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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

Wait…What? (AKA: Is it that time of year already?)

I’m taking my usual morning walk today and since it’s getting lighter out, I can see a bit more. Around my neighborhood, I saw not one, but three yard signs advertising that a pest control company had done a mosquito treatment. You may be asking “but why is that a big deal?”. Great question thanks for asking.


A mosquito treatment doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that this is early March. Granted, I live in the south and we have had some warm temperatures over the last week. Adult mosquitoes become slow at 60F and “can not function” when temps drop to 50F. The overnight lows here have been around 50-55F. So at this point, mosquito activity should be fairly small. The warmer daytime temps (70-75F) will have some individuals active, then the night temps will knock them back down. I’ve been sitting out on my back deck some afternoons and I haven’t noticed any adult mosquito activity, so what has this company been treating for?

I get that sometimes we want to do a bit of a preventative treatment when we know pests are likely to be a problem or have been a problem in the past. Unless you live in Antarctica or Iceland, you have mosquitoes (seriously, even the Arctic!). Of course the warmer your climate is, the more mosquitoes there will be and the longer they will be active. So living in the south we are definitely going to have mosquitoes. But doing a mosquito treatment now, when adults aren’t out seems to be a waste because the residual isn’t going to last long enough to have a great effect on the insects. So again, why treat? (I mean aside from fleecing the customer.)

Pretty sparse out there right now

Now, I don’t know what product was used to do this treatment, but in general, most products will have label language that specifies treatment to be applied to vegetation and where adult mosquitoes are resting. Living in Georgia (the state, not the country), right now there really isn’t much vegetation. There are some buds starting on the trees and shrubs, but vegetation is pretty sparse right now. Therefore, any treatment that was done is now mostly on the ground where it’s not going to do any good.

Tried to photo the carpenter bees flying around...

We do have quite a lot of flowering trees right now (welcome to pollen season in GA). This presents a concerning issue because there are pollinators out right now. Looking at one of my trees yesterday, there were a number of small bees and flies visiting all the flowers. Most labels stipulate that flowering plants can not be treated when pollinators may be present. These mosquito treatments could potentially be a label violation. Not good.



Moral of this story: be smart about your treatments. Just because you can sell a job doesn’t mean it is effective or legal to do so. Timing, weather, and other species all matter when doing a treatment. Hopefully, this just means an ineffective treatment and the customer not getting what they paid for. At worst, it means non-target species are affected and it could be an illegal use of a pesticide.


Do you know your labels and if you can/should treat? (We can help with that!)



Lagniappe:



Urban pest consulting.


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bwhitleysr
08 มี.ค. 2566

Here in Virginia working by the James river, mosquitoes fly around quite frequently at night.


People including technicians, also need to be aware if they are using systemic pesticides around flowering trees and bushes. The uptake of the chemicals kill the pollinators in this way as well.

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