

North Bergen, NJ (February 16, 2021) – The EcoRaider family of plant-based pest control sprays has announced it is rebranding under the EcoVenger® name.

Since its launch in 2012, EcoRaider has provided highly efficacious plant-based insect control formulas for consumers and pest professionals alike. Their products are known for eradicating the toughest insect pests while posing minimal adversarial impact to the environment.

EcoRaider rose quickly during the bed bug resurgence. A university published study revealed that EcoRaider is the only natural product that is able to kill bed bugs with 100% efficacy. Soon, EcoRaider became a highly demanded product for bed bug remedy.

Today, the company’s formulas for controlling bed bugs, ants, and mosquitoes have all become go-to products and are increasingly recommended by top pest control professionals.

“Because, as a green product, it not only outperforms top-grade chemical pesticides but also provides solutions for pesticide-resistance issues that have confounded the industry for decades,” stated Trinity Brenniser, spokesperson for EcoVenger. “Now with people spending more time at home, it is important to have a safe and effective solution that your children and pets do not have to leave home while you do the spraying.”

As an advocate of green and sustainability, the company’s monthly webinar, “CEU Virtual Academy” program, has received a warm reception from pest professionals since the onset of the Covid pandemic. Programs are approved by state regulatory departments. “Pest professionals are welcome to sign up at our professional product line website ecoraiderpmp.com, and it is free,” added Brenniser.

Under the new brand name EcoVenger, the company will remain as a leader, educator, and innovator of green and sustainability in the pest management industry. It will maintain its commitment to developing high performing, environmentally sound pest solutions, and fine-tune its product lines for the improved end-user experience.

“The new brand name EcoVenger will be an improved representation of the company’s ongoing promise to continue delivering ‘naturally effective’ pest control formulas for ecocentric consumers and professionals,”  stated Trinity Brenniser.

The rebranding will not impact company personnel or day-to-day operations. During the brand transition, customers and professional users may continue receiving EcoRaider branded products until inventory levels deplete within the marketplaces such as Amazon, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, and other pest control industry distributors.

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EcoVenger®, formerly as EcoRaider, developed by Reneotech Inc, is a non-toxic but highly efficacious bio-insecticide product line made with essential oil-based insecticidal compounds. It provides a green and sustainable alternative solution for eliminating unwanted pest insects with unparalleled efficacy by blocking invertebrates’ octopamine receptor pathway. EcoVenger can be used as an adulticide, larvicide, and repellency, proven through multiple leading university studies and journal publications. For more information, visit www.EcoVenger.com.

How to Conduct a Bed Bug Inspection

What Bed Bugs Look Like

In order to conduct an effective bed bug inspection you must know a little bit about bed bugs. A bed bug, whose scientific name is cimex lectularius, is a small, oval shaped, wingless bug with six legs. The average adult bed bug is approximately five millimeters long and is about as wide as a credit card is thick; a newly hatched nymph however is much smaller and can be the size of a pinhead. The shape of an adult bed bug has been described as similar to that of an apple seed except that a bed bug is relatively flat. Bed bugs range in colors from nearly white at the nymph stage to brown as adults and rusty-brown if they are adults that have recently fed on blood.

A Simple, Visual Inspection of Sleeping Areas

The least complex, and first method you should use to inspect for bed bugs is a simple visual inspection. This can be done with no tools at all, but using a good flashlight and a magnifying glass can be very helpful. Note that bed bugs are a nocturnal pest, extremely tiny and thin and will hideout in the smallest of cracks and crevices during daylight hours. Therefore, adult bed bugs may be difficult to see during the day. During your inspection, you are really looking for evidence of bed bugs or bed bug eggs in cracks and crevices. Although bed bugs can be found in many areas, the first place that should be inspected is any soft furniture used as a sleeping area that has places for a bed bug to hide; pieces of furniture that fall into this category include both beds and sofas.

Adult bed bugs should be observable with the naked eye but will typically not be found during the day. If adult bed bugs are hiding, only nymphs and eggs may be present and a magnifying glass will be very beneficial in seeing them. In some cases you will not see actual bed bugs but you will see evidence that they were there. Small dark spots on the mattress may be bed bug feces, eggs, shed skin, or blood blots. Unfortunately it is sometimes hard for untrained people to identify bed bug waste.

When inspecting a bed, the first step should be to carefully lookover the fitted sheet and mattress pad that is the sleeping surface. Look for blood stains, often described as looking like pepper, and also inspect for bug parts or squished bugs. Next, it is important to inspect the seams, edging, and corners of the mattress. Gently pull at the sides of the mattress to make it easier to look in the corners. If you have a flashlight, shine the flashlight in the area for better visibility. If you are inspecting a chair, sofa, or other upholstered piece of furniture, first take of any removable cushions, and like the inspection of the bed, look at any crevices, corners or seams where a bed bug would be able to hide.

A Thorough Bed Bug Inspection

If you want to conduct a more in-depth inspection, after you have looked at the tops of upholstered items, move on to other, more discreet areas that may contain bed bugs. After completely inspecting and stripping a mattress turn it over and inspect the underside as well as the top of the box spring. Next, remove the box spring and with a flashlight thoroughly inspect the bottom side of it. The underside of box springs is a favorite hiding spot for bed bugs.

In a room that has a bed, sofa, or chair, the next place to inspect is the furniture around those items. Make sure to take a close look at the front and backside of the head-boards. Picture frames hung near furniture, night stands, joints of any drawers and even electrical outlets can be infestation areas for bed bugs. Bed bugs may also be present in places where we often hang clothing like a coat closet or on the back of a door.

Another option beyond the visual inspection is the use of detection device. There are devices on the market now that will let you know if you have a bed bug problem by encouraging bed bugs to enter a device that traps them until you are able to see them. These devices are usually small and discrete so they can be placed either between the mattress and the box spring of a bed, or near any area you may suspect there are bed bugs.

If Bed Bugs Are Discovered

If you do uncover bugs near a sleeping area in the home we recommend saving it in a sealed container and having a pest professional or local cooperative extension identify it. In the case of an infestation you will want to carefully place all bed linens immediately into a sealed plastic bag and wash and dry them on the highest temperature setting. This will kill all stages of the bugs. There is no need to throw out your mattress! If bed bugs have infested the room there is a good chance that they will simply reinfest any new mattress brought into the room.

To learn more about bed bug, read here.