Mosquito Control - General Information
The DEQ supports Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as the most appropriate approach for controlling mosquito populations and reducing the risk of infectious diseases like West Nile Virus (WNV). An IPM approach involves a variety of techniques including the following: education and outreach, surveillance of the insects, source reduction to reduce the opportunity for mosquito breeding, larviciding (when necessary) to kill the preadult stages of mosquitoes, and adulticiding (when necessary) to kill any remaining adults that were not killed by the larvacide in order to further reduce the breeding population.
Culex pipiens is the freshwater mosquito species most likely to carry the WNV. This species is often associated with urban environments. Its natural habitat is tree holes that are often filled with water and organic matter. Any feature that replicates this natural habitat will likely provide habitat for this mosquito species.
The most effective way to reduce mosquito breeding opportunities is to reduce and eliminate the source of breeding conditions. This can be accomplished by eliminating water in containers, empty flower pots, unused children's swimming pools, water-filled abandoned tires; changing the water in bird baths around the home once a week; and cleaning clogged eaves troughs to allow free flow of runoff. For individuals electing to deploy pesticides around their home and property, the DEQ encourages adherence to all label instructions for both use and disposal to protect Michigan's environment.
Urban areas and "container" habitats should be targeted for source reduction of mosquitoes rather than wetland areas and other surface waters of the state. The filling or draining of surface waters of the state are neither effective nor lawful means for reducing mosquito breeding habitat. These activities are ineffective for control of the WNV because the most common mosquito carrier of the virus is associated with urban, rather than natural environments. The draining or filling of certain wetlands and other surface waters is unlawful absent state and federal permits. Even after draining, a wetland may hold water from flooding, rainfall, or snowmelt in low spots and subsequently produce more mosquitoes than the original, natural wetland. The filling of wetlands often forces water to flow elsewhere, potentially creating flooding or additional mosquito breeding opportunities.
The Water Resources Division of the DEQ has the responsibility for oversight of projects where pesticides are applied to surface waters of the state. Surface waters of the state are defined as the Great Lakes and their connecting waters, inland lakes, rivers, streams, impoundments and open drains, and other surface bodies of water within the confines of the state. Vernal woodland pools, roadside ditches, and wetlands are also surface waters of the state.
Specific regulatory jurisdiction over mosquito control strategies involving the application of pesticides to surface waters of the state is found within Part 31, Water Resources Protection, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program administered by the Water Resources Division. For information regarding who may need coverage under an NPDES permit and how to apply for permit coverage please visit the Pesticide Control website . The DEQ is also responsible for enforcing the requirements that limit the potential for mosquito breeding habitat in stockpiles of scrap tires throughout the state. Part 169, Scrap Tires, of the NREPA, provides for mosquito control at scrap tire collection sites.
Many communities relying upon IPM for mosquito control do not require an NPDES permit from the DEQ, so citizens are encouraged to contact their local county health department for information specific to their own community. A list of additional resources is provided below for those seeking additional information on mosquitoes, WNV, and pesticide use and regulation in Michigan.
West Nile Virus Info/Emerging Disease Issues
MDARD - pesticide program
Michigan Department of Community Health
County Health Departments
Michigan Mosquito Association