When the mosquitoes are keeping you indoors, preventing you from meeting friends and family for outside gatherings, you can count on insecticides to help. However, understanding the various types of insecticides available on the market today, and their effect on the body and the environment is important.

A mosquito attack can not only spoil nature’s relaxing effect on your mood, but it can also limit your enjoyment of outdoor activities such as camping, sports and gardening. Besides the pain and annoyance of being bit by mosquitoes, these little bugs can carry viruses such as West Nile Virus, which is a serious illness. Mosquitoes can also cause allergic reactions in certain individuals.

You can take control of frustrating mosquito situations with quality insecticides. There are two types of insecticides: organic and inorganic. Within these two categories, you will find a wide selection of mosquito fighting compounds that produce varying results.

Comprehensive List of Insecticides

Organic insecticides include carbon and should not always be considered better for the environment. Some organic insecticides are applied to your body to repel the insects on contact, while others are released into the air to repel or kill the insects from the surrounding area.

The common organic types of insecticides are the following:

  • Organochlorine (OC) – These insecticides are produced by combining an organic molecule with chlorine. The most well-known insecticide of today, DDT, is classified as an organochlorine and works by attacking the nerve cells of insects. Organochlorines are considered less than ideal for the environment because they are persistent and tend to linger in the area, some are alleged to last for years. Lindane and Chlrodane are two other organochlorine insecticides.
  • Organophosphates (OP) – These types of insecticides are a combination of an organic molecule and phosphates. They assault the insect’s nerve cells and are somewhat similar to the chemical agents of nerve warfare. Many are not recommended for residential use because of their long-lasting effects on plants and the surrounding wildlife.
  • Carbamates – These insecticides work in the same way as organophosphates but do not remain in the area for nearly as long, making them a better choice for the earth. Bendiocarbamate is a common type.
  • Pyrethrum – Found in nature, a product of the tropical chrysanthemum, this insecticidal chemical is very effective, even in small doses. It is often diluted and released through a fog machine to rid an entire backyard of mosquitoes. Although relatively expensive in natural form, this insecticide is favorable and potent.
  • Pyrethroids – A synthetic version of the natural insecticide pyrethrum, it mimics pyrethrum; however, it is significantly less toxic than other compounds. Pyrethroids are most often used in residential applications.
  • Inorganic insecticides commonly contain ingredients such as arsenic, lead, copper, and mercury. They are much less in use today due to the dangers they pose to the environment.

The common inorganic types of insecticides are the following:

  • Paris Green– This product was utilized in the past as an insecticide for protecting fruit against insect contamination. This chemical compound, containing copper and arsenate, is extremely toxic and used in fireworks as well as some paints.
  • Silica Gel – This product is found in certain insecticide dusts and works to suffocate pests. It is more commonly used for ticks, termites and mites, and can be combined with borates and pyrethroids/pyrethrins for added power and effectiveness.

Formulations and Applications

All types of insecticides need to be formulated into a useable, transportable material. Most often we think of insecticides in the form of bug spray or insect repellent lotion that is rubbed or applied directly onto the skin. However, there are other formulations available that can be much more effective in particular situations.
Foggers and misters work by spraying a diluted insecticide mixture into the air at a set rate of distribution. The rate is typically selected based on the surrounding population of pests and the size of the area disinfectant fogger machine

There are solid products available that can be placed in bird baths, ponds and puddles to destroy mosquito larvae, aiming directly at the root of the problem. They are generally non-toxic to humans and animals, and come in the form of floating pellets or heavier proportions that sink and dissolve.