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PEST PULSE: MOSQUITO SURVEY

How much mosquito work do you do in your part of the country? In our Pest Pulse survey, we asked readers to tell us. 

Not surprisingly for most of the country, the mosquito season covers the warmer months, picking up in September and running through until at least March (Figure 1). However, for at least a third of Queensland operators, mosquito control is a year-round opportunity.

Figure 1: In which months do you do mosquito work?

Whilst around a half of respondents either don’t do mosquito jobs or carry out only the occasional mosquito job, just over 15% of respondents are carrying out more than 20 mosquito jobs a month in peak season (Figure 2). Whilst most of these respondents were Queensland based, there were companies from NSW, VIC and SA which also carried out more than 20 mosquito jobs a month. These companies were not just the bigger, national companies – even some one man bands carried out significant mosquito work – indicating that there is a mosquito opportunity for those wishing to focus on this area.

Figure 2: How many mosquito jobs does your company do a month during the peak season?

Although the majority of mosquito work was residential, between 25-35% of respondents also carried out mosquito treatments for at least one commercial (business), hospitality (hotel/motel/retirement village) or government (school/hospital) customer (Figure 3). Just over 10% of pest control companies were involved in broad-area vector control programs. The businesses with the largest number of non-residential customers were all Queensland based and all of the companies involved in vector control programs were also Queensland based.

Figure 3: What type of mosquito customers do you have?

Just over 80% of companies carrying out mosquito treatments used adulticides and over 70% of these also used larvicides/IGRs to provide a complete mosquito treatment. Interestingly around 15% of mosquito treatment companies only used larvicides/IGRs, sometimes in combination with traps and automatic spray dispensers.

In terms of application equipment, the most commonly used pieces of equipment were the handheld/backpack/trolley sprayers and misters. However, fogging equipment (both cold and thermal) and truck-mounted spray rigs were regularly used, particularly by companies who carry out mosquito treatments on a more regular basis.

In terms of the products used, the most commonly used adulticides were bifenthrin-based products such as Biflex Aqua, which were used by around a third of mosquito treatment companies. Presumably these were being used for surface treatments to create a mosquito interception zone. Around 20% of companies carrying out mosquito treatments used pyrethrum-based products, presumably as a space spray treatment. The most popular IGR being used was Sumilarv, a pyriproxyfen-based product.

Service free periods for mosquito treatments are always a challenge. Even though a treatment can be very effective, no treatment can guarantee 100% control. It is perhaps not surprising that 45% of the companies that carry out mosquito treatments do not offer any service free period. However, around 40% of companies offer a service free period of up to three months; in which case, the wording of any service free period would be important.

The mosquito opportunity is clearly bigger in Queensland with the year-round climatic conditions being favourable to mosquito numbers. But based on the results of this survey, the mosquito opportunity can provide significant business in other states during the warmer months. However, businesses would need to be set up to tap into this opportunity through their mosquito knowledge, correct equipment and products, as well as suitable marketing.

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