How to Spray for Mosquitoes

by Team eLocal
A swarm of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a common pest that can be hard to eliminate completely. When you’re just trying to enjoy a good time outside, the last thing you want to deal with is mosquitoes. Their bites, which can cause endless itching, can quickly turn a fun time outside unpleasant. There are many ways to get rid of them, but some methods are only effective for a brief time.

There are also preventive measures you can take to keep these pests from showing in the first place. Here’s a complete guide on everything you need to know about getting rid of mosquitoes, including the top products to use, how often you should apply them and easy methods of prevention.

How to Spray Mosquitoes in the Backyard

Spraying mosquitoes in a backyard is not as easy and straightforward as it seems. If you plan on doing it yourself, you need to identify any potential breeding and active resting sites in the backyard. ​​Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water, so any stagnant water in the backyard that cannot be eliminated or modified needs to be treated with larvicides.

Alice Sinia, Ph.D., quality assurance manager for Orkin Canada, says that larvicides are placed in the water to control mosquito larvae before they hatch. Homeowners can buy over-the-counter larvicides and apply them themselves based on the label instructions. Or, you can hire a professional pest management company to control the mosquito population.

Adult mosquitoes rest in dark and quiet habitats during the daytime. In a backyard, these can be dense vegetation, overgrown weeds, shrubs, vines, the undersides of the leaves or tree trunks — anywhere they’re concealed from sunlight. They can also be found in between clutter in the yard, like in piled wood, sheds, dog houses or other structures in the yard. If the window screens are damaged or not the right size, this also includes inside your home.

Once mosquitoes have grown, you’ll need a different product to deal with them. Homeowners who want a home solution can use an over-the-counter mosquito spray. The specifics on how to use a residential mosquito spray are indicated on the product label. However, most of the time, it involves attaching the mosquito spray to your garden hose and spraying it around the area.

The canister will give you an estimate of the estimated total area it can cover. It’s always essential to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use.

For adult mosquitoes, it’s sometimes best to perform fogging treatments. Sinia said these treatments penetrate the hiding spaces and kill adult mosquitoes. Depending on where you live, only professional pest control companies might be able to perform this treatment since it requires the use of commercial-grade products and specialized equipment. In some cases, if the backyard is adjacent to a ravine or large body of water, you might need a special permit from your provincial or municipal government to be able to treat the area.

How Often Do You Need to Treat Your Yard?

Treatments can be done as needed depending on the amount of mosquito activity in the area. Sinia says fogging treatments kill adult mosquitoes on contact, but they don’t provide a long-lasting residual effect. In contrast, sprays can provide protection for up to four weeks or so, depending on the product.

If you eliminate all potential breeding and resting sites for mosquitoes in the backyard, further treatments might not be needed. For larvicide treatments, the frequency is indicated on the product label. The frequency of treatment for adult mosquitoes is three weeks because it takes between one and three weeks for mosquitoes to complete their life cycle from egg to adult. So, going by the time it takes for them to emerge as adults, three weeks is an appropriate interval for treatment. However, treatment frequency will largely depend on the specific product you use.

Should You Pretreat Mosquitoes?

While it can be tempting to pretreat an area for mosquitoes, so you don’t have to worry about it once they’re out and active, it’s not recommended. You should only treat areas if there is evidence of mosquito activity.

There are some factors like climate that can predict and determine mosquito activity for the coming season. Some dryer or warmer seasons can have almost no mosquito activity, while other seasons where the weather is more humid and wet result in optimal conditions for mosquito populations to thrive. The use of pesticides to treat mosquitoes needs to be done responsibly. This means only treating areas where there are confirmed signs of mosquito activity.

Other Ways to Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard

Mosquito spray is often the most effective way to keep mosquitoes out of the yard, but there are other helpful methods you can add on top of it to ensure the area remains mosquito-free. Similarly, preventive measures should often be the first line of defense. You won’t have to waste time combating them if you don’t run into them.

Sinia says it’s vital to eliminate breeding spots such as stagnant water or puddles in your yard. Remove or drain any rain barrels and outdoor pet bowls.

Any containers that can hold a drop of water for a week can also be a potential breeding ground, so turn over buckets and empty plant pots that could fill with water when it rains. You should also fill up or level ditches that can flood and offer mosquitoes a breeding site. Eliminate clutter from the yard to prevent breeding and resting spots.

Routinely eliminate or trim dense vegetation around your yard to allow enough light and air to pass through. This can help eliminate any potential resting spots. You should also maintain and trim your lawn for the same reason.

Some scented plants, such as lemongrass, lavender or peppermint, are known to repel mosquitoes. It’s worth planting these if you deal with severe mosquito infestations in your backyard every year. Mosquito traps and zappers can also help reduce mosquito populations but might not provide 100% elimination. These methods are best used in conjunction with habitat modification or elimination strategies.

If you have a large pond in your backyard, stock it with fish, which will feed on any mosquito larvae in the pond.