Mosquitoes are undoubtedly one of the worst parts of summer, buzzing around like little vampires leaving itchy, painful bites. Mosquitoes are also carriers of serious diseases like West Nile virus, malaria, dengue fever, and Zika virus, which made headlines in 2016 when outbreaks emerged in the United States.
While Zika is currently under control in the United States, future outbreaks of it and other mosquito-borne diseases may be on the horizon. So mosquito prevention can both make a summer barbeque more comfortable and help protect the health of you and your family.
The best mosquito prevention combines different techniques, and one strategy that’s emerged in recent years is using a mosquito misting system. These systems work passively without much human input once the initial setup is completed, so it’s a great low-effort way to kill mosquitoes and other pests in the yard.
How Do Mosquito Misting Systems Work?
Mosquito misting systems are sort of like yard sprinklers, but instead of water, they spray a very fine pesticide mixture. A pump sits on a reservoir of pesticide mixture – typically concentrated pesticide that you mix with regular water at a specific ratio. The mixture is pumped through a long hose with a series of nozzles to spray it in the surrounding area, such as on the vegetation around the edge of your property.
While mosquito misting systems can be expensive at startup, costing somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 on average, they are pretty low maintenance once they’re installed. Once the system is installed and lines have been run, the system can run automatically on a schedule as long as the fluid is periodically refilled.
The pumps are not only responsible for distributing the pesticide to the misting nozzles, but they also agitate the mixture before pumping to ensure everything remains properly mixed.
Are Mosquito Misting Systems Effective?
Like any pest control strategy, the best way to use a mosquito misting system is in conjunction with other methods, a practice known in the industry as integrated pest management, or IPM.
Because they are relatively new, there isn’t a lot of data available about just how effective they are, and companies may be inflating the beneficial effects of these systems since there aren’t any solidified advertising guidelines yet. In particular, some organizations have expressed concerns about the amount of pesticide that may be needlessly applied when misting systems are set to run automatically at set intervals rather than turned on and off manually.
However, pesticides are pesticides, regardless of their form of dispersal. When used responsibly and in conjunction with other methods like eliminating standing water from the property and applying insect repellant, a misting system can be an effective part of a broader mosquito control strategy.
Tips for your Mosquito Misting System
Design your system effectively
Every yard is different, so it’s important to consider where you plan to run your lines and place the nozzles for your system. Avoid placing nozzles in any place where the pesticides will be sprayed into water, since this won’t do much against the mosquitoes and is toxic to the animals that do live there. Instead, target vegetation, particularly around the edge of your property.
Nozzles should be placed no more than 10ft off the ground to prevent the spray from drifting to unintended areas, and you should also avoid putting nozzles near any air intakes or AC units to prevent the chemicals from entering the house.
Use your system responsibly
Always make sure your reservoir is locked up tight so children playing in the yard can’t access it. You should also schedule your system to dispense pesticide during times when there are no people out in the yard, like early morning or evening. This will likely be more effective anyway since this is when mosquitoes are most active.
You should also regularly check your system for leaks. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular system on how to do this, but many systems automatically detect leaks through sensors in the flow meter. Similarly, you should ensure that the flow rate matches that indicated by the label. Too low a flow rate could indicate a leak, and too high a flow rate could damage the lines or nozzles.
Maintain your system appropriately
These systems can clog, so it’s a good idea to run plain water through the system at the beginning of the season to check for any clogs, leaks, or kinks. If clogs persist, dismantling and soaking the nozzles in white vinegar for 30-60 minutes can help clear it up.
However, this may not always work, especially if the nozzle is old. If that happens, the nozzle will need to be replaced.
Unless you live somewhere warm that’s overrun with mosquitoes all year round, you’ll want to winterize your system when you’re not using it. For most systems, this consists of clearing the lines of any remaining liquid to prevent the lines from getting damaged by freezing.
Using an air compressor to blow the liquid from the line is the easiest method, but you can also leave the lines disconnected until it drains on its own.
That said, the specific steps for winterizing your system may vary according to the model, so always make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Best Mosquito Misting Systems
Pynamite Cube Pro Bluetooth Mosquito Misting System
This unit is certainly more expensive than a manual mister would be, but it is very reasonably priced as far as automatic misting systems go. It has a 55-gallon tank that’s housed in a small, discrete cube. The system is controlled via Bluetooth, and has features built in to help adjust the level of pesticide for dawn and dusk and it automatically suspends misting when the temperature falls below 50 °F.
This kit also comes with 450 feet of nylon line to run through your property, 30 stainless steel nozzles, and 200 clamps. You’ll want to measure around your yard to be certain, but this should be enough to protect most backyards.
One of the biggest selling points of this specific unit is its’ powerful pump that runs at 300 psi to ensure a consistent mist, even at far away nozzles. The other is the asthetics. The cubed design simply blends in a lot better and looks less “DIY” than a big black drum.
Pyranha SprayMaster Misting System
This system runs at about half the price of the Pynamite, and it’s comparably less fancy but will definitely do the job. It has a 55-gallon tank and can be programmed to run on an electronic timer.
One important thing to note is it doesn’t come with any nozzles or tubing, you’ll have to pick those up separately but some people might prefer that to custom fit the lines to their exact needs.
This unit can handle up to 80 nozzles, so no back yard should be a problem!
Tomahawk Power Mist Blower TMD14
If running lines and installing a misting system doesn’t sound like the solution you’re looking for, rest assured you can still use misting as an effective way to treat for mosquitoes. Backpack misters take a bit of an upfront investment, but they will change the way you view outdoor pest control.
This bad boy can treat 1 full acre in less than 30 minutes! With a spray distance of up to 60 feet, you can make short work of any outdoor pest treatment for mosquitoes, ticks, and all other insects. You can use just about any good mosquito yard spray in this kind of mister.
In practice this works pretty much the same way as other misters, only you’ll be applying less frequently (once every 1-3 months depending on your pest problem). What’s also useful is these can work as a leaf blower in the fall.
Mosquito Misting FAQ
What misting spray should I use?
Most pesticides used for misting are pyrethrin-based, but the label of any given product should indicate whether it’s appropriate for misting. As long as it’s diluted to the appropriate concentration, it’s hard to mess this part up. If you need an example product, check out Martins Pystol Misting Concentrate.
Can mosquito misting be done naturally?
Of course! Almost any water-soluble pesticide can be put into a mister, and this includes natural products. For an example of a good natural concentrate, give Essentria IC3 a try.
What other pests will a mosquito mister kill?
This will depend on the pesticide you use, but most pesticides are pretty general as far as the insects that they target. This means that other pests like ants can be killed by them as well. But this is a bit of a double-edged sword, because misting too much can lead to the decline of beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees as well.
Should I run my mister in the rain?
If it is raining significantly when you plan to mist, you should hold off for a while or try to look at forecasts and plan your spray ahead of time. Counterintuitively, rain does not wash away the pesticides as long as they have had sufficient time to adhere to the vegetation. However, rain can make it more difficult for the product to stick. If the pesticide has had time to adhere, you shouldn’t need a respray after rain.
Should I run my mister on windy days?
A little wind may not hurt but on really blustery days, turn the system off. It won’t work nearly as well at protecting your lawn and it could also lead to pesticides traveling to unintended places, which could be dangerous for surrounding wildlife.
Are mosquito misters worth it?
Ultimately, this is up to you. They may be convenient, but they certainly have drawbacks like their high price tag and the risk of spraying too much pesticide. If you have the time to devote to pest control, you may want to go with a more targeted solution. But if you’re looking for something to set and forget, a mister may work well for you despite the cost.
Are misters the same thing as foggers?
Misters and foggers are quite different. A fogger has a much lower particle size when sprayed and doesn’t leave as much of a residual compared to misters. Foggers are typically used when mosquitoes are flying around and most active as they will kill mosquitoes quickly that they make contact with. If you’re interested in this very low pesticide method of mosquito control, see my guide on the best mosquito foggers.