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Insecticides Used

Listed below are the insecticides used to control the population of mosquitoes in Miami-Dade County.

Larval Mosquito Control

Mosquitoes can be controlled while in their larval developmental stage. Inspectors conduct daily inspections to find mosquito larvae and take the necessary action to eliminate them. Small containers are emptied, while larger naturally occurring areas may require the use of an insecticide. This process is known as larviciding, and while time consuming and labor intensive, it keeps larvae from becoming flying, biting mosquitoes.

  • Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) is applied in either liquid or granular form to areas of standing water with mosquito breeding. Bti, is a naturally occurring soil bacterium. The bacterium produces proteins in a crystalline form. When the mosquito larvae eat these crystals, the proteins attack their digestive system, killing the larvae. Bti has a highly specific mode of action, is of minimal environmental concern, and according to the U.S. EPA, “Bti has no toxicity to people.” Bti is quickly biodegraded and leaves no residue.
  • Bacillus sphaericus (Bs) is a common soil-inhabiting bacterium and is applied in either liquid or granular form to areas of standing water with mosquitoes breeding. The bacterium produces a protein toxin that may be used to control mosquito larvae. Bs is nontoxic to nontarget organisms.
  • Methoprene (Altosid) is an insect-growth regulator that is applied in liquid, granules, pellets, or briquets to areas of standing water with mosquito breeding. This material prevents mosquito larvae from emerging as viable adult mosquitoes.
  • Gambusia is a species of mosquito-eating fish. These fish are used to stock unmaintained pools and will reproduce and eat mosquito larvae continuously.

Storm drain treatment program

In 2006, due to an increasing number of mosquito breeding complaints related to storm drains, the County began treating storm drains with larvicide. Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, Bacillus sphaericus and Methoprene are used to control larvae in storm drains.

 

Adult mosquito control

These are the insecticides currently used in the County's adult mosquito control program:

  • Duet (Prallethrin 1% + Sumithrin 5%) is the only insecticide used in handheld sprayers.  It is also used in backpack and truck-mounted sprayers. 
  • Biomist 30+30 (Permethrin 30%) is used in backpack and truck-mounted sprayers. 
  • DeltAGard (Deltamethrin 2%) is also used in backpack and truck-mounted sprayers.
  • Zenivex (Etofenprox 4%) is used in backpack and truck-mounted sprayers. 

According to the EPA, these insecticides (which are known as pyrethroids) can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing unreasonable risks to human health, wildlife or the environment, when applied according to the label.  Rotating insecticides reduces the likelihood of insecticide resistance.

Dibrom Concentrate (naled) is an oil-based organic phosphate insecticide used solely for aerial application. It is highly effective in controlling adult mosquitoes. It can be somewhat irritating if droplets get onto the skin or in the eye.

 

Effectiveness and safety of insecticides

The insecticides used are known as contact sprays. As the name implies, the insecticide must contact the mosquito in order to eliminate it. The insecticides do not keep mosquitoes away or repel them from an area. Adult mosquitoes that migrate into an area after spraying are not eliminated, and it could appear that the spraying was ineffective.

The insecticides used to control mosquitoes are non-persistent, meaning they do not have a residual or lasting effect. They last only a short period of time, and they quickly biodegrade into harmless byproducts. All insecticides used are EPA registered, and used in strict accordance with label instructions.

Mosquito-related resources

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:35:21 PM
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