Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Techletter, a biweekly training letter for professional pest control technicians from Pinto & Associates. To subscribe, visit www.techletter.com.
Backpack mist blowers are useful for treating large outdoor areas quickly and getting insecticide into areas of dense foliage. They are rapidly becoming the tool of choice for PMPs performing backyard mosquito control, as one part of an integrated program. Gas-powered mist blowers are used to apply a barrier treatment of residual insecticide onto and into mosquito daytime harborage areas. Mosquitoes rest during the height of the day in and on vegetation close to the ground. Effective control means getting the insecticide into foliage and especially onto the underside of leaves where mosquitoes are often found.
There are several brands of suitable backpack mist blowers such as B&G, Solo, Stihl and Hudson. A mist blower uses a two-cycle gasoline motor. Suction draws the spray solution from a small (usually 3-gallon) poly tank into an air stream created by a blower. The mist is then blown through an application hose with a nozzle at the end. A trigger on the handle controls stop and start, and the output volume can be adjusted with a multi-position dosage control. Droplet sizes range from 51-100 microns.
TREATMENT SITES. Your main treatment sites are those where mosquitoes are hiding and resting, such as dense ground cover plants, in and under thick shrubbery, and small or bushy trees. Don’t overlook non-foliage resting sites such as the underside of decks, porches, bay windows or other low overhangs. Pay particular attention to the shady, moist areas that mosquitoes prefer. Keep your application low where the mosquitoes are, concentrating on foliage 6 to 8 feet up from the ground. Make sure you follow the label directions for mixing and applying the insecticide you are using.
Mist blowers are effective for mosquito control because they can treat a large area fairly quickly and backpack mist blowers use less chemical than a regular backpack sprayer. The forceful blowing action moves foliage around, letting the insecticide reach the interior of the plants and the underside of leaves.
Cautions: Think of your back when hoisting a loaded backpack mist blower. Set it on a tailgate or picnic table and back into the straps. Because a mist blower projects droplets about 30 feet horizontally and 20 feet vertically, be aware of the drift potential. To protect pollinators, don’t treat flowering plants. Also be careful about getting the spray residue on high-risk surfaces, such as automobile finishes or house siding.
The authors are well-known industry consultants and co-owners of Pinto & Associates.