By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Whiting says he hears from customers all summer who are desperate to destroy mosquitoes: “We can’t go out in our yard. We’re held captive in our own house during the middle of the season.”
Every summer rain leaves behind a perfect environment for mosquitoes to get busy breeding. Getting rid of standing water in flower pots, birdbaths and recycling bins is a must. But that itself won’t eliminate all of those biting bugs.
“Mosquitoes will fly up to a half a mile away from water. Then once they get a blood meal so they can breed, they will go back to water and lay more eggs and then come back,” Whiting said.
Whiting’s company Mosquito Platoon is armed to fight those flying bloodsuckers. They go where the mosquitoes hide — under plants.
“Mosquitoes need to hide from the sun and the wind. They get dehydrated, that kills them,” said Whiting.
Workers wearing backpacks blast trees and shrubs with a pesticide mix at 70 miles per hour. It’s called a barrier spray, a very fine mist that’s made up of chemicals that are EPA approved and not harmful to people and pets.
Mosquito Platoon says the pesticide left behind kills any mosquito that lands on the treated leaves. It also kills their eggs.
“I would say that most of our customers do enjoy a three-week reprieve from having mosquitoes in their yard,” Whiting said.
The barrier spray costs an average of $90 per application. Is it the answer to mosquitoes?
“Two weeks you can probably expect some valid control, but after that you’re going to have to re-treat,” said Joe Conlon of the American Mosquito Control Association. The AMCA is an organization of county mosquito control districts and insect experts.
“The mosquitoes that are being bred elsewhere have flight ranges anywhere from 300 feet to five or six miles. They may be coming in from way off base,” Conlon said. That means you may still get some mosquitoes in your yard, and you’ll have to spray again.
Some counties have been spraying this season. Conlon worries spraying extra pesticides might create mosquito resistance.
“Again, we’re trying to control them. We’re not trying to eradicate them. That would be too environmental disastrous to do,” Conlon said.
Although sometimes eradication sounds tempting.
No matter what, you have to follow the rules of mosquito control:
Drain: Empty water at least once a week.
Dress: Wear long, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Defend: Wear insect repellent.