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Press Releases

August 24, 2016
Follow Pesticide Label Instructions to Effectively Protect Against Mosquitoes
Contact: Dawn Eischen, 804.786.1904


Virginia is in the midst of mosquito season. Increased concerns about mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika virus and West Nile virus have prompted some consumers to purchase pesticides to reduce mosquitoes in and around their home. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), the state lead agency for regulating pesticides, encourages consumers to manage their mosquito risk through habitat modification, personal protection practices and careful use of pesticides.

“The best way to reduce mosquitoes in and around your home is to eliminate areas with standing water by tipping or tossing water from containers such as old tires, buckets, flower pots, bird baths and drain pipes,” said Liza Fleeson Trossbach, manager of VDACS’ Office of Pesticide Services. “If there are areas in the landscape where water accumulates, drain or fill the area with dirt. If that’s not possible, apply a larvicide according to label instructions to kill mosquito larvae.” Larvicides can also be used in ornamental ponds, non-chlorinated swimming pools, rainwater cisterns and ditches where water may remain for several days. 

Surface pesticide spraying aids in the reduction of adult mosquitoes, but consumers are limited in their pesticide choices and application methods. As with any pesticide, the label is the law and users should follow its instructions carefully when choosing and using a pesticide. For mosquito control, choose an insecticide labeled for mosquitoes and flying insects. Pesticide labels provide instructions for use, precautionary statements, hazard information and information about disposing of the empty containers.

In many cases, pest management professionals (PMP) are trained and better equipped to manage mosquito populations in the landscape. PMPs have the ability to apply mosquito adulticides as ultra-low volume sprays, which targets flying mosquitoes.

“Before you hire a company to manage mosquitoes or other pests on your property, make sure they have a current Virginia pesticide business license,” said Trossbach. “It’s also a good idea to ask how their employees are trained.” Businesses managing mosquitoes must have certified applicators trained in Virginia’s Public Health Pest Control category.

When applying pesticides, VDACS reminds you of the following:

  • Read and follow all instructions on the label. It’s the law. Don’t underdose or overdose the treatment. Both may result in the development of a resistance to the pesticide with repeated treatments.
  • To reduce the chance of endangering pollinators, do not treat flowering plants, including those that have small, indistinct flowers.  
  • If applying barrier spray, trim foliage before treatment.
  • Do not apply treatment when it’s windy or before it rains.
  • If possible, apply treatment in the evening when pollinators are less active.
  • Wear protective equipment during treatment, if the label instructs you to do so.

When outside, protect yourself from mosquito bites by applying an Environmental Protection Agency registered mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol to exposed areas according to label instructions. Reapply as directed.

For more information about Zika virus and steps you can take to protect you and your family, visit the Virginia Department of Health at www.ZikaVA.org.

For information about pesticide applicator certification, pesticide product registration or Virginia’s pesticide laws and regulations, visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov/pesticides.shtml.


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