Use mosquito repellents during summer outdoor gatherings

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Use mosquito repellents on Fourth of July outings and other outdoor events to protect against West Nile Virus.
South Dakota Cooperative Extension Pesticide Education Coordinator Jim Wilson said personal repellents offer the best protection against mosquitoes that can transmit the virus.
Use Mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and follow label directions.
Wilson said the Environmental Protection Agency considers the active ingredients DEET and Picaridin as “conventional repellents” and that oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3434 are considered “biopesticide repellents” that are derived from natural materials.
“Repellents generally should not be used on infants under 2 months of age, and oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3,” said Wilson. “Always read the product label to find specific restrictions before using any repellent.”
For severe mosquito conditions, individuals can use special formulations of an insecticide containing permethrin that may be applied only to clothing to supplement the DEET or picaridin on exposed skin.
Individuals can also protect themselves by wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing and by not being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, Wilson said.
South Dakota Cooperative Extension Service Entomologist Mike Catangui added that when planning an outdoor event, homeowners can use portable thermal foggers that use either propane or electricity to convert an insecticide (resmethrin) and fuel oil into a thermal or “hot” fog.
Thermal foggers only kill mosquitoes that come in contact with the insecticidal fog, which usually dissipates within hours after fogging. It’s important to be sure that individuals do not object to the smoke, Catangui said.
Homeowners can also consider longer-lasting barrier or residual treatments of mosquito resting areas when outdoor gatherings are planned. Apply a labeled insecticide onto mosquito resting areas around the yard and home with an ordinary household sprayer, hose-end sprayer, or ready-to-use container equipped with a spray gun.
Apply the insecticide to surfaces where mosquitoes will be resting during the day such as the north or sheltered sides of board fences, wall siding, eaves, and outbuildings; trees and shrubs; under decks; and in tall grass or weeds.
Applications should take place in advance of the planned activity so that the treated surfaces are completely dry before use.
For more information refer to SDSU Fact Sheet 923, “Controlling Mosquitoes around the Home and Yard,” and SDSU Extension Fact Sheet 920, “Personal Mosquito Repellents.” The publications are available at this link: Or ask for them at your county Extension office.