Bees are among the most beneficial of insects, and studies indicate they are declining in alarming numbers. Without this essential pollinator many of our flowers, fruits and vegetables will be threatened. For that reason questions often arise regarding the effect mosquito spray has on these indispensable insects.
The South Lake Mosquito Abatement District
In order to promote outdoor comfort and help reduce the risk of mosquito borne disease, Highland Park, Deerfield, Bannockburn, Riverwoods, and Highwood receive services from the South Lake Mosquito Abatement District (SLMAD.org). The District uses naturally derived products formulated to meet both the rigors of EPA approval and the standards set by the Organic Material Review Institute (OMRI) for use in organic farming and gardening.
Using technology to reduce environmental impact, adult mosquito-control products are applied by the SMLAD contractor between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active and when non-target species like bees are not present.
A solution for standing water on your property
Residents with low spots on their property that hold water for more than 3 days can call the SMLAD hotline. They will come out and spray larvacide on the water to prevent mosquitoes from hatching. This service is free to residents of the District.
Spraying for mosquitoes while protecting bees
Residents may choose to augment the existing mosquito-control program with home-based mosquito treatments by hiring independent contractors or by spraying themselves.
Residents may choose to augment the Village-wide mosquito-control program by hiring independent contractors. Independent contractors often use “barrier treatments” that target mosquito-resting/harborage areas during the daytime, like brush and shrubbery, using a residual product. It’s important to know what chemicals the contractor is using.
Questions to ask an independent contractor
- What products are being used?
- How do the products affect the environment?
- Do the products affect bees and butterflies?
- How, when and where will the products be applied?
Most importantly, contractors should not apply mosquito treatments in the daytime to plants, bushes or trees that are in bloom. In addition, technicians should be trained to identify when bees are foraging and not apply the products at those times.
Village ordinances regulating temporary ground signs limit the installation of commercial signs by mosquito-spraying contractors. Signs put up on private property by such contractors can and will be confiscated by Village officials.
Do-it-yourself mosquito management
Products for do-it-yourself mosquito management are available at hardware stores, home improvement centers, and over the internet. Internet retailers are the best source for more natural products. In general, naturally based products are very effective but do not last as long and have to be re-applied more frequently.
The direction of the product cannot be controlled. Ideally, spray at dusk or dawn when mosquitoes are out and bees are in. All mosquito-control products can kill pollinators if applied while they are foraging.