Getting mosquito bites while on vacation or enjoying the great outdoors is a part of nature, but getting bit in your own home or backyard can create unacceptably annoying situations, especially if you have kids and pets.
Mosquito bits are a natural and eco-friendly option for long-term mosquito control. By sprinkling them around your property, you can reduce — and over time, eliminate — the mosquito population living in the area.
They’re most effective when combined with other forms of mosquito repellants and control (such as eco-friendly mosquito spraying and mosquito pods), and can go a long way in protecting you and your family from mosquito bites during the spring and summer.
What Are Mosquito Bits?
While mosquito sprays can help you kill or repel these bloodsucking pests for a short while, the challenge with mosquitoes is that they keep coming back.
The key to long-term mosquito control is finding ways to reduce their population and prevent them from reproducing. That’s where mosquito bits can help.
Mosquito bits are small pellets that contain an active ingredient called Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI). BTI is a naturally-occurring bacterium found in soil that’s particularly effective at killing mosquito larvae.
The pellets work by dissolving in water and releasing a toxin that only affects mosquito larvae (as well as the larvae of fungus gnats and black flies). Just sprinkle mosquito bits in standing water or soil where mosquitoes breed, and the BTI starts killing the developing larvae within minutes.
Mosquito bits are a highly selective biopesticide that’s non-toxic to humans, plants, and other beneficial insects, making them a safe and eco-friendly form of mosquito control. You can find more information on mosquito bits and BTI on the EPA’s website.
By eliminating mosquito larvae from your property, mosquito bits prevent mosquitoes from growing into flying, biting adults. As a result, the mosquito population in the treated area gradually dwindles down — and so do the bites.
How to Use Mosquito Bits
Mosquito bits should be used on mosquito breeding sites in and around your property. These are usually in places where standing water collects, like ponds, pools, fountains, flowerpots and saucers, roof gutter, old tires, and plastic containers.
Sprinkle the mosquito bits evenly across the surface of standing water, using approximately 1 teaspoon of mosquito bits per 25 square feet of surface area or 1 tablespoon per 75 square feet of surface area.
When using mosquito bits, only a small amount is needed. For very small containers with only a few feet of surface area, just a few pellets is sufficient to kill all mosquito larvae living inside.
Apply mosquito bits every 7 days during peak mosquito season or when there’s a lot of standing water with settled organic matter.
If there are only few mosquito larvae in the water, you can lower the frequency of application to approximately once every 14 days.
Mosquito bits can also be used to control fungus gnats plaguing your houseplants.
To kill fungus gnat larvae, evenly sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of dry mosquito bits in small pots (less than 6” in diameter) or 1 tablespoon of mosquito bits in large pots (greater than 6” in diameter).
When you water the plants, the watering will release BTI from the mosquito bits into the soil, killing the fungus gnat larvae inside.
Do Mosquito Bits Work?
Yes, mosquito bits work when applied properly according to the product label instructions. The active ingredient, BTI, has been shown to highly effective at killing mosquito larvae and reducing overall mosquito populations.
One study that tested the field effectiveness of BTI against the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, found that a dosage of 8 grams in 1000 liters of water resulted in a mortality rate of mosquito larvae ranging from 77-100%, with significant residual larvicidal effects up to 7 weeks.
According to the CDC: “BTI is most effective when used as part of an integrated mosquito management plan for reducing the number of mosquitoes in an area.”
Mosquito Bits vs Mosquito Dunks
Mosquito bits and mosquito dunks are very similar products. Both use BTI as the active ingredient to effectively control and reduce the mosquito population in a given area by killing larvae in active mosquito breeding grounds.
The main difference between the two is their size and shape. Mosquito bits come in the form of small pellets, while mosquito dunks are larger and shaped like a donut.
Because mosquito bits are smaller than dunks, they dissolve faster when in contact with water, resulting in a faster release of BTI. On the other hand, the larger mosquito dunks are designed to dissolve slowly, releasing BTI over time for better long-term control.
Comparing the two, mosquito bits generally dissolve within 24 hours, while mosquito dunks last about 30 days.
We recommend using mosquito bits for small areas of standing water, such as flower pots, plant saucers, old tires, roof gutters, small fountains, and bird baths. They’re also effective for wet patches in grassy areas where water puddles tend to form during rainy seasons.
Mosquito dunks are generally recommended for larger areas of standing water, such as ponds, kiddie pools, and large fountains.
What to Do if You’re Still Getting Mosquito Bites
Don’t expect to stop getting bites immediately after sprinkling mosquito bits around your yard. Although the bits will kill most of the mosquito larvae in the area within 24 hours, it does not kill adult mosquitoes, which have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 weeks.
While you wait for the biting adult mosquitoes to die off, you can protect yourself from getting bit by using eco-friendly mosquito repellents or yard sprays (we made a list of them them in this article).
You might also opt for professional mosquito control services to help get rid of the existing mosquito population near your home.
At MMPC, we provide custom mosquito treatment programs for both residential and commercial properties that are effective and eco-friendly, including:
- Yard inspection and extermination services
- Eco-friendly fogging and ULV sprays
- Mosquito pod installation
- Full-service mosquito and tick control
If you’re suffering from mosquito bites or an infestation around your home or building in New York City or the Tri-State Area, call (212) 219-8218 or contact MMPC today!