Several manufacturers and pest management companies have begun to market and install outdoor automatically timed insecticide application systems that claim to provide an envelope of protection against host-seeking mosquitoes within a defined area, e.g., residential backyards. A typical system consists of a multi-gallon reservoir attached to a continuous loop of plastic tubing with multiple single spray head nozzles. Nozzles are usually placed along the perimeter of a backyard in landscaping or other areas suitable for mosquito harborage. This array is then connected to a programmable electric pump set to automatically apply an insecticide at predetermined intervals. An operational field study was conducted to evaluate this technology using previously installed MistAway© systems at 3 residences in northwestern Florida. This system applied a mist-like application of 0.05% AI synergized pyrethrins for 45 sec at dawn and again at dusk in each backyard. Twice-weekly collections from ABC suction light traps, baited with carbon dioxide, were used as the evaluation tool. Female mosquitoes from treatment backyards were compared with trap collections from 3 backyards without automatic misting systems used as controls. We found that weekly mosquito reduction was highly variable and ranged from 98% to 14% during the 35-wk study. Because the primary method of reduction by these application systems was not well understood, a MistAway system was installed in an outdoor simulated residential backyard to determine exposure pathway under controlled conditions with field cage and excised-leaf bioassays. Using laboratory-reared females of Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus in those assays, we found that reduction by the MistAway system was primarily achieved by direct exposure of the mosquitoes to the insecticide application and not from residual deposits on treated vegetation.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4