Spray, Spray, Go Away

Author: Mosquito Squad of Greater Washington DC

Summertime and the livin’ is (slap!) easy.

Easier still when you can loaf (slap! slap!) outside at dusk, sniffing the freshly cut grass and admiring the new fish pond or watch over toddlers cavorting in the sprinkler.

Slap! Slap! Slap! Slap!

Man the torpedoes, get rid of the mosquitoes!

Now, with the help of a company that is finding a business in Burlington and Camden counties, you can almost eliminate flying critters like mosquitoes and ticks.

Give your bare ankles and your neck a fighting chance with the Mosquito Squad. Their bright green signs have been popping up on lawns in Moorestown and Haddonfield, where large trees and shady lawns combine to create a near-perfect habitat for the insects.

A spray application to kill both mosquitoes and ticks for up to three weeks costs $129 for the first application, then $75 for later visits. A full season of spraying, applied nine times at three-week intervals to a half-acre lot, will run about $500, plus tax, said George Softly, the director of sales and operations for the Mount Laurel-based franchised business.

The process includes barrier spray protection, administered from back-pack sprayers, with special attention to patios and decks and water features like pools, Softly said. The spray is effective for mosquitoes, and the larvae, for 21 days.

An all-natural application is effective for about two weeks, Softly said, and zaps both live mosquitoes and larvae.

“When applied properly, the pesticide isn’t dangerous to anyone. It’s safe for pets, although we ask that pets and children be kept out of the yard during the spraying. It takes 30 to 60 minutes to dry,” said Softly.

The spray, a mix of Pyrethroid and Cyfluthrin cannot be applied to water, and it can stymie the flowering of Crape Myrtle plants, according to a consumer information sheet. Otherwise, there are no negative effects.

The company also offers an all-natural mosquito and tick service, which is necessary if the lot to be sprayed is adjacent to an open waterway. That process has 14 days of effectiveness, said Softly, who previously worked in the mortgage field and then joined The Cleaning Company in Mount Laurel as a manager. The owner of The Cleaning Authority, Steven Pazienza, has the franchise for the Mosquito Squad in Burlington and Camden counties. This is the second summer for the Mosquito Squad locally.

Before beginning the spraying, the technicians, wearing garb mandated by the Department of Environmental Protection, walk through the property, tipping over containers that hold water, like empty planters. “A soda cap of water will hold 300 mosquito eggs,” said Softly.

The insects, he said, are most active at dawn and dusk. “They don’t much like the heat in the middle of the day, but they love shade and damp. That’s why most people get bitten while they’re sitting with their legs under a table,” he said.

The bugs, he said, are drawn to “things that smell. They’ll feed on nectar, berries, flowers and plants.”

Civilians cannot purchase the chemicals without a state license specific for the treatment of mosquitoes and ticks. Adapting a back-pack blower into a sprayer is not an easy task, he said.

The squad will spray a yard before an event like a barbecue or party. “We had good business for graduation parties and outdoor weddings,” said Softly.

While mosquitoes are a source, worldwide, for malaria, they can spread the West Nile virus and encephalitis in addition to being bothersome.