Mosquito sprays claim to help protect your yard and your family from the threat of mosquitoes. Homeowners are able 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? And are DIY sprays just as effective as professional treatments?

Mosquito Up Close

Related: Where Do Mosquitoes Live?

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

What you should know about yard spray for mosquitoes

Like most residential and commercially available pest treatments, mosquito spraying has both pros and cons. Mosquito spraying is essential if you want to help protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.

There are also 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.

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.

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.

Mosquito sprays only repel 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. 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.

How effective are mosquito sprays?

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

When you spray mosquito spray 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.

Consumer-grade sprays

In most cases, consumer-grade products aren't as effective as commercial-grade products. 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.

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.

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.

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 safely be in the yard.

Mosquito sprays applied on your skin

The most commonly used mosquito 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 citronella, lemon eucalyptus and tea tree can all 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.

Mosquito sprays for the yard

Mosquito sprays for the yard are ideal for use prior to a backyard event. Be sure to follow the label instructions for proper usage.

Does mosquito yard spray work?

Mosquito spray in your yard will work when it's applied properly, in the right areas and in the right concentration. Using poor quality materials or applying the sprays incorrectly can cause adverse reactions in addition to ineffectiveness.

What can I spray in my yard for mosquitoes?

When shopping for repellents, look for products containing ingredients like DEET, picaridin, metofluthrin, oil of lemon or eucalyptus. Always check the labels for these active ingredients and read the manufacturer's instructions for use.

How long does it take for mosquito spray to work?

Depending on the product used, mosquito repellent may start working as soon as it's sprayed onto your yard when used correctly. Be sure to follow label instructions. Use these products as soon as you notice the presence of mosquitoes on your property.

Tips for control

In addition to spraying your yard for mosquitoes, it's also a smart idea to use a few other techniques to 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.

Should you hire a professional?

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.

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 services we offer.