Frequently Asked Questions

ABOUT MOSQUITOES
What are (and are not) mosquitoes?
Insects often mistaken for mosquitoes
How far can mosquitoes fly?
How much blood does a mosquito take in a meal?
Why do mosquitoes feed on blood?
What good do mosquitoes do?
How long do mosquitoes live?

MOSQUITO DANGER AND DISEASES
Can mosquitoes transmit AIDS?
Which mosquitoes transmit West Nile Virus?
Is West Nile Virus in my area?

What are mosquito-borne diseases?

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
What attracts mosquitoes to me?
Which repellent works best?
How do mosquitoes get into my house?
What can homeowners do to reduce mosquito bites?
What about backyard ponds, fountains, and swimming pools?

MOSQUITO CONTROL
Are backyard misting systems effective?
Do Bug-Zappers Work?
Do Ultrasonic devices work?
Do mosquito traps work?
How do mosquito control districts control mosquitoes?
Can you spray for mosquitoes in my neighborhood?
What happens when I submit a Service Request?
Are pesticides used in mosquito control safe?
How do mosquito districts avoid spraying chemically-sensitive persons?
Do mosquito sprays affect animals other than mosquitoes?
Does MMAD use/deliver mosquito fish?

 

How far can mosquitoes fly?
Mosquito species preferring to breed around the house, like the Asian Tiger Mosquito, have limited flight ranges of about 300 feet. Most species have flight ranges of 1-3 miles. Certain large pool breeders in the Midwest are often found up to 7 miles from known breeding spots. The undisputed champions, though, are the saltmarsh breeders - having been known to migrate up to 100 miles in exceptional circumstances, although 20 to 40 miles are much more common when hosts are scarce. When caught up in updrafts that direct them into winds high above the ground, mosquitoes can be carried great distances.
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How much blood does a mosquito take in a meal?
When feeding to repletion, mosquitoes imbibe anywhere from 0.001 to 0.01 milliliter.
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Why do mosquitoes feed on blood?
Female mosquitoes imbibe blood so that their eggs can mature prior to laying. It serves no nourishment function. Males do not take blood meals at all. In order to obtain energy, both male and female mosquitoes feed upon plant nectars - much in the same manner as honeybees.
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What good do mosquitoes do?
Mosquitoes fill a variety of niches which nature provides. As such, placing a value on their existence is generally inappropriate. Although the fossil record is incomplete, they have been known from the Cretaceous Period (about 100 million years ago) in North America. Their adaptability has made them extraordinarily successful, with upwards of 2,700 species worldwide. Mosquitoes serve as food sources for a variety of organisms but are not crucial to any predator species.
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How long do mosquitoes live?
Lifespan vary by species. Most adult female mosquitoes live 2-3 weeks. Some species that over-winter in garages, culverts and attics can live as long as 6 months.
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Can mosquitoes transmit AIDS?
Many studies have been conducted on this issue in the United States and abroad. There has never been a successful transfer of the virus from an infected source to another host by bloodfeeding insects under experimental conditions. The experts have concluded that the insects are not capable of such transmission. Many biological reasons would lead one to this same conclusion, but the extensive experimental studies are the most powerful evidence for the conclusion.

1. HIV DOES NOT replicate in mosquitoes. Thus, mosquitoes cannot be a biological vector as they are for malaria, yellow fever, or dengue. In fact, mosquitoes digest the virus that causes AIDS.
2. There is no possibility of mechanical transmission (i.e., flying contaminated syringes); even though we all know that HIV can be transmitted by dirty needles. However, the amount of "blood" on a mosquitoes' mouth parts is tiny compared to what is found on a "dirty" needle. Thus, the risk is proportionally smaller. Calculations based on the mechanical transmission of anthrax and Rift Valley fever virus, both of which produce very high titers in blood, unlike HIV, showed that it would take about 10,000,000 mosquitoes that first fed on a person with AIDS and then continued feeding on a susceptible person to get 1 transmission.
3. Mosquitoes are not flying hypodermic needles. Mosquitoes regurgitate saliva into the bite wound (the normal route for disease transmission) through a separate tube from that through which it imbibes blood.
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Which mosquitoes transmit West Nile Virus?
The Magna district has 10 commonly found species of mosquito. Three of these have been found to carry the virus. (Culex Tarsalis, Culex Pipiens, and Culex Erythrothorax) At least 43 species of mosquitoes have been found infected with the West Nile virus in the United States. Not all of these, however, are capable of maintaining the virus in such a manner as to permit them to transmit it among organisms. Many of these infected mosquitoes feed only upon birds, thus contributing to a cycling of the virus among avian populations. Other species feed upon these infective birds and then will feed upon mammals, including humans. These are called "bridge vectors" because they serve as a conduit for the virus to travel from its reservoir in birds to its final host in humans or other mammals. In urban settings, Culex pipiens is usually the primary vector. In rural areas, particularly in the western part of the United States, Culex tarsalis is the primary transmitter. Click here for more information on West Nile Virus.
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Is West Nile Virus in my area?
If West Nile Virus is found in Magna Mosquito's District, we will post the most current information on the website, here.
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What attracts mosquitoes to me?
Why some people seem to be more attractive than others to mosquitoes is the subject of much repellent (and attractant for traps) research being conducted nationwide. Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 meters. When female mosquitoes sense carbon dioxide they usually adopt a zigzagging flight path within the plume to locate its source. Once in the general vicinity of a potential host, other cues predominate, including body odors (sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat. Odors produced by skin microflora also play a part in inducing the mosquito to land. Over 350 compounds have been isolated from odors produced by human skin. Either singly or in combination, many of these compounds may be attractants - and many may be repellents. As you can see, the situation is complicated and will require many years of testing before it can be sorted out. Visual stimuli, such as movement, also factor into host-seeking. What can be safely stated, though, is that ingestion of garlic, vitamin B12 and other systemics has been proven in controlled laboratory studies to have no impact on mosquito biting. Conversely, eating bananas did not attract mosquitoes as the myth suggests, but wearing perfumes does. People drinking beer have been shown to be more attractive to mosquitoes. Limburger cheese has also been found to be attractive. Scientists have theorized that this may explain the attractancy some mosquitoes find for human feet.
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Which repellent works best?
N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET) remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged. It is effective against mosquitoes, biting flies, chiggers, fleas, and ticks. Over 25 years of empirical testing of more than 20,000 other compounds has not resulted in another marketed chemical product with the duration of protection and broad-spectrum effectiveness of DEET although the recent additions of picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are remarkably close in effectiveness to DEET. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that all family members over the age of two months can use DEET-based repellents with up to 30% concentration with confidence.

Today's products start out at a concentration of 5% (lasts 90 minutes or so) and range up to 100% (for approximately 10 hours of protection from bites). Pick one that matches your activity. For an outdoor family barbecue in the evenings, a 10% product is fine. It will help protect from bites for approximately 90 minutes to two hours.

In April of 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began recommending two new active ingredients as safe, effective repellents.

The first of these is picaridin, a synthetic developed by Bayer Corporation in the 1980s. This repellent is the most widely used repellent in the world outside of the United States and is marketed as Cutter Advanced. Picaridin is odorless, has a pleasant feel and doesn't plasticize like DEET. Studies have shown it to be as fully repellent to mosquitoes as DEET and can also be applied on infants as young as 2 months. The 15% picaridin formulation, Cutter Advanced Sport, is also an effective repellent for ticks.

The other repellent, often the choice of those wanting a natural product, is oil of lemon-eucalyptus, sold as Repel®. Repel is a 40% formulation of naturally-derived eucalyptus and has a pleasant scent and feel without any plasticizing properties. It is also effective at repelling ticks.
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How do mosquitoes get into my house?
Mosquitoes are singularly adept at entering houses through any portal available, be it through broken window or door screens, attic soffits or through bathroom exhaust vents. A favorite resting spot is the garage, so take care to keep resting female mosquitoes from coming into the house through the garage.
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What can homeowners do to reduce mosquito bites?
If possible, schedule your activities to avoid the times when mosquitoes are most active - usually dawn and dusk. You should also dress in light, loose-fitting clothing. If you have a deck, light it using General Electric yellow "Bug Lights". These lights are not repellant, per se, but do not attract mosquitoes like other incandescent lights. Mosquitoes are relatively weak fliers, so placing a large fan on your deck can provide a low-tech solution. Citronella candles have a mild repellent effect, but do not offer significantly more protection than other candles producing smoke.
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What about backyard ponds, fountains, and swimming pools?
Mosquitoes breed in standing water, so if you or your neighbor has a fountain that does not circulate regularly and has no fish, there is a potential for mosquito growth. This can also apply to swimming pools that are not treated, and emptied regularly. If you are worried about a pond, fountain or swimming pool, submit a service request and MMAD can come inspect for you. MMAD does not use mosquito fish, due to costly regulations involving certification. However, there is an option using a pellet called Altosid. It can be placed in the pond and is safe for ponds with fish and vegetation, while killing any mosquito larvae in the water. Altosid will not affect or harm any dogs or pets that drink from the water.

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Are backyard misting systems effective?
Scheduled sprays used by these misters may needlessly broadcast pesticides into the environment, affecting mosquitoes and non-target insects alike. Modern mosquito control strategies emphasize an integrated approach, based upon a profound knowledge of the target, so that's its various vulnerabilities can be exploited by the many tools we've developed for that purpose. Effective mosquito control requires continual survey of adult mosquito densities to determine if certain triggers for control are met. This reduces the use of adulticides to only those times when they are required.
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Do Bug-Zappers Work?
Black light insect electrocution devices (Bug Zappers, etc.) are purchased in huge quantities by homeowners due to their demonstrated ability to attract and kill thousands of insects over a 24 hr. period. But do they really control pest insects? Bug zappers do indeed kill some mosquitoes. However, the only two controlled studies conducted to date by independent investigators at the University of Notre Dame showed that mosquitoes comprised merely 4.1% and 6.4% respectively of the daily catch over an entire season. Even more important was the finding in both studies that there was no significant difference in the number of mosquitoes found in yards with or without bug zappers. What is particularly disconcerting, however, is the number of non-pest insects that comprise the vast majority of trap catch. Many of these insects are beneficial predators on other insect pests. They in turn constitute a major part of the diet of many songbirds. Indeed, reduced numbers of moth and beetle prey species have contributed significantly to the decline of songbird populations in many affluent suburbs. Insect electrocution devices undoubtedly bear some responsibility for this phenomenon. Mosquitoes continue to be more attracted to humans than to the devices. One study conducted in homeowners' backyards showed that of the insects killed by these devices, only 0.13% were female mosquitoes. An estimated 71 billion to 350 billion beneficial insects may be killed annually in the United States by these electrocuting devices.
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Do Ultrasonic devices work?
At least 10 studies in the past 15 years have unanimously denounced ultrasonic devices as having no repellency value whatsoever. The fact is that these devices just do not work - marketing claims to the contrary.
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Do mosquito traps work?
An enormous amount of consumer interest has been generated by the marketing of new devices designed to attract, then either trap or kill, mosquitoes. The general idea is to reduce the number of questing mosquitoes that would otherwise be afflicting the homeowner. Many products even claim to significantly reduce or even collapse local mosquito populations by decreasing the number of egg-laying females through their capture. These devices will trap and kill measurable numbers of mosquitoes. Whether this will produce a noticeable reduction in the mosquito population in each case will depend upon a number of factors, e.g. individual tolerance level, absolute mosquito population size, proximity, size and type of breeding habitat producing re-infestation, wind velocity and direction, and species of mosquito present, and others. Thus, the homeowner must still use repellents and practice source reduction methods as adjuncts to realize any measure of relief. Please be cautioned against putting too much faith in traps as your sole means of control. These traps represent an evolving technology that is a most welcome addition to our mosquito control armamentarium. Their potential is great, but shouldn't be overestimated. It's highly unlikely that these devices, whatever their improvements, will ever fully supplant organized community-wide mosquito control programs, for there is no single silver bullet that will prove to be the ultimate answer to mosquito problems.
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Can you spray for mosquitoes in my neighborhood?
We can and do use our "fogger" truck in neighborhoods. However this is on a VERY as needed basis. We do everything we can to eliminate the potential for mosquitoes before they become adults. We will be in every neighborhood within our district to treat catch basins, gutters and ponds. PLEASE, if you have a pond in your backyard let us know. Unfortunately, we are not able to kill all mosquitoes before they become adults and so we use our "foggers" as a last resort. Even with all this you will still see mosquitoes. Please know that we are here to control the mosquito population, not eliminate it.

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What happens when I submit a Service Request?
Your service request is emailed to Magna Mosquito Abatement. Once it is received, you will receive an email either requesting more information, or letting you know what action can be taken for your situation. If you are having problems with the Service Request, you can call Magna Mosquito at 801-250-7765.
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Are pesticides used in mosquito control safe?
Since its inception, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated mosquito control through enforcement of standards instituted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. This legislation mandated documentation of extensive testing for public health insecticides according to EPA guidelines prior to their registration and use. These data requirements are among the most stringent in the federal government and are met through research by established scientists in federal, state and private institutions. This process costs a registrant several million dollars per product, but ensures that the public health insecticides available for mosquito control do not represent health or environmental risks when used as directed. Indeed, the five or six adulticides currently available are the selected survivors of literally hundreds of products developed for these uses over the years. The dosages at which these products are legally dispensed are at least 100-fold less than the point at which public health and environmental safety merit consideration. In point of fact, literature posted on the websites of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and National Pesticide Information Center emphasizes that proper use of mosquitocides by established mosquito control agencies does not put the general public or the environment at unreasonable risk from runoff, leaching or drift when used according to label specifications. (For the federal government's position on risks associated with mosquito control insecticides, visit http:/www.epa.gov/pesticides).

The safety profiles of public health insecticides are undergoing increasing scrutiny because of concerns with how the specialized application technology and product selection protect the exposed public and environment. In fact, well over 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies in various national and international refereed journals since 1980 have documented the safety and efficacy of these public health insecticides at label rates in addition to their application techniques.
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How do mosquito districts avoid spraying chemically-sensitive persons?
Organized mosquito control agencies often go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate individuals who, for varying reasons, prefer their property not be sprayed with approved public health insecticides. When surveys indicate the need for adult sprays, they are approved, planned and conducted with special regard to the concerns of chemically sensitive persons. Personal notification of chemically-sensitive individuals of spray times in addition to using Global Positioning Systems (GPS)/Global Information Systems (GIS) technology to reduce the likelihood of drift over unauthorized areas are but a few of the means utilized to ensure mosquito control serves the entire public spectrum. Should you desire that your property not be sprayed, please notify your local district.
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Do mosquito sprays affect animals other than mosquitoes?
The extremely small droplet aerosols utilized in adult mosquito control are designed to impact primarily on adult mosquitoes that are on the wing at the time of the application. Degradation of these small droplets is rapid, leaving little or no residue in the target area at ground level. These special considerations are major factors that favor the use of very low application rates for these products, generally less then 4 grams active ingredient per acre, and are instrumental in minimizing adverse impacts.
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Does MMAD use/deliver mosquito fish?
Unfortunately, due to the high cost to certify fish, Magna Mosquito Abatement cannot offer mosquito fish for ponds or fountains. They do, however, offer Altosid tablets, which when placed in the pond or fountain will kill any mosquito larvae without affecting the water color, any other fish, or vegetation.
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