Home Mosquito control Systems
An increasing number of households have purchased timed-release outdoor residential misting systems to control mosquitoes and other insects around the home. However, advertisers, the media, and other sources sometimes provide information about misting systems that is difficult to understand or might conflict with other information. This fact sheet page will help consumers:
- decide if residential pesticide misting systems are appropriate for their home
- understand safety precautions about using outdoor misting systems
- find related information on Integrated Pest Management - using a variety of methods for mosquito control
- understand the role of the EPA and state agencies in regulating misters.
Check your instruction manual or contact the manufacturer if you have questions about how to operate or maintain your home misting system.
Please note, this page does not address use of misting systems in livestock barns, boat docks, or in or around restaurants, factories, or other public spaces. More information about regulating and use of pesticides.
On this page:
What are outdoor residential misting systems?
Outdoor residential misting systems (sometimes called "mosquito misters") are application systems designed to spray pesticides in a fine mist to kill mosquitoes and other insects outdoors. Misting systems include spray nozzles that are mounted around the perimeter of a home in the lawn or landscaping, or on parts of the house or fence. The spray nozzles are connected by tubing to a supply of insecticide. Some misting systems may be turned on at preset intervals using a timer. Others may be turned on using a remote controller, while others may be activated using a switch.
What pesticides are used in the misting systems?
The insecticide products most often used in outdoor residential misting systems contain pyrethrins and permethrin. These products may also contain piperonyl butoxide. To be sure what type of insecticide you are using, check the list of active ingredients on the container label.
Certain minimal risk pesticides may also be used in some misting systems. Although not regulated by EPA, many states do regulate these pesticides. Check with your state agency Exit about any requirements or warnings you need to be aware of before you use the pesticide. EPA has not evaluated the potential risk or effectiveness of these minimal risk chemicals in misting systems.
It is illegal to use a pesticide in a misting system if the pesticide label contains a prohibition against use in these systems.
The Label Is The Law
- Pesticide labels provide instructions about proper handling, use, and application rates of the product, and precautions to protect people and the environment.
- Label directions are derived from scientific testing by manufacturers and evaluation by EPA scientists to ensure that products can be used with minimal risk to people and the environment.
Are residential misting systems effective in controlling insect pests?
EPA, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many mosquito control professionals, believe that a combination of approaches generally known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is most effective at combating mosquito populations. For example, mosquitoes breed in water, so the elimination of standing water around your home is an essential part of any approach to controlling mosquitoes. Almost any size container such as empty jars or cans, flower pot saucers, cinderblocks or old tires can provide a habitat for mosquitoes to hatch if they remain filled with water for more than a few days. Killing mosquito larvae by draining water before they emerge as adults can reduce or eliminate the need to spray pesticides to kill adult mosquitoes. Because mosquitoes may travel several miles as adults, any management efforts may provide only temporary control.
Outdoor residential misting systems have not yet been studied sufficiently to document their effectiveness in controlling mosquitoes or other yard and garden pests, nor have they been scientifically proven to control or prevent the spread of West Nile Virus or other diseases.
While pest management begins with you, effective mosquito control is often community-based. Contact your local health department or mosquito abatement district to report severe annoyance or potential mosquito sources.
For pests other than mosquitoes, a combination of pest management practices tailored for the specific pest may offer the best results.