What We Use

SMAD strives to use pesticides that are targeted at mosquitoes - while not effecting non-targeted organisms - and are environmentally friendly. We have several pesticides in our arsenal that we use in mosquito abatement efforts. Each has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and its use is governed by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). A brief summary of the pesticides is provided below. For more detailed information, click on the links to read the Material Safety Data Sheet and label on each product.


Bacteria—The bulk of what SMAD uses for larval control is a biological based product: Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTI). BTI is a naturally occurring bacterium that produces a protein toxin. Feeding larvae ingest this this toxin that destroy the walls of their stomach. Larvae usually stop feeding within hours and die quickly.  BTI has been shown to a very targeted pesticide effecting only mosquito, black fly, and filter fly larvae.  It has very low toxicity to the environment, fish, pets, wildlife, and humans.

Growth Regulators—These chemicals are typically referred to as insect growth regulators or IGRs. The active ingredient in most IGR products is methoprene, which acts on the endocrine or hormone system and keeps larvae in an immature state. Insects treated with methoprene are unable to molt successfully to the adult stage and cannot reproduce normally. These products are specific for insects, have very low mammalian toxicity, are non-persistent in the environment, and cause death slowly.

Organophosphates—These insecticides are synaptic poisons affecting the nervous system.  The synapse is a junction between two nerves or a nerve connection point. Specifically, organophosphorus insecticides bind to an enzyme found in the synapse called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is designed to stop a nerve impulse after it has crossed the synapse. Organophosphorus insecticides bind to and prevent the enzyme from working. Therefore, poisoned synapses cannot stop the nerve impulse.  Poisoned insects exhibit tremors and uncoordinated movement.


Oils and Surfactants—Very refined oil or surfactants can be used to kill both larvae and pupae.  Using a backpack sprayer, technicians spray a thin film that quickly spreads over the water source.  The film reduces the surface tension of the water making it difficult for the mosquito larvae and pupae to attach to the surface for breathing; therefore, they drown.  These products are effective on all species of mosquitoes that breed in standing water and require the air/water interface in their life cycle.


Pyrethroids—These are synthetic chemicals whose structures mimic the natural insecticide pyrethrin. Pyrethrins are found in the flower heads of plants belonging to the family Compositae (i.e. chrysanthemums).  These insecticides have a unique ability to knock down insects quickly. Synthetic pyrethrins (also known as pyrethroids) have been chemically altered to make them more stable.  Pyrethroids are axonic poisons (they poison the nerve fiber). They bind to a protein in nerves called the voltage-gated sodium channel.  Normally, this protein opens causing stimulation of the nerve and closes to terminate the nerve signal.  Pyrethroids bind to this gate and prevent it from closing normally which results in continuous nerve stimulation.  This causes the control loss of their nervous system and are the ability to produce coordinated movement.