It often happens that one has done a great deal of work to get rid of mosquito breeding sites in the yard but the bloodsuckers keep on popping up now here, now there. How come? The thing is that sometimes mosquitoes swirling around in your yard are actually not “local”. There can be a constant influx of mosquitoes from neighboring areas. For example, your neighbor may have an unused pool with standing water or there are marshes not far away from the house.
While you may be helpless to change things outside your property, you can bring the situation under control within its lines. What you need for that is a mosquito fogger. In this article, you will learn what are the best mosquito foggers, what scientists recommend about fogging, what natural solutions can be used as well as other beneficial tips and suggestions on how to use this method more effectively.
What you’ll learn from this Guide:
- How mosquito fogger works
- What types of mosquito foggers can be used in the yard
- How to use mosquito fogger
- When and Where Should You Use a Mosquito Fogger?
- Are There Homemade Mosquito Foggers?
- Precaution And Safety Rules
- F.A.Q. On Using Insect Foggers
A fogger is a pest control device powered by electricity or propane that can be purchased from most garden stores. This device produces droplets that hang in the air like fog. The most common type of foggers, a thermal fogger, uses heat that is produced by a propane burner or electricity to heat a coil. The latter converts insecticides into a smoke that consists of small particles. It is their small size that makes up the whole idea of fogging.
Donald Lewis from Iowa State University explains that since these particles are so tiny, it may take some time before the fog settles on the plants and other sites where mosquitoes usually rest. So a fogger kills a greater number of mosquitoes in comparison with sprays and other solutions because the droplets hang in the air long enough.
For the same reason, the fog effectively penetrates even the densest vegetation, killing mosquitoes which usually hide there in the daytime. From my experience, foggers have more advantages than disadvantages. But now, I am going to elaborate on both of them.
The strong points of fogging include the following:
- Fogging is easy and does not require any special training
- It is done very quickly while the effect may last up to six hours
- You can direct the insecticidal fog where you want and target specific sites.
And what are the weak points?
- You cannot control the fogging in windy conditions. So the released insecticidal particles can appear in your neighbor’s yard or settle on the plants which you do not want to contact the insecticide.
- Fogging can harm beneficial insects that are a sort of must-have for any garden. Insects like wasps and bees render us valuable services by predating on pests and pollinating plants but they can be negatively affected by foggers.
- Still, fogging is a short-term solution. Therefore, it gives the best result when used along with other solutions or as a preventive measure.
There are several types of mosquito foggers and you can pick up the most appropriate one depending on your specific situation.
So the most common one is thermal foggers operating on propane or electricity. When ignited, it converts the insecticide into dense fog. Propane foggers are good for large areas or large-size targets, such as tall trees or whatever big you need to treat with insecticide.
For less than one hundred dollars, you get the device similar to those applied by professionals to eradicate West Nile Virus carrier mosquitoes. With this fogger in hand, you will be able to cover an area of about 5,000 square feet for some ten minutes. And you will not see mosquitoes for about six hours.
Fill its yellow reservoir only with the insecticides under the brands of Black Flag, Cutter, or Repel. Do not start fogging immediately after the device was turned on. Preheat it for a couple of minutes to enhance the effect of the insecticide treatment. Before letting anyone enter the area you have just treated, wait until the fog disperses, which usually takes about five minutes. Apart from insecticides, you may need one more extra item — an extension cord to plug the fogger into a power outlet.
This was the best bug fogger powered by electricity. But what about the propane ones? They have a number of advantages. So when using propane foggers, you will not have to worry about having sockets or other kinds of a power source. This is essential because using cords is extremely inconvenient when you need to treat a large area. Moreover, you will obviously have no possibility to charge it when you are hiking, having a picnic or engaged in any other kind of outdoor activities where people are normally severely attacked by mosquitoes. With a propane fogger, you just take it and go wherever you need.
Burgess 960: Check the current price
Black Flag 190095 Propane Insect Fogger
The manufacturer of this propane fogger claims that the product will make your yard mosquito-free for six hours after treatment. The device produces particles that are up to seven times smaller than those of mist. Like the previous item, it allows covering an area of 5,000 square feet for ten minutes. You will find the product convenient because it is ready-to-use and leaves no offensive odor.
The price is quite moderate, in the range between 50 and 100 dollars, while the product is cost-efficient. You will need one quart of the product to treat half an acre. Another advantage of using this item is that it is compatible with two canisters — the taller (14.1 oz.) and the shorter one (16.4 oz.). So you may pick up the most appropriate propane canister, depending on whether you are going to take the fogger with you on hiking or treat the yard.
Black Flag 190095: Check the current price
Burgess 1443 Propane Insect Fogger
This propane fogger will cost you extra 20 dollars but the result will be the same. Moreover, it has a number of disadvantages in comparison with Black Flag fogger. First, it is compatible only with 14-ounce propane canister. You might think that this makes the device more portable. Not at all, the product is less convenient to carry as it is 15.1 x 11.1 x 6.9 inches in size, whereas Black Flag fogger is 9 x 21 x 10 inches in size. However, both products have approximately the same weight.
So in my view, Burgess fogger is behind the one under the brand of Black Flag in terms of its applicability. The advantage of Burgess product lies in its safety features as it has a trigger lock preventing accidental dispensing of insecticide.
Burgess 1443: Check the current price
Bonide 420 Fog-Rx Propane Insect Fogger
This one is a bit less expensive and has an advantage of being more lightweight. The product weighs just 2.7 pounds, which makes it more convenient to carry in comparison with Burgess fogger (3.1 pounds) and Black Flag product (3.65 pounds). However, being 16 x 12 x 8 inches in size, this item is not superior in terms of portability.
One more strong point of Bonide fogger that makes it convenient to use is a translucent bowl. So you can see whether there is unused insecticide inside. Apart from that, the device creates a really dense fog with no residue. In general, Bonide is a trusted company that offers a wide range of products that can be needed in fogging — from spare parts to insecticides and all kinds of foggers.
Bonide 420: Check the current price
Beamnova Gas-Powered Sprayer with Cold Fogger
This item cost two times more than that under the brand of Burgess. It is convenient to use, with insecticide and fuel tanks built-in. The plastic structure adds to the portability of the device. Because of CDI ignition, the device starts easy and is safe for the applicator. The fogger’s heated elements are well-protected so that the applicator cannot get burned. This is an important safety characteristic of the product.
Beamnova: Check the current price
The cold fogger differs from the thermal one in the way it produces the fog. Instead of heat, it uses high air pressure, to convert the insecticidal liquid into small particles. The size of these particles is the main advantage of these devices capable of producing droplets ranging between 5 to 50 microns in diameter. A common example of this type of foggers is the ULV fogger.
Norman B. Akesson, a Professor of Agricultural Engineering with the University of California indicates that this is a very effective method of mosquito control. “These machines were introduced into California in the late 1950s and quickly became a widely accepted and highly effective way to knock down adult mosquitoes rapidly,” Norman B. Akesson, a Professor of Agricultural Engineering with the University of California, said.
However, Mr. Akesson has pointed out some limitations. First, the fog should be released upwind to be effective. Also, cold foggers should be applied in the early evening because, at this time of day, overhead air is warmer than the air near the ground, something that helps to distribute the fog.
Tri-Jet 6208 Fogger
A time-tested and reliable cold fogger like this one will cost you some three hundred dollars, which is actually a fair price for such a feature-packed device. You can adjust the size of particles within the range of 15 and 30 microns as well as the degree of misting simply by turning the knob. In addition, there is a timer allowing to control application and 3 counter-rotating nozzles. Made of aluminum and brass, this item seems to be the best mosquito fogger. It is durable and, even so, comes with a 5-year warranty. The manufacturer claims that the product can be safely used both indoors and outdoors.
Tri-Jet 6208: Check the current price
OdoBan Fogmaster Jr Cold Fogger
A maneuverable hand-held fogger comes with a 1-quart tank. The product is made from corrosion-resistant materials, which is essential given that it deals with chemical liquids. The manufacturer indicates its light weight as the product’s advantage but I would not be too sure about that. In fact, this fogger weights 4 pounds, which makes it heavier in comparison with the above-mentioned propane foggers.
Like in Tri-Jet fogger, the particle size can be adjusted here but this device produces a bit larger particles reaching up to 40 microns. The other downside is that the product has just a one-year warranty, which is not enough given that mosquitoes are a seasonal problem. But when compared with Tri-Jet insect fogger in terms of price, Fogmaster Jr. is a relatively cheap purchase that will cost you a bit more than one hundred dollars.
OdoBan: Check the current price
Hudson 99598 Fog Electric Atomizer Sprayer
This device comes with a large coiled hose allowing to direct the insecticidal fog where you need. It price lies in the range from 200 to 300 dollars, so the product is quite expensive. The manufacturer says that this insect fogger is lightweight but I doubt that a 10-pound appliance can fall into this category. Another weak point is the size of the particles it releases, which ranges from 22 to 46 microns and is obviously larger than that of the two previous cold foggers. In my view, this is crucial because it is the particle size that makes cold foggers different from the regular ones and that justifies their notably higher price.
Hudson 99598: Check the current price
When choosing an insecticide, first of all, read the label of your fogger to find out which insecticides it is compatible with. Also, keep in mind that it must be an adulticide, i.e the solution targeting adult mosquitoes rather than their larvae or eggs. This is because fogging kills only active flying insects.
Entomologist Donald Lewis suggests using pyrethroid insecticides since they are the least toxic, have low residual and are almost odorless. “Pyrethrin has little to no residual activity and to be effective would have to be used very close to the time of the outdoor event you are trying to protect,” he said.
L. B. Brattsten, Professor with the State University of New Jersey claims that “the only material recommended for fogging is malathion”. So purchase the 95% malathion concentrate and dilute it. A 15-liter concentrate should be added to a solvent to make 379 liters of final volume.
Now, what fogging insecticides are available on the market?
Black Flag Chemical Fogging Insecticide
Black flag is a trusted fogging insecticide that is compatible with mosquito foggers of various brands, including Burgess, Cutter, and Repel. For some ten dollars, you get a canister to cover half an acre. Its active ingredients include chemical formulations which are actually the same as permethrin.
You will find it convenient that there is no need to mix a solution as the product is sold ready-to-use. An important quality characteristic of the product is the lack of odor. After the application, the effect lasts about six hours. I think it will be enough for hosting a party without having the guests upset with mosquito bites.
Black Flag: Check the current price
Ortho MAX Malathion Concentrate Insect Spray
This bottle of insecticide has the same volume as the previous item but is three times as expensive. The solution is based on malathion at a concentration amounting to 50%, which makes it very strong. As a reference, this ingredient belongs to the chemical family known as organophosphates that are used in agriculture and garden treatment.
The product is labeled for a number of pests including mosquitoes and malathion kills them by preventing their nervous system from working properly. An essential advantage of the product is that it can be safely sprayed not just on shrubs and trees but also on vegetables and fruits. This is crucial because, in order to get rid of mosquitoes, you will have to treat heavily the vegetation where mosquitoes usually seek shelter. And this solution will be safe for plants and flowers growing in your garden or yard.
And yet, there are some limitations and downsides. So you can apply the product outdoors only. Apart from that, the insecticide is powerful enough to kill beneficial insects as well, therefore, take care to apply it when bees and butterflies are not active. And finally, the solution is not odorless.
Ortho MAX: Check the current price
Mosquito Barrier 2001 natural fogging insecticide
Like any natural solution, this one is approximately twice as expensive as the chemical insecticide. The price is justified by the product’s safety features as it is not toxic and much more safe for people and pets. This repellent is based on garlic and is said to be effective up to a month. The manufacturer also claims that one spray is enough to repel these bloodsuckers. But does it really work?
In fact, scientists have already debunked the myth about mosquitoes being repelled by garlic-based solutions. So a study conducted by the University of Connecticut Health Center revealed that garlic has no effect on mosquitoes. However, they admitted that garlic could work in case it is applied in huge amount. And that is the problem since “huge amount” of garlic can hardly be socially acceptable, the concluded.
Mosquito Barrier 2001: Check the current price
Magician Natural Mosquito Killer
This is another natural solution that is based on a blend of essential oils including citronella, rosemary, lemongrass, and cedar. One gallon costs as much as a good fogging device but it is worth buying if you have to treat vegetation.
The product is recommended to be applied with foggers and sprayers and is said to last for about half a month. All you have to do is mix four to six ounces of the concentrate with one gallon of water and place into the fogger’s container. The producer says that a test was conducted in a lab, which has proved that this solution can kill almost all mosquitoes in the treated area.
But is it true? Well, as for essential oils, the facts are not that clear.
According to Emily Zobel, Agriculture Extension Assistant at the University of Maryland Extension, some scientific studies have shown that essential oils can work as repellents. But there is not consistent results on their efficacy, required level of concentration, and effect on different mosquito species. In addition, essential oils are characterized by high volatility and are usually viewed as a short-term solution. What they are really good at is killing larvae, something that you cannot do with a fogger.
Besides, she points to the fact that the effect of essential oils in yard treatment is significantly understudied as researchers primarily focus on their application to the skin or fabric. Regarding fogging, Mrs. Zobel highlights some risks posed by essential oils: when applied incorrectly, they can burn the vegetation and kill beneficial insects. To avoid this, apply essential oils in the morning or at night and never treat the plants that are in full bloom.
Magician Natural: Check the current price
EcoGuard Plus Mosquito Control Concentrate
And here is one more natural solution, this time based on cedarwood oil that accounts for almost 50% of all ingredients there. Quite an impressive level of concentration, which means that the product can really work! According to a group of scientists at Cornell University, cedarwood is approved by EPA as a safe and effective solution to repel mosquitoes.
This product comes at a much lower price, about some thirty dollars, so I think it would be a wise choice to use it. This solution is recommended to be applied by mist blowers, hose-end applicators, and sprayers. The shape of the bottle makes it easy to measure and pour the liquid into a fogger’s container.
EcoGuard Plus: Check the current price
An aerosol fogger is a budget choice for homeowners who do not want to bother with sophisticated equipment and prefer to use a habitual spray can. It is ready-to-use, small, compact and does not require mixing. Pick it to any outdoor activity and you will ensure a mosquito protection for several hours, without taking any extra weight.
You save money as there is no need to purchase insecticides, however, cans empty very quickly, which raises the question of whether aerosols are really cost-efficient. Scientists from Iowa State University suggest that aerosol foggers should be applied to flower beds, plants, and lawn edges, where precision is needed.
When spraying, hold the can approximately ten feet away from shrubs and grasses. Spray it into the air, treating such areas as dense vegetation, porches, patios, and garbage cans. Now, what are best bug foggers in aerosol cans?
Cutter Chemical Aerosol Fogger
This aerosol is the most expensive one but, in fact, you should halve the price as there are two cans in one pack. One item covers over a thousand cubic feet of a yard or lawn. The solution is based on the active ingredients tetramethrin and phenothrin, killing insects by contact. As a reference, phenothrin is also sprayed from aircrafts as an ultra-low volume (ULV) application for mosquito control.
Cutter Chemical: Check the current price
EcoSmart 33129 Organic Mosquito Fogger
The cheapest option that has an advantage of being non-toxic and safe for children and pets. This is because this aerosol fogger is organic, containing oils of geraniol, rosemary, and peppermint. The 14-ounce can works on contact and is said to last up to 8 hours. Well, it sounds weak to me since even the best mosquito foggers usually do not offer mosquito protection for more than 5 hours. On top of that, solutions based on natural ingredient have a shorter effect.
EcoSmart 33129: Check the current price
Cutter Natural Aerosol Fogger
Cutter mosquito fogger also contains natural ingredients and is 14 ounces in volume as well. Nevertheless, it is twice as expensive as the previous item. Why? Well, Cutter is an insect repellent brand known for more than half a century. So it is a trusted company that stands by its words, which is why they have conducted tests to prove that the product is effective against mosquitoes.
Cutter Natural: Check the current price
Comparative Chart Of Mosquito Fogger Effectiveness
You see that fogging a yard helps to get rid of active mosquitoes but does not eliminate their breeding sites. On the other hand, there are certain risks you should take into account. That is why there are some rules of fogging that you should follow to achieve maximum effect. A list of these beneficial rules was published by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Rule #1. Apply a fogger immediately before a party or any other outdoor event. The effect is temporary but it will be enough to avoid bites for some hours.
Rule #2. Direct the insecticidal fog toward shady areas and dense vegetation as these are harborage sites where mosquitoes rest during the day.
Rule #3. Never direct it into the wind.
Rule #4. If you need to cover a large area or you are going to fog frequently, choose thermal foggers rather than aerosol foggers. The latter are smaller and are actually spray cans, which is why they empty faster and eventually will cost you more money.
Rule #5. Since fogging causes harm to beneficial insects, including bees and butterflies, do not apply foggers near plants where these insects are usually active.
Rule #6. Notify your neighbors before using thermal foggers. These devices produce a thick white fog, something that can create an embarrassing situation.
Rule #7. Before purchasing an insecticide, make sure that it is compatible with your fogger.
Rule #8. Fog at dusk, when it is not windy yet but mosquitoes are still in their hiding places.
Since a fogger targets active mosquitoes, choose the time when they are flying or resting in the vegetation. So the best time is the evening and early morning but the former is preferable. Why? First, the temperature is optimal for fogging at this time of day. Secondly, as a rule, there is no wind and, thirdly, all beneficial insects are resting in their shelters at this hour.
Can an insect fogger be used Indoors?
Some models of insect foggers are intended for indoor use as well. But the utility of fogging inside the house to control mosquitoes is still in question. Michael F. Potter, an Extension Entomologist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, suggests placing the device in the center of a room on a flat surface above the ground. This may be a chair or table, for example. The insecticide should be released upwards so that its particles remain suspended for a while and settle on the floor and everything in the room. Bear in mind that foggers also repel insects, driving them deeper into their hiding places, which actually does not help to resolve the problem.
Where To Use Insect Fogger Outdoors?
Mosquito foggers are intended to cover large areas. So you can use them to protect your house or protect yourself when you are far away from the house.
Where you should apply a mosquito fogger for the yard
Roughly speaking, you have two targets. The first one is the place where mosquitoes have been seen flying. Watch them and try to detect such places. The second target is where mosquitoes rest. These are shrubs, tall grass, trees and any kind of dense vegetation, as well as shady areas in the yard. Treat places near standing water and a swimming pool, as well as porches and patios. Do not forget to spray thoroughly garbage cans in the backyard.
Where you should apply a mosquito fogger for camping
When choosing a campsite, you should better avoid places near water reservoirs where mosquitoes are thriving. But if you are still going to get out on the water, here are some tips. Use a fogger on the vegetation located in the direction in the direction of the water sources like lakes and rivers. Then, look for damp sites where the sunlight does not penetrate. As a rule, adult mosquitoes rest in sheltered places, such as bushes, branches, and tree trunks.
Mosquito foggers can be homemade. What you need for that is potassium nitrate and sugar. Wrap the mixture in a foil and place it in any heat source — a stove, for example. The solution will produce a thick gas that will poison mosquitoes. However, I would strongly advise against doing that because these gases are dangerous for people and pets as well, causing breathing and other health issues. Let alone their impact on the environment. So you should better spend some more money and purchase a manufactured device that meets all required standards.
Are mosquito foggers dangerous? These devices can pose a certain risk when handled improperly. So, the ingredients in some foggers may be flammable when applied close to open flame. Do not use them near stoves, furnaces etc. Even a cigarette can cause a fire if it is left lit in the place where a fogger is used.
Also, the user should wear long-sleeved shirts, goggles, and a respirator in order not to inhale the insecticide. This is particularly essential for using mosquito foggers indoors as the insecticides such as permethrin may be breathed in. The impact of the mosquito fogger on the skin can be significant. For example, it may cause irritation, burning and itching on the skin. The eyes may burn and pain as well. When the liquid is inhaled, there can be breathing difficulty and vomiting.
Are mosquito foggers safe for pets? Again, it is not the device itself but the insecticide it atomizes that can be hazardous. When a dog or cat get permethrin on their skin, they behave in a strange way, twitching their ears and smacking their lips.
How long does mosquito fogger last?
As a rule, it lasts up to 6 hours. Remember that fogging is a solution providing s short-term effect.
Where to spray a mosquito fogger?
Spray a fogger on a dense vegetation, shrubs, beneath the tree trunks, around standing water and sheltered places where mosquitoes hide or rest.
What is the advantage of using foggers?
You can treat the needed area easily and quickly. It is the best option if you are hosting a party and want it to be mosquito-free. Although the effect is short-term, this period of time is enough to let you enjoy any outdoor activity. You can direct the insecticidal fog at a specific site.
Mosquito fogger vs trap
A mosquito fogger is the opposite of a mosquito trap as the latter is intended to catch a limited number of insects while a fogger covers a large area. It is impossible to locate as many traps. Then, traps kill only those insects that have been caught, whereas using foggers implies an active approach to fighting these pests.
Mosquito fogger vs spray
Foggers produce much finer particles, which make them more effective in killing these bloodsuckers. Sprays have an advantage of being smaller and more portable but there are aerosol foggers which resemble spray cans and are equally convenient.
Mosquito fogger vs mister
Using a mister allows you to apply insecticides with a longer residual but a fogger is more portable and convenient to use.
Mosquito fogger vs zapper
Zappers are known to catch mainly beneficial insects, whereas the proportion of the trapped mosquitoes is extremely low — about one or two percents. In addition, zappers primarily effective indoors while insect foggers are generally for outdoor use.
Can a mosquito fogger be applied to other insects?
Of course, it can be applied to all sorts of insects. Actually, there is no such thing as a “mosquito fogger,” it is the insecticidal liquid that makes it specific to one or another species of insects. In any case, read the label where the list of target insects should be indicated.
Will a mosquito fogger kill bees / wasps / fleas?
Yes, it can kill beneficial insects, which is one of the main — if not the main — disadvantages of this mosquito control method.
How to clean a mosquito fogger?
Turn off the device and let it cool off, otherwise, you can burn your fingers. Put on gloves because you may contact the remaining insecticide. Then, pull the spray tip away and place a pipe cleaner into the tube to clean it. Remove the pump assembly cover and insert a pipe cleaner there to clean inside.