When mosquitoes start swarming your property in full force during the summer, it makes sense to spray your yard with repellents or insecticides in order to protect your family from itchy bites and certain mosquito-borne diseases.
But wait! Many of the chemicals used in pesticides, such as DEET and permethrin are toxic by nature and can cause unintentional harm to animals.
As a responsible pet owner, you want to get rid of mosquitoes without risking your pet’s health and safety. So where do you start?
Active Ingredients to Avoid (Not Pet Safe)
Look for the active ingredient, which are the chemicals that are primarily responsible for killing, controlling, and repelling mosquitoes. You can find the names and concentrations of each active ingredient on the product label.
Be careful when buying or using mosquito sprays containing these active ingredients, which carry varying degrees of risk to the health and well-being of dogs and cats if they become exposed.
- Pyrethrin and Permethrin (especially if you have cats)
- Citrus oil derivatives (d-Limonene, linalool)
The chemicals above are commonly used in different mosquito killing and repellent sprays, and many have shown a high level of effectiveness at controlling mosquito populations (especially DEET).
But because of their toxicity, pets that accidentally ingest or come into contact with these chemicals may show signs of sensitivity or — in the worst case — pesticide poisoning.
You can minimize risks to your pet’s safety by:
- Carefully following product label instructions
- Selecting lower toxicity pesticides
- Minimizing the exposure your pet has to the pesticide during and after application
But accidents can still happen, usually as a result of poor planning or improper use.
If you’re concerned about this risk, which is true for most DIYers (and even some pest professionals), you might want to consider using what we call “minimum risk pesticides,” which are much more pet-friendly.
What Are Minimum Risk Pesticides?
Minimum risk pesticides contain ingredients that the EPA has determined “pose little to no risk to human health or the environment” (which includes pets). As a result, they are exempt from the requirement of being registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
In other words, these pesticides are generally considered eco-friendly and pet-safe.
Compared to the chemicals listed in the section above, the active ingredients used in minimum risk pesticides are generally a lot less toxic and pose a much lower risk to pets.
In order to qualify for this exemption, minimum risk pesticides contain active ingredients from a 1.5-page list of eligible active ingredients, which consist mostly of natural essential plant oils.
Popular Pet Safe Mosquito Yard Sprays
Here’s a list of commercial-available mosquito repellents and yard sprays that fall under the category of “minimum risk pesticides” and are generally safe for responsible pet owners to use.
- Vet’s Best (Active ingredients: peppermint oil, clove oil, sodium lauryl sulfate)
- Wondercide (Active ingredients: cedarwood oil, sesame oil, sodium lauryl sulfate)
- MDX Concepts (Active ingredients: sodium lauryl sulfate, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, spearmint oil)
- Eco Defense (Active ingredients: sodium lauryl sulfate, cinnamon oil, cedarwood oil, clove oil, peppermint oil)
- Colton’s Naturals (Active ingredients: garlic juice, cedarwood oil)
- Natural Chemistry (Active ingredients: cinnamon oil, cedarwood oil, clove oil)
- Mighty Mint (Active ingredients: peppermint oil)
- EcoRaider (Active ingredients: lemongrass oil, geraniol, peppermint oil, sodium lauryl sulfate)
- Mosquito Magician (Active ingredients: lemongrass oil, garlic oil, citronella oil, cedarwood oil, rosemary oil, geraniol)
- EcoGuard Plus (Active ingredients: cedarwood oil, 2-phenylethyl propionate, geraniol)
While dogs, cats, and other animals can have sensitivities or even adverse reactions to certain essential oils, the ones used in these minimum risk pesticides are diluted to safe levels.
However, you should always read the product label carefully and follow all safety instructions, which may require you to keep pets away from treated areas for a specified period of time.
What Do Pest Control Professionals Use?
In addition to spraying, we recommend and use an Integrated Pest Management approach, which means identifying and remedying the conditions that allowed mosquitoes to thrive in the first place. For example:
- Removing harborage areas
- Eliminating standing water
- Using mosquito dunks and mosquito pods to stop mosquitoes from breeding.
For more information about how MMPC can safely and effectively keep mosquitoes away from your property and your pets, contact us today!