Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mosquitoes Are Back, and I've Got Just the Thing!

As I think back to our rainy spring, I long for the lush greenness in the garden at that time. But one thing I haven't missed over the course of our hot, dry summer is the mosquitoes.

In the spring, they were so bad you couldn't go out at ANY time of the day without being attacked by several mosquitoes in the span of just a few minutes. There were, of course, things to be done in the gardens, so I could be seen doing the "Skeeter Dance" in an effort to complete my tasks without being bitten.

Without rain, the mosquitoes all but disappeared. But cooler temperatures have taken over and we've gotten some rain in recent weeks, so guess what? They're ba-a-a-ck!

This time, I'm armed.

In the past, I have used citronella candles, spray foggers, a big bug zapper, and bug spray on my person. The candles smell quite nice, but apparently the mosquitoes are willing to fly through the wafting scent to get to me. The foggers are just plain nasty; I feel like I need to wear a protective mask to keep from being fogged myself. And I really hate wearing bug spray, in spite of the newer dry sprays and improved scents. I just don't like the idea of putting that poison on my skin.

The Mosquito 86 System that I tested recently is my weapon of choice against these disease-carrying blood suckers. It uses a solution known as Agent E that you mix with water and carry in a small tank as a backpack. The delivery system channels the solution in the tank through clear tubing to the tube attachment on the end of a leaf blower. Turn on the blower, move a little switch, and you're in business.

You are probably thinking that this sounds as if it works like a fogger. Not so. By making use of the strong force of air that comes out of the blower, the solution is dispersed in a controlled spray and you can direct it very accurately just where you want it. This is helpful in a couple of ways:

  1. There is no airborne mist for you to breathe in.
  2. Better accuracy allows you to put the agent just where you want it and not where you don't.
The Mosquito 86 system can be purchased in several different models. If you already own a leaf blower, you can purchase the attachment that fits over 50 different leaf and lawn blowers. If you don't own a leaf blower, you can purchase a unit that contains both the blower and the appropriate attachment, either in electric or gas-powered models.

I tested the electric model, which I chose because they are generally lighter in weight. There is that matter of the electrical cord (not included), but for the areas where I will be using it, there are outlets within reach, using a 50-foot cord. We spend most of our leisure time in the area adjacent to the house, either on the patio, the deck, or the front porch. The unit itself weighs 6.6 pounds and comes with a two-year warranty.

The solution is provided in a concentrate and you mix it with water in the backpack tank. The active ingredient is permethrin* and it is effective not only on mosquitoes, but also ants, biting flies, fleas, and ticks. It is safe for use around pets and children, once the solution has dried. One application lasts a week and is recommended that you reapply it after a rain. It also kills bees if you spray it directly on them, it is advised that you don't apply it while they are actively feeding. Mosquitoes are generally most active at dusk and later, so that's the ideal time to apply.

Since permethrin* is toxic to cats, this is my only concern, although slight, because as you know, we have several of them here at Our Little Acre. But it's easy enough to keep them in until the spraying is done and dry. The concentration used with the Mosquito 86 system is not at a level known to be harmful to cats or other animals. As with any chemical, care must be taken to use it as directed and with respect, to avoid adverse effects.

I was pretty pleased with my Mosquito 86 and think it's an innovative idea for applying a mosquito-killing agent. As one who seemingly attracts these biting buggers, I now have an effective and easy method of keeping them away from our favorite yard hangouts. With West Nile Virus being reported in our area, mosquitoes do present a very real risk, so I welcome a control product such as this.

More information about the Mosquito 86 can be found at their web site.

*Permethrin is a common synthetic chemical, widely used as an insecticide and acaricide and as an insect repellent. It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation. It is not known to harm most mammals or birds. It generally has a low mammalian toxicity and is poorly absorbed by skin. (Wikipedia)

The product or merchandise being reviewed in this blog post was the sole compensation for testing and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed here are mine, with no suggestions whatsoever by the manufacturer or distributor. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that, too.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yes, I have seen others comment about these contraptions. A friend of ours has a smaller gizmo that works like this. We have him fog before a party but I don't usually do this.

Shady Gardener said...

The mosquitoes have been pretty pesky around here lately, too. I've been wearing a crazy repellent with lemon eucalyptus which has worked pretty well for me. You'd think you might just scare them to death with that outfit you're wearing! ha! ;-)

I'll keep it in mind, though.

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Interesting, sounds like a quite friendly terminator. How often do you need to spray?

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