The Ultimate Guide to Spraying Your Yard for Mosquitoes

Sarah Coggan
Written by Sarah Coggan
Updated May 12, 2022
A worker using a sprayer for mosquitoes in a yard
Photo: Bogdanhoda / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Mosquito sprays can repel or eliminate pests from your yard.

  • Sprays are safe to use and effective when applied correctly.

  • Mosquitoes carry viruses and diseases that harm people and pets.

  • Spray shady areas and eliminate standing water to control spawning.

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When you're outside enjoying your yard, the last thing you want to feel is the itchy sting of a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes are known for their ability to spawn quickly and in large numbers. Proper lawn maintenance and treatment can stop an infestation in its tracks. Here is what you need to know about spraying your yard for mosquitoes.

What Is Mosquito Yard Spray? 

The term mosquito spray encompasses several products that can eliminate pests, prevent spawning, and protect your skin from bites. While these products tend to contain similar active ingredients like N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (aka DEET), they vary depending on their use. 

A personal mosquito repellent is safe to apply to the skin, while a commercial-grade yard spray should not come in contact with your skin. 

Most of the yard sprays on the market are repellents, meaning they will drive mosquitoes away. Applying mosquito spray preventively before spawning season begins will deter pests from taking up residence in your yard. 

Mosquito pesticide comes in two forms, larvicide and adulticide. Larvicide kills eggs and larvae that spawn in standing water, and adulticide targets older mosquitoes. Their application depends on their type, as larvicides go into the water where breeding occurs. Pesticides will eliminate mosquitoes, but they will not prevent future spawns or pests.

Is Mosquito Spray Safe to Use?

A man mosquito spraying a yard
Photo: Biserka Stojanovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Most sprays available to consumers are safe to use, but you should still administer them with caution. Some of the chemicals used in mosquito spray can cause skin irritation, so it's best to allow your treatment to dry before touching the grass again. 

If you have respiratory concerns, it may be best to consult a local professional, as improper mosquito spray application can cause discomfort when breathing. For additional security, consult the EPA's repellent list to find an effective and safe-to-use treatment for your yard. 

Are There Natural Alternatives?

Some repellents are harmful to pets and other garden visitors like bees and ladybugs. Pet owners should be mindful of the ingredients in “natural” and DIY sprays. Ingredients like peppermint and tea tree oil are toxic to dogs, so use caution when choosing a mosquito repellent that is labeled “natural.” 

Why Should You Spray for Mosquitoes?

At the very least, mosquitoes can be unwanted guests that buzz around your outdoor get-together. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some mosquito species can carry viruses and parasites like West Nile virus, Dengue, and canine heartworms that can spread to you, your family, and even your pets. 

Eliminating mosquitoes and their breeding spots will reduce your risk of being bitten and contracting any related illness.

When Should You Spray Your Yard?

Knowing when to spray for mosquitoes can put you ahead of a possible infestation. Treating your yard before mosquito breeding season is the key to thwarting spawning before it even occurs. 

Time of Year

Mosquitoes are sensitive to cold weather and do not spawn when temperatures fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For much of the United States, spring ushers in the mosquito breeding season that lasts until fall. 

However, warmer regions like the Gulf Coast may experience spawning for most of the year. Keep track of the temperatures in your area so that you can spray your yard before the spawning season begins.

Time of Day

Ideally, you should spray your lawn with insecticide when the mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are far more active during dawn and dusk, making these the best times of day to treat your yard. 

Avoid spraying your yard when it is raining, going to rain, or recently rained. The chemicals will wash away and not stick to wet grass, resulting in the need for another application. 

How Do You DIY Mosquito Spraying? 

User-friendly handheld sprays are widely available at home improvement stores. These barrier sprays are great for localized infestations or smaller areas. Bigger bottles of mosquito spray will come with a nozzle that aids in application. 

Large lawns can be challenging to cover with handheld sprays, so you may want to purchase a backpack and pump. This method allows users to spread their product over the expanse of a yard without changing bottles. 

Alternatively, a mosquito misting system is an effective way of applying mosquito spray handsfree. These systems function like sprinklers and deliver a fine mist of mosquito repellent or insecticide to the surrounding grass.

Mosquito control specialists often use professional-grade chemicals and truck-mounted spraying systems. These are effective in dealing with large or heavily infested areas. 

Consider consulting a local mosquito control professional for a stronger treatment method. If you decide to hire out, know that professional pest control costs an average of $200 to $600, but it can be more effective than at-home solutions.

Where in Your Yard Should You Spray?

Mosquitoes thrive in dark and moist spaces. If you are spraying preventatively before an infestation has occurred, look for any areas that receive minimal sunlight. Tall grass, bushes, and full trees have ample space for mosquitoes to hide and avoid the sun. Additionally, any outdoor awning, shed, or garage will also attract pests. 

To eliminate a pressing infestation, you should spray the areas where you find mosquitoes congregating and the spots previously mentioned. Applying pesticides to shady spots without mosquitoes eliminates a potential hiding spot for any pests that remain once you've taken care of their typical hangout. It is always best to be proactive, even when dealing with a current infestation. 

Ways to Prevent Future Spawning

A good yard survey is the first step to keeping your yard mosquito-free. Consider all of the places that mosquitoes hide or spawn. Firstly, tackle their breeding ground and eliminate every puddle or pool of standing water. If you have a birdbath, you will need to change the water every few days, as mosquitoes take a little over a week to hatch.

High grass, heavy weeds, and shady spots attract mosquitoes. Trim tall grass and hanging leafy branches wherever you can. The fewer places a mosquito has to hide from the sun, the less likely it will hang around.

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