How are mosquitoes controlled during outbreaks?

Adult mosquito control may be undertaken to combat an outbreak of mosquito-borne disease or a very heavy nuisance infestation of mosquitoes in a community. Pesticides registered for this use are known as adulticides and are applied either by aircraft or on the ground employing truck-mounted sprayers. State and local municipalities commonly use the organophosphate insecticides malathion and naled and the synthetic pyrethroid insecticides permethrin, resmethrin, and sumithrin for adult mosquito control. Check with your municipality to determine the exact adulticides used, if any. 

Mosquito adulticides are applied as ultra-low volume (ULV) sprays. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay aloft and kill flying mosquitoes on contact. ULV applications involve small quantities of pesticide active ingredient in relation to the size of the area treated, typically less than 3 ounces per acre, which minimizes exposure and risks to people and the environment. Adulticides can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing unreasonable risks to the general population or to the environment when applied according to the pesticide label. More information on pesticides commonly-used in public health mosquito control programs is available at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticides website.

Show All Answers

1. What are "larvicides" and "adulticides"?
2. What is CDC's position regarding the use of chemical mosquito control?
3. How are mosquitoes controlled during outbreaks?
4. Are pesticides harmful to people?
5. What should I do if I think that I am having health problems because of pesticides used in my area?
6. How does pesticide spraying affect the environment?
7. What training is required for workers who apply pesticides?
8. Where can I get information regarding the safety of specific pesticides?
9. How can I find out what types of pesticides are being used in my area?