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MDARD Offers Mosquito Control Advice During National Mosquito Awareness Week
June 21, 2023
LANSING – In recognition of National Mosquito Awareness Week, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) encourages Michiganders to take precautions to protect themselves and their animals from mosquitoes and follow guidance for safe insect repellent and insecticide use.
“Mosquitoes may seem like a small nuisance, but they can spread deadly diseases, like West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis, to both people and animals through their bites,” said Mike Philip, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division Director. “Michiganders can help limit the risk of disease outbreaks by developing a mosquito prevention strategy to reduce pest populations.”
One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent mosquitoes is removing any standing water on your property. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water, so eliminating standing water removes mosquitoes’ ability to breed. Mosquito larvae live in water until they grow into flying adults, making preventative and early action essential.
To remove standing water:
- Clear clogged gutters.
- Dump water from potted plant saucers.
- Change water in animals’ bowls, buckets, or troughs at least once a day.
- Drill holes in containers to eliminate standing water.
- Clean and scrub bird baths weekly.
- Empty standing water from wheelbarrows, buckets, children’s toys, or anywhere else water can accumulate.
Once mosquitoes arrive, insect repellents applied to the skin or clothing are one of the most popular and effective products used to avoid insect bites. Other commonly used repellents include torches, table-top diffusers, candles, and coils. When used as directed, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women:
- Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the U.S.)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
- Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
Insect repellants are also available for animals. Read labels closely to determine which species the repellant has been approved for. Animals can also be protected against mosquito-borne diseases by:
- Placing livestock in a barn under fans (as mosquitoes are not strong flyers) and keeping pets inside the home during peak mosquito activity from dusk to dawn.
- Vaccinating horses against mosquito-borne diseases. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the vaccine is right for your horse.
- Contacting a veterinarian to learn more about mosquito-borne diseases and the best methods for protecting your animals.
Larvicides and adulticides can also provide temporary control of mosquitoes. Larvicides are products designed to be applied directly to water to control mosquito larvae. Adulticides are used in fogging and spraying to control adult mosquitoes. Both options can temporarily reduce the mosquito population in your area, but do not provide long-term solutions against mosquitoes.
“Whether you use an insect repellent or insecticide, always remember to read and follow all label directions,” added Philip. “The label is the law.”
A safe alternative to applying insecticides yourself is hiring a mosquito control business. Mosquito control businesses are required to be licensed to apply pesticides in Michigan and must meet certain experience requirements, employ certified pesticide applicators who have passed MDARD proficiency examinations, and meet financial requirements including proof of insurance. Use MDARD’s list of licensed pesticide applicator businesses in Michigan to find qualified mosquito abatement applicators.
For more information on mosquito-borne diseases, please visit Michigan.gov/EmergingDiseases.