Nothing can make you abandon a barbecue on a warm summer night or ruin the romantic charm of a midnight stroll under the moonlight than a swarm of mosquitoes out for blood. So, what can you do to keep these ruthless pests away from your property?
Before buying a mosquito yard spray, read the label to ensure it’s safe to use around kids and pets. Keep your yard size in mind, as you might need to buy multiple units for a larger area. Natural mosquito sprays can be an effective option for regular use that limits exposure to harsh chemicals.
Not only can mosquitoes leave you with red, itchy, and irritated spots on your skin, but their bite can also cause some very dangerous diseases like Dengue, Zika, Malaria, and West Nile virus. Let’s look at some top mosquito yard sprays, what they’re made of, and how you can use them effectively to protect yourself.
Choosing the Best Mosquito Sprays
Mosquito sprays are quite effective in dealing with mosquito infestations. However, before choosing a particular product, it’s essential to consider the following factors:
The first thing that you should take into account is the size of your yard. Mosquito yard sprays are often effective in eliminating and preventing pests over smaller areas — for instance, the precise treatment of a nesting area. Foggers, on the other hand, are suitable for a broader application.
Yard sprays come in different sizes and can provide coverage to areas ranging from 500 to 5,000 square feet. Remember to keep your yard size in mind when shopping for a yard spray. You might have to purchase more than one bottle to cover your whole yard.
How a yard spray works depends on whether it’s made up of natural ingredients or chemicals. Natural repellents are based on the fact that living creatures are naturally repulsed by certain odors, while sprays that contain chemicals attack the circulatory system, respiratory system, or central nervous system.
Also, some sprays can be used safely over plants and other surfaces, whereas others are only for topical application. Keep in mind the area where you want to spray and read the information on the spray bottle carefully to make sure it suits your needs. It might also be best to go with a natural repellent if you have children or pets around.
Ease of Use
It’s convenient to go with sprays that come with user-friendly features like adjustable nozzles, an easy-to-open cap, etc. Mosquito sprays typically come pre-mixed, which eliminates the need to prepare a solution before spraying.
Look for yard sprays with adjustable nozzles, as they offer you complete control over the density of the spray. You can increase or decrease the amount of spray applied depending on the mosquito treatment required.
It’s essential to make safety a top priority, especially when chemicals are involved. Always read and follow the instructions listed on the product container, as well as on the manufacturer’s website.
Many high-quality mosquito yard sprays contain ingredients that are environmentally safe and leave no residue. They are typically non-toxic to humans and don’t pose any threat to wildlife upon application. However, they do leave an unpleasant smell behind.
Some chemical pesticides can cause irritated eyes, sore throat, headaches, rashes, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting. Make sure to take the necessary precautions when using such products. Wear gloves, a shirt with long sleeves, long pants, and proper eye and breathing protection.
If you have children or pets, it’s best to wait for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours before letting them go outside to play in the yard. Check the product label to find out the exact time, as some companies advise keeping children and pets out of the yard for 24 hours after spraying.
Sprays vs. Foggers
Foggers and sprays use different methods to apply the pesticide and are designed with different power sources. For this reason, they can be classified into three different categories: electric foggers, thermal foggers, and sprays. You can use all three types interchangeably, or use both a fogger and spray together to get rid of mosquitoes in your backyard.
Electric foggers are designed to effectively cover larger areas. Also known as cold or non-thermal foggers, these foggers are equipped with a series of swirling nozzles that utilize high air pressure to disperse pesticides over a broad area. The greatest drawback of these devices is that they need a power outlet to run, which seriously limits their mobility.
The range of applications of electric foggers is limited unless you use a portable generator. However, they can be used for longer periods as they’re not likely to run out of fuel unless there’s a power outage.
These foggers use gasoline or propane to heat and vaporize pesticides as they’re sprayed out of the fogger. This allows the vapor droplets to cover larger areas within minutes.
Thermal foggers are typically used by professional pest extermination companies as they’re not only expensive devices, but the high temperatures produced by them also make them unsuitable to treat indoor insect infestations.
You will need to refill these machines with gas regularly to continue using them. It’s also essential to empty the fuel completely if you’re going to be storing a fogger for a long period.
Sprays are commonly used to treat small infestations or with foggers to target particular areas. They are made with a concentrated form of pesticide and various active ingredients to kill mosquitoes and other insects.
Sprays are very easy to use; they don’t need any filling or remixing like misters or foggers. You can start spraying your yard as soon as you bring the product home. However, sprays are not designed to be reused, which makes them an expensive option for treating a recurring pest problem.
Top Mosquito Yard Sprays
Let’s go through some top mosquito yard sprays that are highly effective against irritating mosquito infestation. We’ll take a look at their active ingredients and overall performance:
Wondercide Mosquito Yard Spray
The Wondercide Outdoor Pest Control Spray (on Amazon) comes in a 32-ounce bottle, which can effectively treat an area of almost 5,000 square feet. This is a natural product that can be safely used around pets and children.
Its plant-based formula consists of three main ingredients: sodium lauryl sulfate, cedarwood oil, and sesame oil. In addition to mosquitoes, the Wondercide Mosquito Yard spray kills almost 98% of other common yard pests including ticks, fleas, and ants.
With outstanding performance, eye-catching packaging, and a catchy name, Ortho BugClear (on Amazon) excels on all fronts.
Made from ingredients like zeta-cypermethrin and bifenthrin, the effectiveness of this product can last for up to six months. It’s available in a 32-ounce bottle, which is enough for an area of 5,300 square feet.
This product is not just effective against mosquitoes. As the name suggests, it’s effective against as many as 235 different insect species including cutworms, Japanese beetles, black flies, ticks, ants, spiders, stink bugs, etc.
Spectracide Triazicide (on Amazon) is one of the best mosquito yards sprays available for solid, long-lasting lawn and landscape protection against mosquitoes, gnats, beetles, crickets, and many other pests.
This specially formulated outdoor insecticide offers protection to your flowers, plants, and grass for up to 3 months. The active ingredient used is Gamma-Cyhalothrin, which is effective against pests that live above as well as below the ground.
Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray
The Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray (on Amazon) is another highly effective product, which offers protection against annoying pests from 4 to 8 weeks. It’s made from lambda-cyhalothrin, which is a synthetic chemical insecticide capable of eliminating many pests.
It comes in a 32-ounce bottle, which allows you to treat an area of 5,000 square feet comfortably. Another good thing about this insecticide is that it doesn’t lose its effectiveness even if it rains.
EcoSMART Mosquito Spray
The non-toxic formula of the EcoSmart mosquito yard spray (on Amazon) makes it suitable for use around young kids and pets. Its active ingredients include wintergreen oil, water, peppermint oil, polyglyceryl oleate, nitrogen, water, and lecithins.
It comes in a small 14-ounce aerosol can, which isn’t enough to treat mosquito infestations, although the spray kills effectively on contact. This unit is best for killing and repelling flies and mosquitoes for a short time while you enjoy the outdoors. You’ll need to reapply the spray after 8 hours to maintain its effectiveness.
Cutter Fogger Spray
The Cutter fogger spray (on Amazon) is an excellent option for treating picnic areas, patios, decks, and backyard spaces with an area of 1,200 square feet. This 16-ounce fogger spray protects against mosquitoes, wasps, flies, and other flying insects for up to 10 hours, making it ideal for an outdoor party or a backyard barbecue.
Its two active ingredients, phenothrin and tetramethrin, work by damaging the nervous system of adults and larval insects to ensure complete eradication of the infestation. However, it’s best to avoid spraying this Cutter product more than once daily.
What Are the Active Ingredients in Most Sprays?
There’s a wide range of active ingredients used in mosquito sprays, which vary in effectiveness and their impact on the environment. These include:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
A common ingredient in detergents and shampoos, sodium lauryl sulfate is usually considered non-toxic. It works as a powerful insecticide for not just mosquitoes, but also other pests like ants, spiders, bed bugs, gnats, and yellow jackets.
This pyrethroid insecticide is mildly toxic to birds and mammals and is highly toxic to aquatic organisms.
An effective and all-natural insecticide, peppermint oil has a pleasant and refreshing aroma. It’s an environmentally-friendly option that protects from mosquitoes and other biting pests like ants. This ingredient is non-staining and quite safe to use.
This common ingredient used in mosquito sprays is a synthetic pyrethroid. It’s a long-lasting insecticide that can be effective against mosquitoes for almost 5 weeks after initial application. The lambda-cyhalothrin is mildly toxic to birds, moderately toxic to mammals, and highly toxic to fish.
Another insecticide belonging to the pyrethroid class, gamma-cyhalothrin is a synthetic ingredient. It’s considered moderately toxic to birds and highly toxic to aquatic organisms and mammals.
Other Plant-Based Oils
Plant-based insecticides like lemon eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, cedar oil, and citronella oil are also found in mosquito sprays. These eco-friendly and all-natural ingredients work as highly effective repellents and insecticides.
Before spraying your yard with a mosquito spray, it’s best to get rid of excess vegetation and standing water, as they provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Mosquito yard sprays are easy to apply and can be quite effective.
They don’t leave behind any unwelcome chemical odor or greasy residue. You can also easily find products that are made with natural ingredients that are low in toxicity.
Are Natural Mosquito Sprays Effective?
Even though a number of mosquito sprays available have been declared safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, many people don’t want to expose their children and pets to the chemicals found in these sprays. That’s why they turn to natural mosquito sprays.
Soy-based repellents and repellents made from the oil of lemon eucalyptus are considered effective natural alternatives to DEET. Soy-based products offer protection against mosquitoes for up to 90 minutes, which is better than what is offered by some low-concentration DEET sprays.
Other natural repellents like white catnip, peppermint oil, and citronella haven’t been found very effective and were able to keep mosquitoes away for only half an hour or even less. If you’re dealing with a normal mosquito problem, then you can use natural sprays. But for a mosquito infestation, it’s best to choose a much stronger product, preferably one that contains DEET.
How to Make Your Own Yard Spray
You can also use the ingredients in your home to make mosquito yard sprays. For instance, add 1 cup of vinegar and 3 cups of water to a spray bottle. Shake it and apply it liberally around your backyard to get rid of mosquitoes.
However, it’s best to avoid using homemade mixes to effectively protect against mosquitoes. Use products that are reliable, laboratory-tested, and conform to quality control standards.
How to Use Mosquito Sprays Effectively
It’s best to take mosquito control measures early in the season when the pests start to breed. You want to take action as soon as the eggs start to hatch, which typically begins in the spring and peaks in summer.
You should also take care to spray for mosquitoes when they are most active during the day. Since the chemicals in mosquito sprays work when they come into contact with the mosquitoes, you need as many of them around as possible. This makes early in the morning or late at night to be the best time to spray.
Are Mosquito Yard Sprays Safe for Dogs?
There are some mosquito sprays that are safe to use around dogs. You’ll have to read the information provided on the product and research online to make sure that the product you’re buying is safe for them.
If your dog likes to roll around in the backyard, or you have pets that are likely to lick the repellent residue, then it’s best to stay away from sprays that contain DEET, Malathion, Parathion, Fenoxycarb, and Methomyl.
It’s also important to note that some chemicals are more harmful to dogs in comparison to other pets. For instance, pyrethrin is less harmful to dogs compared to cats. Also, there’re some chemicals that do not harm older dogs but shouldn’t be used around young pups. These include permethrin and pyrethrin.
If you’re looking for a mosquito repellent that’s safe for use around dogs, then you should look for a spray that contains catnip, lemongrass, basil, and lemon balm.