Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

Maritime Mosquito Control System

How do the systems work?

A Maritime Mosquito Misting system sprays a very fine mist of a dilute insecticide through a nozzle circuit that is installed around the perimeter of a backyard or other area where people want to spend time outdoors.  The mist kills insects on contact – in the air or in landscaping where they harbor.

The active ingredient in the insecticides most commonly used in our systems is comprised of chemicals called pyrethrins, which are derived from the extract of chrysanthemum daisies that are grown in East Africa and Tasmania in Australia.

The most common use of the systems is to control mosquitoes, but the materials used are known as “broad spectrum” insecticides, and they are also effective against other insects like gnats or no see ums, midges, flies, spiders or wasps.

In a residential application, the system’s controller is typically timed to automatically spray a few times a day for 45 to 60 second durations.  The mists are usually programmed for the times around dawn, dusk and in the evening when the mosquitoes are most active and the homeowner wants to be outside.  The systems are also equipped to mist on demand by pressing a button on a remote control.

How effective are the systems?

A research study in 2007, funded by the state of Florida, and conducted by entomologists at Florida A&M University, documented the effectiveness of the systems – by comparing mosquito counts in sites that had misting systems to counts in control sites that didn’t.

During the first few weeks of the study, it reported that “mean mosquito abundance in treated yards was lower compared with untreated yards, where reduction ranged from 71% to 98%.”

And following a drought during the middle of the study period, “. . .  reduction ranged from about 62% to 91%, compared with yards without the systems.”

How much does a system cost for installation?

For a professionally installed Maritime Mosquito Misting system, you should expect to spend about what you would spend for an installed irrigation system for your home.  For a “representative” home sitting on a standard quarter-acre lot, plan on a purchase price in the $2,800 – $4,000 range.

There are two factors that influence the price and explain the range in prices:

  • Nozzle count: The number of nozzles is a function of the linear footage of the perimeter created by the nozzle circuit.  In most cases, the nozzles are spaced about 10 feet apart, so a property with a perimeter of 300 feet will require about 30 nozzles and a property with a perimeter of 600 feet will require twice that many.
  • Available nozzle mounting surfaces: There are two types of nozzles, structure nozzles, mounted to a privacy fence, eave or tree, and landscape nozzles – which sit atop risers in the landscaping.  Structure nozzles are less expensive and generally require less labor to install than landscape risers.

Insecticide

Is the mist safe for my family and pets?

Have you ever heard the expression “the danger is in the dose?”  It basically means that any material can be harmful if someone is exposed to enough of it.  Obviously, for humans, “enough of it” is different for water than for cyanide.

Since it depends on the dose, we can’t categorically state that pyrethrins or permethrin are safe in misting systems, here is what we know and can say:

  • You’ll find them in a wide range of products around your home – in pet shampoos, flea sprays and household aerosols.
  • Pyrethrins and permethrin are among the least poisonous insecticides to mammals because they are readily broken down into inactive products and pass from the body.
  • In misting, the typical field concentration is very low – usually around 5 – 10  parts pyrethrin or permethrin per 10,000 parts mist.
  • In 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency wrote on their webpage about misting, that they do not expect risks of concerns to humans when the formulations are used according to their label.
    Having said all that, you need to be careful when using pyrethrins in misting systems.  People and pets should avoid the mist.  And, cycles should be programmed so that the units don’t mist while people are likely to be exposed.

For more information, see these Active Ingredients Safety Fact Sheets

For which pests is the system effective?

Natural pyrethrins and pyrethroids are considered to be “broad spectrum” insecticides, but the low concentration used in misting systems means they are poisonous when they are in the air and come into direct contact with smaller insects – mosquitoes, gnats, no see ‘ems, houseflies and spiders and wasps.  And while the mist may annoy larger insects-  like horseflies – or insects with hard shells – like ticks or roaches – it doesn’t pack enough punch to kill them.

How does it affect bees and butterflies?

Pyrethrins and permethrin are poisonous and potentially harmful to “beneficial insects” like bees and butterflies.  However, this usually does not present an issue since the units are typically programmed to mist around dusk and dawn and not in the middle of the day when the beneficials are present and active.

Will the mist kill my koi?

While pyrethrins and permethrin are highly toxic to fish, the concentrations of these ingredients in the mist is very small.  A little mist from a nearby nozzle that might drift over and settle in the pond is dramatically further diluted by the water in the pond. Our practice is to avoid placing a nozzle within about 10 feet of a koi pond and to point them in a direction away from the pond.

Is it safe to use around my vegetable garden or fruit trees?

Both pyrethrins and permethrin have the appropriate tolerance for direct application on fruits and vegetables, and you’ll see food handling and processing applications listed on the label. Our practice is to not spray directly on the garden or fruit tree – since the intent is to control mosquitoes and not plant pests – and to always wash the food prior to consuming.