The demand for mosquito services has increased substantially over the last 5 years. While mosquito control franchises make up the bulk of the competition to PMPs, many regional and national companies are trying to get a piece of the mosquito control pie. According to a study conducted by PCT magazine, 70% of PMPs offered mosquito control in 2018, nearly double the percentage who offered mosquito control services just 5 years ago.
This increase is most likely due to two factors: increased precipitation across the United States and public concern over mosquito-borne diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus (WNV). Increased or excessive moisture during the winter and spring provides abundant habitat for mosquitos. More habitat means more places for them to live, develop, and reproduce, which leads to larger populations. As summer weather sets in and people begin to spend more time outdoors, their likelihood of being exposed to mosquitoes increases. According the Spring/Summer 2019 Bug Barometer released by the NPMA, increases in mosquito populations are expected in the Great Lakes region, Midwest, North Central, South Central, and Southeast regions.
This increase in mosquito activity means ample opportunity for PMPs, and those that have the technical knowledge, proper equipment, and trained staff will be able to capitalize. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selling a mosquito control service:
Inspection and identification is key. Countless calls to PMPs each year come from homeowners who believe they are on the receiving end of bug bites or stings. Some of these calls are legitimate, while others are due to other issues that cannot be resolved by a PMP. In many areas of the country mosquitoes are likely the culprit but it is important to conduct a proper inspection and accurately identify the pest. The cause of the bites may be due to bedbugs or fleas, or perhaps even carpet beetle larvae. It is important to rule these possibilities out. Incorrect identification can lead to treatments that don’t provide adequate results, leading to upset customers and callbacks.
Start with cultural and mechanical control methods. Eliminating sources of standing water is the best way to limit mosquito populations. If they have nowhere to lay eggs and no place for larvae to develop, they won’t be as much of a problem. Start with the following areas:
· Remove leaves and debris from gutters
· Empty stagnant water from flowerpots, birdbaths, tires, trashcans, and buckets
· Repair pipes or irrigation lines that are leaking
· Keep swimming pools and ponds properly treated
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as ½ inch of water, so even seemingly small sources can provide suitable habitat. Identifying these breeding sources will go a long way in reducing mosquitoes around homes.
Know your material. One common mistake when treating for mosquitoes is to only treat for adults. In any given insect population only a small percentage of the population are adults, with the bulk of the population in the juvenile stage. Using knockdown-only products, while good for providing some immediate relief, don’t attack mosquitoes in the larval/pupal stage, when they are most vulnerable. Products like OneGuard® Multi MoA Concentrate from MGK combine multiple active ingredients to attack juvenile and adult mosquitoes. OneGuard® combines a fast-acting knockdown agent along with a synergist to provide immediate relief from adult mosquitoes. A microcapped adulticide provides long-lasting control. Finally, NyGuard® IGR disrupts the development of juvenile mosquitoes. All of this is provided in a single concentrate, so there’s no need to measure and mix multiple products.