Mosquito Up Close

Contributed by: Tim Best

Updated on: August 4, 2022

Mosquito sprays claim to help protect your yard and your family from the threat of mosquitoes. When it comes to mosquito yard treatment, homeowners might try to use products like hose-end sprayers, aerosols or foggers to treat their property and use them in and around mosquito resting sites, like tall grass, flower beds and standing water.

But does mosquito spray work? How fast does mosquito spray work? And are DIY sprays just as effective as professional treatments? The short answer is this: there are some sprays and repellents that are more effective than others, but in many cases, taking the DIY approach to mosquito control is ill-advised and best left to the professionals.

Related: Where Do Mosquitoes Live?

Read on to learn about the variety of mosquito sprays available and how to use them to achieve the best results when it comes to mosquito protection.

How does mosquito spray repellent work?

Choosing the right type of mosquito spray repellent is important to achieve effectiveness. When you spray a mosquito repellent on yourself or in your yard, you release an invisible cloud of ingredients that mosquitoes can detect. Many of these commercial repellents contain DEET, which though technically not a repellent, contains an active ingredient that confuses mosquitoes and makes it difficult to smell a human to bite.

Why you should use mosquito repellent

At the very least, mosquito bites are irritating. According to the CDC, mosquito bites are most commonly itchy and form either a raised, red bump or a hard, red bump on your skin. While these bites are annoying and can quickly spoil a summer BBQ, they aren't the only reason you should consider using repellent.

Some mosquitoes carry a variety of disease-causing pathogens, a few of which can be deadly. In the continental United States, one of the most common mosquito-borne diseases includes West Nile virus, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Like most residential and commercially available pest treatments, the pros and cons of mosquito spraying need to be carefully weighed. It's important to do your research to make an informed decision about the best mosquito product for your situation. Additionally, accurately following product labels is a necessity.

What you should know about yard spray for mosquitoes

It's important to know that mosquito sprays will usually only repel mosquitoes as opposed to killing them. But these sprays, depending on how effective they are, can potentially keep mosquitoes away from your yard for weeks.

mosquito control

Instead of repelling mosquitoes, Terminix uses a mosquito treatment product that kills mosquitoes. The mosquito spray we use begins working immediately to reduce mosquito populations in your yard while creating a barrier of protection that can last weeks. Mosquitoes bite humans and pets because they require protein found in blood to nourish their eggs. Hot, humid temperatures and standing water create an ideal environment where mosquitoes can thrive. Mosquitoes come out when the temperature rises above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means that, in most areas of the U.S., peak mosquito season lasts from the spring through the fall, which is when you should spray for mosquitoes.

Get started with mosquito control today.

How effective are mosquito sprays?

Mosquito sprays for your yard and for personal application vary in effectiveness, depending on the active ingredients and the concentration of ingredients that are present. Repellents containing DEET have been identified as being among the most common in helping to keep mosquitoes away, and are recommended by the CDC, along with other EPA-registered repellents.

When you spray mosquito repellent in your yard, its effectiveness also depends on a few other factors, like the weather, the environment you live in and if the spray was applied properly.

Does mosquito yard spray work?

Mosquito spray needs to be applied properly, in the right areas and in the right concentration. Although there are several commercially available mosquito yard sprays on the market, a knowledgeable mosquito control professional will be able to help determine the proper application for more effective results. Plus, a mosquito control professional can use their expertise to help identify potential breeding grounds and problem areas in your yard where mosquitoes thrive.

What can I spray in my yard for mosquitoes?

When shopping for repellents, the Cleveland Clinic recommends looking for EPA-registered products containing ingredients like DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon or eucalyptus. Remember, always check the labels for these active ingredients and read the manufacturer's instructions for use.

How fast does mosquito spray work?

Depending on the product used, mosquito repellent may start working as soon as it's sprayed onto your yard when used correctly. If you choose to take the DIY route to treating your yard for mosquitoes, be sure to follow label instructions. However, a professional mosquito control specialist may be able to better advise you on the most effective treatments for your yard.

Terminix's mosquito treatment service begins working immediately following application, and lasts for weeks.

Mosquito spray effectiveness for DIY or natural mosquito repellents

The most commonly used mosquito repellent sprays contain DEET. It is used by more than 50 million Americans each year for protection from mosquito bites, and it has been applied more than one billion times over the past 40 years.

Some essential oils have also been studied for their effectiveness in repelling mosquitoes. Oils like lemon eucalyptus can help to repel mosquitoes when mixed with water or a base oil like almond oil. Currently, there has been a shift towards using essential oils and plant-based extracts, however, the science behind usage of these extracts is ever-evolving. So, does DIY mosquito spray work? According to the Cleveland Clinic, using essential oils for mosquito repellent does not seem to be as effective as using substances such DEET.


Furthermore, DIY concoctions, such as homemade mosquito yard spray, can cause skin reactions on certain people if improperly mixed or applied. If you are making a natural mosquito repellent, you don't have official advisories to tell you how to apply it and what dosages are safe. Consumer-grade and professional-grade mosquito repellent sprays are labeled to ensure proper usage, however, enlisting the aid of a trained mosquito control professional may yield the best results in repelling these insects from your yard.

While a pest control specialist can help you determine the most effective way to treat your yard for mosquitoes, there are several ways to guard yourself and your family from mosquito bites without having to apply commercially available sprays to your body. The CDC recommends taking smart measures, such as covering strollers with mosquito netting, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants and using air conditioning when available to help prevent mosquito bites.

Mosquito spray effectiveness for consumer-grade sprays

Depending on the product, sprays available to homeowners can last up to a few hours or several days. It's a good idea to plan the application of these products based on when you'll be spending time outside in your yard.

Mosquito spray effectiveness for professional-grade sprays

Professional applications tend to last longer because licensed pest control specialists have expertise and access to professional-grade products and can administer them using a more effective method. In many instances, professional applications with microencapsulated formulations can last for a month before your protection begins to degrade. Furthermore, some mosquito sprays (like those used by Terminix) actually kill mosquitoes, as opposed to just repelling them.

Is mosquito spray harmful to humans or pets?

Some of the most common active ingredients in lawn, landscape, yard and garden insecticides have some level of toxicity, so you, your family and your pets should not enter the yard until after the spray has dried. Some DIY pesticides can also be toxic to honey bees and other pollinators, having an impact on crop production.

As for pets, the ASPCA advises against using mosquito repellents containing DEET on dogs and cats, as they can develop health problems due to sensitivities to this compound. There are, however, several pet-friendly mosquito products available today. When used according to the label instructions, they can help prevent mosquitoes from biting your pets.

While mosquito sprays do contain toxins that can be harmful to humans, the amount of toxins that may enter your bloodstream are very low. Most people tolerate these substances, although a few people may develop a slight skin rash or irritation.

The EPA recommends that repellents only be applied to exposed skin, taking care not to inhale the product or spray on skin that has a cut or previous irritation. Because kids often put their hands in their mouths or near their eyes, the EPA also cautions against applying mosquito repellent sprays on children's hands. Similarly, some products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on kids younger than the age of three.

Always strictly follow the label instructions on the product prior to using it to help ensure it is being used safely and that you allow enough time for the product to dry before you and your family can enjoy the outdoors.

Will mosquito spray work on fleas, ticks, ants, cockroaches or spiders?

Personal mosquito sprays that contain DEET may also work to repel fleas and ticks. That said, mosquito spray does not repel ants, cockroaches or spiders.

Terminix professional mosquito sprays are specially formulated to target and kill mosquitoes. Although a mosquito service may not get rid of other types of pests, Terminix does offer many types of pest control. Learn more about the ways we control the following pests:

Mosquito spray effectiveness applied on your skin

At the very least, mosquito bites cause itchy red welts, and at the worst, their bites can carry pathogens that cause diseases and viruses like West Nile.

That's why many opt for mosquito repellent sprays that are made specifically for use on your clothing and on your skin, so you are protected when camping, hiking or enjoying the outdoors. These repellents generally work by interfering with the female mosquito's ability to detect a host.

However, in extreme cases, mosquito spray can cause allergic or systemic reactions in some people. Before using any mosquito spray, it is important to carefully read the manufacturer's instructions printed on the packaging before you apply.

Tips for mosquito control

In addition to spraying your yard for mosquitoes, it's also a smart idea to use a few other techniques to help control mosquito populations:

  1. Trim areas of high grass. Mosquitoes like to hide in tall grass, so keep your yard trimmed.
  2. Get rid of standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water, so if you have places on your property where water pools (even areas as small as a bottle cap, as they only need that amount of water to lay a large amount of eggs), be sure to clean it up after it rains. Make sure areas around pools and gutters are dry, as well.
  3. Contact a professional. Professional mosquito control companies like Terminix can help most effectively eliminate mosquitoes. Learn other useful tips for getting rid of mosquitoes.

Should you use a professional mosquito control service?

For many, a mosquito spray service is the best option. Professionals know exactly how to apply mosquito spray to your yard, and they know what to look for when spotting mosquito infestations, including standing water and other trouble areas in your yard. They also have access to professional-grade products, which are going to be more effective than consumer products bought at the store.

Terminix mosquito control methods do more than just repel these pests. They can them, allowing you to enjoy warm weather outside without the worry of mosquitoes spoiling your fun.

At Terminix®, our team of mosquito control professionals can help curb your mosquito problem so you can enjoy your outdoor space. Contact us today to learn more about the Quick Guard mosquito services we offer.