Communities seek to control adult mosquitoes to combat the outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases or a very heavy, nuisance infestation of mosquitoes. The pesticides that are registered for this use are known as adulticides. They are applied either by aircraft or on the ground employing truck-mounted sprayers, backpack and hand sprayers. State and local agencies commonly use the organophosphate insecticides malathion and naled and the synthetic pyrethroid insecticides prallethrin, etofenprox, pyrethrins, permethrin, resmethrin and sumithrin for adult mosquito control.
Mosquito adulticides are applied as ultra-low volume (ULV) sprays. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay aloft and kill flying mosquitoes on contact. ULV applications involve small quantities of pesticide active ingredient in relation to the size of the area treated, typically less than 3 ounces per acre, which minimizes exposure and risks to people and the environment.
Adulticides can be used for public health mosquito control programs without posing risks of concern to the general population or to the environment when applied according to the pesticide label.