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Mosquito spraying and bees--this is another sensitive issue and one that everyone in public health mosquito control takes very seriously. Firstly, the same protective measures followed to protect other beneficial insects also apply to bees. There has also been a lot of field work and research published by very reputable academic institutions, such as Louisiana State University and Rutgers, which demonstrate that ULV treatments for mosquito control do not harm bees, even in cases of direct spray applications.
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We understand that the potential for pesticide exposure concerns many. And, we know many individuals are generally sensitive to chemicals, whether they’re from a perfume or a pesticide, and take steps to limit exposure whenever possible. However, mosquito control treatments, applied correctly, using EPA-registered products, will not harm humans or pets. That said, we do offer residents the ability to sign up for advance notification of scheduled applications, so they can plan accordingly.
Plants and garden beds do not need to be covered or harvested before a treatment. Just use the same practice that should be followed with grocery or market produce, and rinse with water and a mild detergent before consuming.
Leave the A/C on! Windows may also remain open. Decades ago, this was a common recommendation but as application technology and chemistries have evolved, this is no longer a necessary measure.
Insecticides are not one size-fits all, and treatments to reduce mosquito populations will not work on ticks. Why? Mosquitoes are flying; ticks are crawling. AND they are a completely different type of insect, with a different body size. Tick applications need to be made at ground-level where they crawl, and with significantly greater doses of product that required for mosquito control.
This one gets tricky and can be very product specific, but generally, the answer is, have no fear! Yes, certain active ingredients in pesticides may be toxic to beneficial insects upon direct exposure. But when it comes to mosquito control, four key things reduce this risk:
1. We don’t spray just the active ingredients. We use highly-refined formulations, most of which are made with less than 5% of an active ingredient.
2. ULV treatments deliver a very, very small amount of product optimized to control mosquitoes--usually about 1 tablespoon or less to treat an acre (which is rouhly four typical suburban home lots or a football field). Why so little? Because the dose is specific to mosquitoes, which are much smaller in weight than most beneficial insects. For reference, mosquitoes weigh between 2 and 10 mg each. A firefly weighs at least 20 mg.
3. Next, that very small amount of product is delivered in super-tiny droplets--think 15 droplets on a pin head. The droplets float through the air and work by making physical contact with adult mosquitoes in-flight.
4. And lastly, we spray at night when mosquitoes are active and other beneficial insects are not.
Less--and quieter--is better! ULV spray technology has evolved quite a bit since the days of DDT fogger treatments. Modern chemistries, more advanced, quieter spray equipment, and variable weather conditions mean the spray cloud is not always visible or audible--but that doesn’t mean it’s not working.
Every Clarke application truck is equipped with two pieces of technology that ensure spray effectiveness and safety. First is a monitoring system called SmartFlow. This equipment adjusts spray volume as vehicle speed changes to ensure a uniform treatment rate. So, whether we are driving 5 or 15 mph, the right application rate is being dispersed. The second technology used is called GeoTab , which is a GPS-based application that tracks vehicle locations, vehicle speeds, and spray activity (on/off) in real-time.
The timing of spray treatments is always closely coordinated with the communities Clarke serves, and dependent upon the makeup of their mosquito control program and budget. To determine spray requirements, we look at data from surveillance traps in the area, and combine it with insights from predictive software, resident calls, and resource availability to time adult mosquito treatments to deliver the most relief.
Last but not least, ULV spray treatments followed by rain are usually still effective, as long as there were adult mosquitoes in flight at the time of treatment. However, the lasting power of barrier treatments sprayed on plant foliage can be compromised by weather.