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Mosquitoes - Commonly Used Pesticides

Pesticides used for Mosquito Control: 
Health and Environmental Effects


With the spread of West Nile virus, mosquito control efforts have been stepped up to reduce the numbers of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Although some areas have sprayed for nuisance mosquitoes over many years, the threat of West Nile virus has forced new communities to develop mosquito control plans.

Plans that include the use of pesticides take aim at the larval stage of mosquitoes with larvicides and target the adult mosquitoes with adulticides.

The EPA states that these chemicals, as used in public health mosquito control programs, will not pose "unreasonable risks to human health." However they add that "no pesticide can be considered 100 percent safe."1

In working with your mosquito control district to emphasize prevention of mosquito problems, you need to consider that the use of pesticides is likely. The resources below can offer a more detailed picture of the health and environmental risks of these pesticides.

Most of the resources below come from the following sources: 

  • EPA = Environmental Protection Agency
  • NCAP = Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesicides
  • NY = New York State Dept. of Health
  • NYC = New York City Dept. of Health



Bacillus sphaericus (Vectolex)


Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (B.t.i.) (Aquabac, Mosquito Dunks, Bti Dunks, Vectobac)


Methoprene (Altosid)



Monomolecular Films (Arosurf MSF, Agnique MMF)

Oils from petroleum distillates (Bonide, BVA2, and Golden Bear-1111, GB-1111)


Insecticide Related Illness from West Nile Virus Spray Programs 
Surveillance for Acute Insecticide-Related Illness Associated with Mosquito-Control Efforts: Nine States, 1999-2002 
MMWR Weekly 52(27):629-634 (July 11, 2003)







Piperonyl Butoxide (synergist used in products that contain pyrethrins, permethrin, resmethrin, sumithrin)


Pyrethrins / Pyrethrum (Aquahalt, some Pyrocide products)


Resmethrin (Scourge)


Sumithrin (Anvil)


1. EPA: Permethrin, Resmethrin, Sumithrin: Synthetic Pyrethroids For Mosquito Control (dated: April 17, 2002)    EPA: Larvicides for Mosquito Control (dated: April 11, 2007)    EPA: Malathion for Mosquito Control (dated: April 11, 2007)