Controlling Mosquitoes at the Larval Stage

Mosquito Larvae in Water

Oils and films disperse as a thin layer on the surface of the water which cause larvae and pupae to drown.

Larvicides target larvae in the breeding habitat before they can mature into adult mosquitoes and disperse.  Larvicide treatment of breeding habitats help reduce the adult mosquito population in nearby areas.

Liquid larvicide products are applied directly to water using backpack sprayers and truck or aircraft-mounted sprayers. Tablet, pellet, granular, and briquet formulations of larvicides are also applied by mosquito controllers to breeding areas.

While there are a number of registered active ingredients used in larvicides, below you will find information on more commonly used larvicides.

Bacterial Insecticides

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.Insects that are exposed to the Bacillus species have trouble digesting food they eat after the exposure. They then die of starvation.

Insect Growth Inhibitors

Organophosphate Insecticide

The organophosphate insecticides affect the nervous system of insects.

This pesticide is applied to standing water, shallow ponds, lakes, woodland pools, tidal waters, marshes, swamps, catch basins, and other areas where mosquitoes can breed. It is the only organophosphate with significant larvicidal use and is labeled only for use by public health officials, personnel of mosquito abatement districts or similar agencies or personnel under contract to those agencies.

When the registration review for temephos began in 2008 the registrant proposed canceling all uses.  However, due to the need for continued use for mosquito control, this use will not be canceled until December 30, 2015. We issued a registration review decision in September 2011 that summarizes the information about this review.

Other Materials

Oils and films disperse as a thin layer on the surface of the water which cause larvae and pupae to drown.

  • Mineral Oils
  • Monomolecular films