What’s the Difference Between Mosquito Service and County Spraying?

We often get customers calling us to let us know that we don’t need to treat their yard because the county sprayed. We also have people ask us why they would need our barrier service if the county sprays the streets. We thought clearing up the differences would be helpful.

County Spraying:

Typically, you will see counties getting out and spraying the streets when West Nile or another disease has been found at mosquito testing sites. Understanding the purpose of street spraying and appreciating mosquito behavior will help explain the differences between what the county does and what we do.

Mosquitoes spend a good majority of their time feeding on plant nectar, typically on the underside of leaves so they can shelter from the sun. They don’t fly well and typically “shrub hop” as they move about. They are very sun phobic, and you will see them out typically at dawn and dusk. They require water to hatch their eggs, so will lay them in stagnant bodies or on damp soil.

The intent in street spraying is to reduce the population’s numbers which is why they typically spray in the early morning or later in the evening. Mosquitoes don’t tend to fly around over asphalt, but the females do take advantage of standing water in ditches to lay eggs. While no one yet knows how to kill the eggs, the best way to reduce the population as a street truck is to treat the streets with a focus on those ditches.

Aerial Spraying:

Aerial spraying is less common in our area, but several years ago it was done when West Nile levels rose beyond what we typically see. Since a plane can cover large areas and is not limited to the streets, it allows the county to make more of an impact on the population. As the mist falls it settles on the leaves and grass, killing mosquitoes it touches along the way. Again, the purpose is to reduce the overall population. Since mosquitoes are typically on the underside of leaves a substantial portion of the population will be unaffected, but the overall population will be reduced.

Mosquito Joe Barrier Service:

The intention of our service is not to reduce the population, but to get our customers to a 95% reduction. We do this in several ways: We remove all the standing water in your yard that we can, and we treat any that we can’t prevent mosquito larvae from hatching into adult mosquitoes. This includes saucers under plant pots, checking your gutters, treating French drains, and more. We use garlic around flowering plants, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens. The garlic pushes mosquitoes elsewhere in the yard, so we can kill them while avoiding the beneficial insects in your yard, such as bees and butterflies. Finally, we treat all the green leaf in your yard by coating both the top and the underside of the leaves. The products we use adhere to the leaf and once dry will not wash off or rub away. As a mosquito hops into your yard and onto a leaf, it will die. Our products continue working for 3 weeks, at which point they will have completely broken down. The majority of our customers are on a three-week cycle to maintain their 95% reduction.

As you can see, Mosquito Joe tailors a mosquito service to your yard and hits all the potential areas where they live, breed, and multiply. Our focus is on making your outside fun again rather than reducing an overall population.


What is Mosquito Spraying?

There can be a lot of confusion about the differences between mosquito spraying versus fogging, even misting systems versus spraying. We thought it might be a good idea to run through the process of our barrier service and all it entails.

A mosquito spraying service is essentially composed of three different steps:

Step #1 – Standing Water

The first of these is dealing with your water. Water is your number one source for mosquitoes. They lay their eggs in it, or on moist areas that have a tendency to hold water after rain. This can include ground areas heavy in pine needles and leaves, where the ground never sees daylight and thus the soil is moist and dark. Mosquito eggs can actually survive for ten years dry, and hatch when a water hits them. The more water we remove or treat on your property the better off you will be. So the first thing our technicians do when they arrive at a property is to walk around and locate all those water sources. It only takes one teaspoon or so to make a home for a new batch of mosquitoes, so we treat any water – from French drains to gutters, that we can’t remove, and dump any water we can – such as plant pot saucers or patio cushions (and yes, we have found mosquito larvae in patio cushions before!).

Step #2 – Protecting Pollinators

Once the water is dealt with our technicians turn their attention to your flowering plants, fruit trees and vegetable gardens. We are very conscious of the pollinators in a yard and want to minimize any impact to them. In order to do this, we treat the base of these areas with a natural garlic. This garlic is unpleasant to mosquitoes and will push them to other spots where we can kill them while minimizing the impact to the pollinators.

Step #3 – Eliminating Mosquitoes

The last step of a service is to treat all the foliage in your yard, as well as any fencing you may have. When we do this, we coat both the top and the underside of the leaves. Mosquitoes hate the sun and actually feed off plant nectar. It’s just the girls that bite when they have bred (they need the blood meal to provide them the needed protein to lay eggs) so typically mosquitoes are found under these leaves feeding.

The barrier service works because mosquitoes are bad fliers. So bad, in fact, that they shrub hop for the most part. When the mosquitoes hop into your yard and onto your shrubs (or fence), they will land on our product and die. Of course, we occasionally get a call from someone who has acres of prairie land and we have to recommend a misting system for them. A barrier service relies on foliage to create a barrier, and when a yard has no barrier foliage a misting system might be the better option.

Mosquitoes are fascinating creatures. The first mosquito fossil dates back to 46 million years ago. They are also the most dangerous animal in the world, transmitting a number of deadly diseases such as Malaria, Zika, Chikungunia and West Nile. The breeding cycle of a mosquito is jaw-dropping. In one bottle cap, a female mosquito will lay about 300 eggs every 3-5 days. Of these, 150 or so will be female. The math can get pretty complicated as the numbers get so high, but within 15 days or so that one mosquito can produce over 500 million female offspring under the right conditions. When you look at the numbers this way it’s perhaps a little easier to understand why they are so deadly.

Want to continue this conversation? Give us a call at 281-815-0228 or email nwhoustonbrazos@mosquitojoe.com.