Mosquito Control

The City of Volga desires to control the spread of mosquitos to provide a safe outdoor environment for its residents and prevent the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV).

Why does the City of Volga spray for mosquitos?
Our mosquito control program limits harmful mosquitos that spread viruses like West Nile. Cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been reported in states across the continental United States. WNV activity typically occurs during the summer months and into the fall. The annual number of reported WNV disease cases can fluctuate widely, as a result of periodic epidemics. All residents of and visitors to areas where WNV activity has been identified are at risk of WNV infection, particularly people who engage in outdoor work and recreational activities.

Our city truck sprays low-concentration products in the air, reducing the number of harmful mosquitoes.

When does the City of Volga spray for mosquitos?
Our licensed and trained city employees monitor the population of harmful mosquitoes. Mosquitos are trapped and tested to view mosquito counts. We spray if enough harmful mosquitos are found.

Sign up for text alerts (coming soon) and follow our Facebook page so you know when we are planning to spray.

We spray at night when the mosquitoes are out, unless it is too cool, too windy, or raining. 

The products used in our sprays are specifically formulated for mosquito control purposes and have been proven to present low-risk to people, pets, and the environment. If you have a medical sensitivity or wish to avoid the truck, please sign up for text alerts (coming soon) and follow our Facebook page so that you can make personal decisions during our control efforts.

If you would like to opt-out of our mosquito control program near your property, please call city hall.  You may be required to state the methods you are using to control mosquitos on your property.  While we can attempt to meet your request, we cannot control the drift of the spray when spraying near neighboring properties. See the section below “How can residents control mosquitos?”

About the spray
We use safe, industry-tested products. We use the smallest amount of chemicals necessary. The active ingredients are less than a fraction of a raindrop per square foot. The Environmental Protection Agency evaluates sprays used to ensure they do not pose a risk to our community.

What other methods does the City use to control mosquitos?
We focus on habitat management and controlling the immature stages (larva) before the mosquitoes emerge as adults. This can reduce the need for widespread pesticide application (spraying).  This is done through the identification, mapping and treatment (larviciding) of potential mosquito breeding grounds such as standing water, tall slough grasses, wooded areas, storm sewer drains, and catch basins.  Bricks of Bti (Bti | Mosquitoes | CDC) are placed in these areas to control mosquito larva.  Bti is a bacteria that disrupts the mosquito life cycle.  It is completely non-toxic to humans, animals, birds, other insects, and the environment.  When the water dries up in these areas, so does the Bti brick, becoming active again when water collects.

How can residents control mosquitos?

  • The most important thing you can do on your property is to remove or treat all sources of standing water. This graphic shows common places to look for standing water.  Mosquitos need just a tablespoon or so to lay eggs and repeat their life cycle.
  • Some areas of water can’t be removed, or may serve as part of your landscaping. Things like ponds, rain barrels, bird baths, and kiddie pools can be treated with Bti (Bti | Mosquitoes | CDC).  This is a bacteria that disrupts the mosquito life cycle.  It is completely non-toxic to humans, animals, birds, other insects, and the environment. It is commercially sold by the name “Mosquito Dunks” and is available as chunks, ‘donuts’, and granules.  One quarter of a ‘donut’ is enough to treat a rain barrel.  The granules work well for small birdbaths and low spots around the yard that may collect water occasionally.
  • Consider adding landscape features that “move” the water. Birdbaths, ponds, and fountains can add “water wigglers”, drippers, and waterfalls that keep the water moving.  Mosquitos need still, stagnant water to complete their life cycle.  So, moving water or rinsing regularly can reduce breeding locations.
  • Homemade, or DIY, traps can be effective in luring the female mosquitos to the trap, and stopping the larvae from hatching.

Mosquito Bucket of Doom – Sidewalk Nature  This is a simple black bucket with some grass, water, and a Bti donut.  The grass (or hay or straw) starts fermenting in the water, creating Carbon Dioxide.  (This is what we naturally breathe out that attracts mosquitos to us)  The female mosquitos are attracted to the carbon dioxide and the dark bucket.  However, the larva can’t complete their cycle with the Bti donut in the water.  These instructions include a stick for any non-target critter to find their way out of the water.  However, please consider using a secure cover of hardware cloth to allow just the mosquitos and not any birds, frogs, or children.

  • Plants that naturally repel mosquitos can be added to your landscape or movable pots. These include rosemary, lemongrass, peppermint, sweet basil, marigolds, lavender, lemon balm, thyme, or catnip.  When adding these plants to your landscape, please consider only planting native plants.  Keeping the others restricted to pots will keep species like mint from taking over your flowerbeds.
  • Consider letting nature help you with the mosquito problem. Dragonflies, bats, and birds species like Purple Martins and Tree Swallows are all voracious insect-eaters.  A nesting pair of Tree Swallows will eat millions of mosquitos during their nesting season.  Dragonflies can be attracted with water features such as fountains, drippers, and ponds, as well as several native plant speciesBat houses can be built or purchased. 

Mosquito Diagram

IPM – Integrated Pest Management (from the EPA)

EPA and CDC encourage maximum adherence to integrated pest management (IPM). IPM is an ecologically based strategy that relies heavily on natural mortality factors and seeks out control tactics that are compatible with or disrupt these factors as little as possible. IPM uses pesticides, but only after systematic monitoring of pest populations indicates a need. Ideally, an IPM program considers all available control actions, including no action, and evaluates the interaction among various control practices, cultural practices, weather, and habitat structure. This approach thus uses a combination of resource management techniques to control mosquito populations with decisions based on surveillance. Fish and game specialists and natural resources biologists should be involved in planning control measures whenever delicate ecosystems could be impacted by mosquito control practices.

The underlying philosophy of mosquito control is based on the fact that the greatest control impact on mosquito populations will occur when they are concentrated, immobile and accessible. This emphasis focuses on habitat management and controlling the immature stages before the mosquitoes emerge as adults. This policy reduces the need for widespread pesticide application in urban areas.

EPA and CDC recommend that professional mosquito control organizations throughout the U.S. continue to use IPM strategies. 

IPM programs also rely heavily on resident education and pest monitoring.

A successful integrated mosquito control strategy includes several tactics to eliminate mosquitoes and their habitat. Four critical tactics include: 

  • Remove Mosquito Habitats
  • Use Structural Barriers
  • Control Mosquitoes at the Larval Stage
  • Control Adult Mosquitoes

Helpful Links

Mosquito Control | US EPA

  • Comprehensive info about mosquitoes, control programs, best practices, repellents, etc.

Bti for Mosquito Control | US EPA

  • No toxicity to humans, animals, insects, water, or environment.
  • Commercially available as “Mosquito Dunks” in brick, donut, or granule configurations.

Bti | Mosquitoes | CDC

  • More Bti info about safe mosquito control.

Mosquito Control: What You Need to Know About Bti

Mosquito Control & Protection | South Dakota Department of Health

  • Lists ways to maintain your yard and home to reduce mosquito breeding numbers.
  • Lists water sources to inspect and repair to reduce mosquito breeding numbers.
  • Lists links for pesticide and repellent information, and control associations.