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Do Mosquito Foggers Actually Work? Pros, Cons, Types, & FAQ

mold fogging

What do we usually do when there’s an annoying mosquito that wants to bite us? We kill them with our bare hands, of course! Or, when there’s more than one bloodsucker around, we use a repellant. But what if you’re dealing with a large infestation of mosquitoes? An everyday repellant from a local store won’t be able to keep it at bay.

Well, that’s when foggers come in! Designed for a single purpose—to free the area of mosquito presence—they are easy to use and come at an affordable price. But are these devices effective, though? How do they work? Which type will be best for your yard? The short answer is yes. You’ll find the answers to all those questions in our detailed guide!

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How Do Mosquito Foggers Work?

In the US, mosquitoes have been active since early spring and mostly stick to humid, shady areas. If you have a pool, pond, or even a barrel/canister full of water, best believe they’ll set up shop there. Now, it can be quite a challenge to battle hundreds, if not thousands of flying insects with a repellant or even a pesticide if you apply it by hand. When dealing with an alarmingly large mosquito population, you need to cover as much ground as possible.

That’s exactly what foggers specialize in. These devices are designed and manufactured to treat large areas. Essentially, a fogger is a device that converts liquid pesticide products into a fog. There’s no hard lifting on your part. All you have to do is buy the substance, put it into the machine, and give it some time to process it.

man fogging with disinfectant
Image Credit: triocean, Shutterstock

Are Mosquito Foggers Effective?

The short answer is yes; these machines are very good at killing mosquitoes. According to various research studies, mosquito foggers have an efficiency of up to 90%. More importantly, their impact is immediate: you won’t have to wait for days before the fog starts “evicting” the nasty bugs from your property. And how long can you expect the fog to keep you and your family members bite-free? On average, the effect lasts for 72 hours (but can go on for much longer).

But what are you supposed to do when the fog loses its efficiency and mosquitoes come back? The answer is simple: load the fogger up and repeat! While this might be a bit tiresome at first, it doesn’t take much effort to use the machine once in three days. Besides, you won’t have to crawl into tight, shady, and humid spots to kill the bugs with a repellant or an insecticide. One of the best things about mosquito foggers is their extended coverage and reach.

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What Are the Different Types of Mosquito Foggers?

All fogging machines work by turning pesticides that come in a liquid form into mist thus boosting their efficiency. With that said, there are four different types of mosquito foggers on the market. They all have their pros, cons, and best applications.

Here’s a quick look at the thermal, electric, cold, and stationary machines:
  • Thermal Foggers – These devices rely solely on propane to convert liquid into fog. That fog, in turn, consists of thousands of large droplets. Thermal foggers are an excellent choice for bigger-than-average areas as the mist droplets linger in the air and kill all mosquitoes in the vicinity. The one thing to remember before firing the fogger up is to get a big enough propane canister. These units are highly mobile and don’t have to be plugged into anything.
  • Electric Foggers – Visually, electric foggers are very similar to their thermal siblings and are just as effective. But this time around, instead of using propane, it needs electricity to power the engine that pushes the liquid towards the heater in the nozzle. Without that heater, the chemicals won’t turn into a mist. The biggest downside of electric foggers is that they won’t work without electricity. Plus, the cord needs to be long enough to reach faraway spots.
  • Cold Foggers – This time around, the liquid is transformed into fog using air pressure. The chemical droplets, in turn, are smaller compared to what you get with thermal and electric foggers. That means cold foggers are best suited for relatively smaller areas. In addition, cold foggers are safe to use indoors. Make sure your kids and domestic animals are nowhere near the room for at least 20–30 minutes after using the fogger.
  • Stationary foggers – If you’re not a fan of manual fogging, consider using a stationary machine instead. They spray the solution around and deal with mosquitoes that way. Stationary units aren’t as efficient, however, and take more effort to move. On top of that, they are quite loud, which can cause problems with your neighbors.

Where Is It Used?

Mosquito foggers are a quick, clean, and impactful solution to your bug infestation problem. And, they excel at eradicating large areas taken over by the bloodsuckers. That’s why they’re often recommended for outdoor areas, specifically the spots with standing water where these insects like to breed. The only way to deal with that is to use high volumes of insecticide. That’s what makes foggers a go-to pick for such a scenario. Flowers, tall grass, and drain pipes should also be treated.

In contrast to a liquid solution, the fog easily penetrates the farthest and darkest corners and “flushes out” all the bugs. So, can such a device be used inside of a house? If it’s a cold fogger, then yes, you can absolutely do that. Now, you might buy an indoor fogger instead but do keep in mind that these “bug bombs” aren’t very effective. In contrast to cold foggers, they do a very poor job of squeezing into cabinets, floor cracks, and other areas where insects tend to congregate.

Advantages of Mosquito Foggers

  • Relatively affordable. You won’t have to spend half of your salary on such a device: a decent-quality fogger costs $250–300. While that’s not cheap per se, these machines do have an extended lifespan. Plus, you can always try and rent it out to some neighbors or even a company that specializes in pest control.
  • Non-toxic to humans and pets. The vast majority of fogging products on the market are safe for humans and animals. But if it’s a chemical solution, make sure to wear a mask and protect your skin while using a mosquito fogger.
  • Very easy to use. Mosquito foggers look pretty cool, almost like they belong to one of the “Ghostbusters” characters. More importantly, they’re very user-friendly. You don’t need to be a licensed exterminator to be able to use it. Oh, and, most machines come with detailed instructions to get you started.
  • Quick results. If you’re having people over tomorrow for a barbeque party and mosquitoes have taken over your backyard, foggers will save the day. These devices take almost no time to create a mosquito-free space. True, you might be able to achieve the same result indoors or in a tiny space with a repellent, candles, or LED lights. But outdoors, foggers are the only quick remedy against bugs.
  • Protect against diseases. Mosquitoes are known to spread dangerous diseases like Zika and the West Nile virus, to name a few. By killing the adult bugs, you won’t have to worry about getting bitten.
Image By: FotoshopTofs, Pixabay

Disadvantages of a Mosquito Foggers

  • The effect is only temporary. No matter how advanced the fogging machine is, its effect will wear off in 48–72 hours. Now, that’s more than enough time to have a family meal, pool party, or play with the kids. Still, a fogger won’t be able to root out the mosquito problem once and for all.
  • You can get exposed. If you’re not careful and forget to put gloves or a mask on, you might catch some of that insecticide. The side effects include fatigue, nausea, headache, swelling, and respiratory problems. Even if it’s an all-natural insecticide (like clove extract), you could be allergic to it.
  • Dangerous for other insects. Pesticides don’t really differentiate between “bad” and “good” bugs. They can kill all the other bugs in the area as well, like butterflies and fireflies. Birds, frogs, and fish will also be in danger. To avoid that, only use the fogger early in the morning or in the evening or charge the machine with a regular repellant.
  • Weak against weather elements. Mosquito-repelling fog can’t survive exposure to direct sunlight or water. So, if it’s a hot day outside or it rains a lot, the mist will rapidly lose its effectiveness. Even if you accidentally activate the sprinklers in the yard, that will also have a negative effect on its “performance”.
  • Not effective against eggs. Foggers do a decent job of killing adult mosquitoes. Sadly, they perform poorly against larvae or pupa. For that, you’ll need a larvicide. Therefore, if you’re more concerned with killing eggs that are about to hatch, a fogger machine won’t be of much use.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does the Fog Last?

The average fogging machine will keep the area bug-free for 72 hours. And if you use a premium-quality chemical and apply it generously, it might keep the mosquitoes away for a lot longer. We’re talking about 1–2 weeks, or even more. The weather will have a big say in this, though. The hotter and more humid it is, the quicker the mist will disperse. Rain will be an even bigger problem.

What’s the Best Chemical for a Fogger?

There are four types of insecticides that you can use against mosquitoes:

  • Highly effective against adult bugs. This solution has been around since the 50s. Also called the malathion, it’s often used to control large mosquito swarms.
  • The “big brother” to adulticide. It’s much stronger and can kill fish, birds, and other insects.
  • An all-natural product. By targeting the nervous system of the bugs, it kills them faster and more efficiently.
  • This is the synthetic alternative to pyrethrin. It’s just as lethal for mosquitoes yet lingers for longer.


man fogging with disinfectant
Image By: triocean, Shutterstock

Is the Machine Hard to Operate?

As mentioned in the “Advantages” section, there’s nothing hard about using a mosquito fogger. Assembly takes 5–10 minutes max; some units arrive pre-assembled. And how do you secure it on your back? Use the included straps for that. Finally, pour the liquid insecticide into the tank, close the lid, and spray. You can, of course, pay someone to do all the work, but the company/contractor will charge a lot.

When to Use a Mosquito Fogger When Not to Use a Mosquito Fogger
You’re looking for a quick, clean remedy You’ll only settle for long-lasting results
There’s a large group of bugs in the yard The mosquito infestation is rather small
It’s a swarm of adult mosquitos You need to eliminate mosquito eggs
Anti-disease protection is a top priority You don’t want to kill the good bugs

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A mosquito fogger isn’t a “one-pill-to-cure-all” type of device: it does have its fair share of cons along with pros. It is, however, quite effective as a mosquito deterrent. As long as you choose the right type and chemicals, your efforts will be well worth it. The key here is to not rush yourself but rather take it slowly and prepare for the job.

And remember: mosquito foggers are only good for scaring mosquitoes away for a short time. Don’t expect these machines to make the backyard bug-free or to kill the eggs. This is especially true for large areas with standing water. On the bright side, if you’re in the market for a fast solution, foggers will have your back!

Featured Image Credit: Song Pin, Shutterstock


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