Mosquito Misting Systems

What is an outdoor residential mosquito misting system?
Outdoor residential misting systems, commonly known as “mosquito misters”, are made up of spray nozzles, tubing, and a common insecticide reservoir, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or the EPA. These are set up on and around the perimeter of a house, aimed at possible breeding grounds of insects. The nozzles release a fine mist of insecticide. The system can be programmed to spray at certain time intervals or activated using a remote control.

Why do you need mosquito misters?
Mosquitoes breed in freshwater bodies, which can be as small as jars, cans, or flower pot saucers, all of which can be common in a homeowner’s outdoor yard. Draining the water before the larvae hatch may reduce the need to spray insecticide to kill adult mosquitoes. But a mosquito has a lifetime of 3 weeks. Most species travel 1-3 miles during that period. Hence, this approach has limited efficiency.
Health agency experts believe misting systems to be the best way of controlling pest related problems. Pest control professionals and customers both agree that these systems provide excellent protection against mosquitoes and other insects. Limiting the population of mosquitoes relates directly to decreasing the likelihood of transmitting mosquito-borne diseases, such as the Zika and West Nile viruses.

What are the health risks associated with pesticide use?
Direct contact with pesticide spray poses a risk of exposure to pets and humans. Touching the plants in the treated area or inhaling the mist can be dangerous. However, the EPA has conducted significant research on the environmental effects of pesticides used in mosquito misters. Pesticides only last for short periods in the environment; therefore, long-term exposure to humans is ruled out. After studying toxicity data and exposure estimates of a mosquito mister, the EPA has concluded that when such chemicals are used in outdoor residential systems, according to the recommended labeling, they do not pose a large risk to human health. However, accidents and excessive use of pesticides may pose risks.

Regulations by EPA or the States
What are mosquito mister regulations by the states?
Regulations for mosquito misters may vary from state to state. Some states may not allow the use of specific pesticides or any at all in residential areas. In contrast, others may require signs or boards indicating the use of pesticide treatment. Some states do not regulate their use at all. It is suggested to consult the state pesticide regulating agency for the updated and accurate regulations in your state before making a purchase.
What are mosquito mister regulations by the EPA?
The EPA does not regulate residential outdoor misting system equipment. Misting System components are considered “application equipment” rather than “pesticide devices” and thus are not regulated by EPA.
The EPA inspects ingredients of the pesticide, the location, amount, frequency, and the timing of its use. The EPA is concerned with the effects of pesticide usage on humans, the environment, and non-targeted species when used according to label directions.

What are some commonly used, EPA-tested pesticides in misting systems?
1. Permethrin:
The EPA registered permethrin in 1979. It is sold in a wide range of indoor and outdoor insect foggers, sprays, treated clothing, flea products for dogs, termite treatments, livestock products, and mosquito abatement products. The Food and Drug Administration also approves it as a treatment for head lice and scabies. It is the most commonly used mosquito adulticide in the U.S. It is used to treat 9 to 10 million acres annually as a mosquito adulticide. It is extensively used because it is cost-efficient and incorporates a lower chance of developing pest resistance.
2. Resmethrin:
EPA registered Resmethrin in 1967. It is currently being used in public health and vector control programs as a mosquito adulticide. It is toxic to fish; thus, it is listed under “Restricted Use Pesticide,” which is available for use only to certified pesticide applicators or people under their supervision.
3. D-phenothrin:
The EPA has registered D-phenothrin since 1976 for use in residential and public recreational areas such as industrial buildings, animal quarters, direct animal treatment, and vehicles. D-phenothrin labels allow use in agricultural and non-agricultural areas for mosquito control. Still, there are no direct applications to food crops.
The EPA systematically re-evaluates all registered pesticides every 15 years to make sure if each pesticide is still suitable for performing its expected functions. The EPA is bound to consider the cumulative risks of pesticides that share a mechanism of toxicity as a result of the Food Quality Protection Act. The research on these pesticides identified no cumulative risks to human health or environmental effects.

What types of Mosquito Misting Systems are there?
1. Drum-based Mosquito Misting System:
This type of misting system consists of a large drum containing a mixture of insecticide and water. The large storing capacity results in bulkier models. They do not need to be refilled frequently, attributed to their large capacity. They are the cheapest option, costing between $900-$1800.
2. Tankless Mosquito Misting System:
These include a smaller container holding insecticide concentrate, which is later mixed with water. Thus, they are lighter than drum-based misting systems but have to be refilled frequently. They are compact and can be placed anywhere. Their cost lies between $1200 to $3000.
3. Remote Mosquito Misting System
They have two operation modes: manual or automatic. A remote control is used to operate and manipulate the automatic system as desired. They can spray automatically according to the settings applied by the owner. These systems are cheaper than the automated versions, costing between $900 and $2500 on average.

How much does a misting system cost?
Initial Costs:
The initial cost depends on the power and size of the misting equipment.
The pump is the most expensive feature of any misting system. The cost relates directly to the water pressure and quality of equipment. Generally, a commercial pump varies at $1-$2 per every psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure produced. Industrial pumps may cost up to $3 per psi.
The cost of tubing depends on the length and material used. Flexible nylon tubes cost under $1 per foot. Stainless steel tubes may cost $3.50 per foot. Ideally, the tubing is fixed on the fencing or trees around the perimeter of the house.
A standard system includes roughly 30 nozzles for a ¼-acre system. Materials and construction of the nozzles decide the cost. They may cost under $2 to over $4 each.
One way to deal with the varying cost is to purchase a full kit. The components are already assembled and ready to use. These kits are customizable, and they list their costs upfront. Hence with these misting systems kits, there is little room for confusion. Fasteners are used for holding nozzles and tubing incorrect positions. The process is non-invasive and only takes a few hours to complete.
In addition to the price of equipment, homeowners should also consider installation costs.
A portable misting system does not require installation. It only needs to be filled with water and plugged in.
Usually, installing a mosquito misting system is simple; many homeowners opt to install it themselves. Professional installations depend on the labor costs in the area, typically from $1000 to $3000, with most homeowners paying $1250 to $1500 for a ¼-acre system. A certified electrician or plumber will give better advice but will be more expensive.

What are some precautions to note?
When installing the misting system:
1. Have technicians comply with the state’s license, certification, and registration requirements.
2. The system must be calibrated according to the details on the pesticide/insecticide label.
3. The nozzles must not be directed towards eating/cooking areas.
4. The nozzles must be placed at most 10ft above the ground to reduce chemical drift, as it may affect animals, the surrounding environment, and other people in your area.
5. Nozzles must be placed away from the air conditioner or other home intakes.
6. The reservoir and the operating system must be kept secure and out of reach of children at all times.
When using a misting system:
1. The pesticide must not be applied when people, pets, or foods are present.
2. Timers should be set for times when people are less likely to be sprayed.
3. Certain varieties of mosquitoes are active in the early morning and evening hours. So the pesticide should be used in those time frames for maximum effect.
4. Systems must not be used during high wind (>10mph), rainfall, fog, or when the temperature falls below 50 Fahrenheit.
5. Read the pesticide label to know the appropriate use and precautions necessary.
6. Study the maximum daily rate specified on the product label, and how your system operates
7. Maintain the system regularly to avoid damage or misuse from a leak or malfunction in the system
8. Do not keep the system on for extended periods of time.

What safety measures can I take?
If the equipment is leaking, turn off the system and contact the installation company. Take necessary precautions as directed by the company. Keep children and pets away from pesticide and pesticide equipment.
In case of emergencies:
1. Keep the registration number of the pesticide used in the equipment.
2. Keep the phone numbers for:
• National Poisoning Hotline at (800-222-1222).
• Your local fire department or emergency responder.
• National Pesticide Information Centre at 800-858-7378.
• Your service technician.

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