Do's & Don'ts of DIY Mosquito Foggers & Alternative Solutions

Mosquito foggers can get rid of pests quickly, but they have drawbacks. Here's how to use them safely, plus safer solutions.

Updated July 19, 2023
Lawnmower mosquito fogger

Mosquito foggers have been considered effective methods for killing pests since their creation in the early 1940s. However, many eco-conscious folks question the safety of these bug bombs in present day. After all, making poison airborne seems like something that might bring some health impacts.

For those individuals wondering about the best ways to rid their outdoor spaces of the blood-sucking vampires that appear every spring and summer, we detail what mosquito remedies are safe and whether you can DIY mosquito foggers to save money and time.

What Is a Mosquito Fogger?

A mosquito fogger is a machine that disperses an aerosol form of insecticide into the air to help rid the space of mosquitoes. This is considered an effective short-term solution for killing adult mosquitoes. However, it doesn't kill the eggs or larvae. Due to this, treatments must be administered every two weeks.

Types of Mosquito Foggers

There are two main types of mosquito foggers: thermal and cold foggers. Thermal foggers can be electric or gas. They use heat to vaporize the fogging liquid, which is then dispersed in the air. Conversely, cold foggers use air pressure to dispense tiny particles of the insecticide throughout the applied spaces. Both are considered safe options, but thermal foggers should only be used outdoors due to their increased fire risk.

Mosquito Foggers: How to Ensure Safety

mosquito fogging

Mosquito foggers are considered safe when the right precautions are taken to apply the chemical fog to your outdoor space. Here is what you need to know if you want to use a mosquito fogger safely.

Do Not Use Homemade Mosquito Foggers

Homemade mosquito foggers are NOT considered a safe option. Despite what people may claim, you should never try to DIY mosquito foggers. They can endanger the person applying the treatment as well as those around them. Instead, invest in a professionally made mosquito fogger machine or hire a professional.

Research Your Chemicals & Consider Your Neighbors

Mosquito foggers use an array of chemicals to kill airborne pests. When choosing a product, it's important to consider your specific situation. Some chemicals aren't safe for pets and children. Others can render food grown in outdoor gardens unsafe to eat. Thus, think about your household as well as the homes around you. If the chemicals could harm your family, your neighbors, and animals and plants that reside in the area, consider using a different insecticide or an alternate mosquito solution altogether.

Need to Know

Resmethrin and Permethrin are both recommended insecticides for adult mosquitos. However, they can cause serious illness and even death in cats. Permethrin is also toxic to fish. Thus, if you have feline friends or if you have a koi pond or lake nearby, these chemicals should not be used.

Wear Protective Clothing and Gear

When applying aerosol chemicals, it is imperative that you wear the right gear. Long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes are an ideal choice as you don't know how these substances will impact your skin. Protective goggles and respirator masks are also very important for your safety. Additionally, always have pets and people go inside while you administer the treatment and wait the recommended amount of time listed on the chemical's bottle before coming back out.

Keep Your Mosquito Fogger Level

No matter which type of fogger or mister you invest in, it's important to keep your fogger horizontal with the ground when you are applying the treatment. This helps to prevent you from inadvertently inhaling the chemicals, and it makes certain that the machine works correctly.

Read Your Instruction Manual Cover to Cover

Instructions are written for a reason. They make sure that the machine does its job and that you stay safe while using it. Read the user's manual to determine how to use a mosquito fogger before you start fogging. This goes for your insecticide as well.

Avoid Mosquito Fogging on Windy Days

Calm conditions are important for mosquito fogging and misting. This ensures that the aerosol stays in the area of application. Why is this important? Wind can quickly transport these chemicals to your neighbors' yards or to the street where kids are playing or people are passing by. By avoiding windy days, you can better guarantee that those around you will stay safe and that your treatment will actually be effective.

Need to Know: Mosquito Fogger Chemicals Kill Our World's Pollinators

dead bees

Turns out that cats and fish are not the only ones who have to watch out for insecticides. Bees and butterflies will also die from the exposure to these chemical residues. YES, residues. This means that even if none of these pollinators are nearby while you spray, they can still die from landing on a spot where the chemical landed.

Therefore, unless you have a major mosquito problem or mosquito-borne illnesses being reported in your region, it is best to try alternate mosquito solutions before jumping straight to fogging.

Alternate Solutions: How to Rid Mosquitos From Your Outdoor Space

Mosquito foggers are temporary solutions. If you truly want to rid your outdoor space of these blood-sucking vampires, then other steps need to be taken to prevent eggs from being laid on your property. Here is what you need to know.

Remove Standing Water Sources

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water. This means that homeowners should remove as much standing water in their yards as possible. This can easily be done by:

  • Bringing in children's toys, wagons, wheelbarrows, empty pots and saucers, bird baths, and any other items that can collect water
  • Filling in low-lying areas in your yard
  • Installing rain gutters to route water away from your home
  • Keeping rain gutters clear of leaves and debris
  • Setting up rain catchments with a lid

Tend to Your Lawn Regularly

Mosquitos love shade and humidity, which means that any tall grass on your property needs to go. Mowing regularly won't eliminate an existing mosquito problem, but it can prevent it from spreading. Keeping trees, shrubs, and other vegetation trimmed is another great way to prevent your yard from becoming a mosquito metropolis.

Keep Your Pool Chemicals in Check

Chlorine is your best friend when it comes to keeping mosquito eggs out of your pool. Female mosquitos are attracted to natural water sources, so as long as you keep your pool chemicals in check, they will not choose your pool and spa as their breeding ground.

Plant Natural Mosquito Repellents

planting marigolds

Did you know that marigolds, peppermint, lantanas, and sage are all natural mosquito repellents? By choosing the right vegetation for your landscape, you can naturally keep mosquitos at bay! Cedar wood chips are another fantastic choice for your gardens that keep the ground cooler, retain moisture in the soil, and prevent mosquitoes from setting up shop!

Spray a Garlic Solution on Your Lawn

Garlic is another wonderful insect deterrent that's easy to apply! All you have to do is take a quarter of a pound of peeled garlic cloves and throw them in a blender until the mixture is smooth.

Then, put the mixture in a small jar. Place a piece of cheesecloth over the top of the container and slowly pour the mixture through it to strain out the bits of garlic. The garlic juice can then be put in a spray bottle and applied to areas where mosquitos tend to congregate. Just allow 24 hours for the spray to dry.

Need to Know

Dogs and garlic do not mix, so this is not an ideal solution for pet owners.

Use Natural Insecticides

Wondercide is a spectacular company that creates pest control products that are free of harsh chemicals. Their Mosquito Spray is made with natural essential oils like cedarwood and sesame. This natural remedy kills mosquito on contact, repels them long after you spray, and it even keeps the bees and the butterflies safe! Did I also mention that it is safe for vegetable and fruit gardens?

Need to Know

Wondercide Mosquito Spray is something my family uses every single spring and summer. With young children and pets, it's nice to have an effective natural solution. You spray it on with a garden hose, give it 20 minutes to soak in, and then everyone can safely go play! Best of all, it also kills and repels fleas, ticks, and ants!

Mosquito Foggers Are Best for Large Spaces

Mosquito foggers are a great option for large outdoor spaces, but if you're just looking to handle the swarms in your front and backyard, there are other ways to keep these flying pests away. These can be safer options for you and those who live around you. However, when mosquito-borne illnesses are popping up in your area, eliminating the mosquito population is paramount to the community's safety. Therefore, consider the severity of the infestation and weigh the pros and cons.

Finally, no matter which method you choose, when you spray matters. Applying natural and chemical insecticides at dawn and dusk will eliminate the highest number of mosquitos, because this is when they are most active. Also, focus your attention on shaded areas, as this is where the humidity is normally the highest.

Do's & Don'ts of DIY Mosquito Foggers & Alternative Solutions