Dr Nicky Gallagher from Syngenta advises on the best ways to perform a barrier application to treat mosquitoes.
As part of an integrated mosquito management plan, barrier applications can provide a significant reduction in mosquito numbers and bites. This involves treating vegetation like trees, bushes and shrubbery from ground level up to a height of about 10 feet.
Whether you currently offer barrier treatments or are considering entering the mosquito market, here are some important tips to prepare you for success.
Get the right equipment
Mist-blowers are ideal for barrier applications, as they force insecticide droplets into dense vegetation and the undersides of leaves. Circular arm motions can help force leaves up to expose their undersides, where mosquitoes often rest.
Water-Sensitive Paper (WSP) is yellow but stains blue when exposed to aqueous spray droplets, and is excellent for evaluating spray distributions, swath widths, droplet densities and spray penetrations. Place WSP at various heights and depths within vegetation to determine which equipment setting provides adequate coverage. After the target area has been sprayed, allow WSP to dry and check the droplet pattern.
The main image above shows water droplet dispersion on WSP using a STIHL SR 200 mist-blower at two different settings and full throttle (top row was discharge setting 1, and bottom row was discharge setting 3). Vegetation was treated to the point of runoff. In this example, knob setting 3 provided thorough coverage.
To ensure a well-mixed, uniform solution, consider mixing insecticide in a labelled service container, rather than mixing directly in the mist-blower tank.
Reduce mosquito breeding sites
Natural areas or man-made objects that collect standing water are ideal mosquito breeding sites. Examples include bromeliad plants, ditches, plant pots, gutters, bird baths and neglected pools or fishponds. If the water source cannot be removed, determine if the area can be treated with a larvicide or insect growth regulator (IGR). Containers should also be dumped and scrubbed weekly, as eggs of container-breeding mosquitoes can stick to their sides.
Once you’re ready to conduct a barrier application, choose a product that has proven efficacy and that is registered for use on plants. Demand Insecticide, which contains Syngenta-patented iCAP technology, releases thousands of microcaps of different sizes for both immediate and residual control. Demand is also one of the few products on the Australian market which is registered for direct application to shrubs and ornamental plants, controlling mosquitoes for up to ten weeks.
Residential mosquito treatments are all about managing populations and reducing the chances of being bitten. To avoid any claims of complete mosquito elimination or disease prevention, ensure your customer agreement clearly states the treatment objectives, and what responsibilities the homeowner has if signing a contract.
With the proper knowledge and tools in place, you can make mosquito barrier treatments effective for your business and your customers.
Dr Nicky Gallagher, Technical Services Manager, Syngenta Professional Pest Management