The AMCA (American Mosquito Control Association) has weighed in on mosquito misting systems. These systems are installed near (or on) a home, and dispense clouds of pesticides (or ‘natural’ oils like garlic and eucalyptus). The AMCA statement, edited for brevity:
“The position of the AMCA is that the practice of dispensing pesticides at predetermined intervals without surveillance data guiding the treatment is not consistent with the sound Integrated Mosquito Management practices that underlie our valued partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency ….
1. Unnecessary insecticide use. …timed space sprays may result in needless insecticide applications, leading to increased costs to the consumer and potentially adverse environmental impacts.
2. Lack of efficacy data. Other than testimonials, an historically unreliable source, there is little to demonstrate that these systems actually serve to control mosquito populations even when using demonstrably toxic insecticides. Furthermore, other materials marketed for use in these systems such as cedarwood oil, garlic and other “natural” products by law do not have to prove their efficacy to any regulatory agency.
3. Non-target impacts. Timed-release sprays will negatively impact beneficial insect populations and other non-target organisms on site and through uncontrolled off-site drift.
4. Promotion of insecticide resistance. The indiscriminate application of pyrethrins will continually select for resistance to the whole pyrethroid class of mosquitocides, all of which utilize the same fundamental mode of action….
5. Risk of pesticide exposure. It appears that safeguards to minimize the risk of direct contact with pesticide sprays by residents are lacking from many of these systems. …
6. Incompatible with integrated pest management practices. The level of hands-off, automated control these systems promise may result in homeowners neglecting to use other methods to reduce local mosquito populations – even if encouraged by the installation technician. Practices such as removing mosquito larval habitats from the property or using personal repellents are essential to reducing human/mosquito contact. Neglecting these practices would, in turn, increase reliance upon the use of broadcast adulticides and propagate the unsound, one-dimensional approach to mosquito control these systems provide.
[passages in bold are my emphasis]
As I have mentioned before, mosquito resistance to insecticides is a major issue–so applying insecticides (whether or not there actually are pest species present) is a very bad idea.
In a quick Google search, the cheapest of these systems I saw was $300–most were around $4000. Those prices don’t include the longer term costs of running the systems.
Big props to AMCA for promoting an integrated approach to mosquito control, and pointing out that most herbal preparations for mosquitoes don’t work.