Mastering The Swarm - The Power of ULV Fog for Flying Insect Control

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Date: 10th June 2024
Categories: Industry News, Barrettine

Mastering The Swarm - The Power of ULV Fog for Flying Insect Control

When faced with the need to control flying insects rapidly, ULV (Ultra Low Volume) fog is a powerful tool to ensure the issue is dealt with in a satisfying manner for both the professional pest controller and the customer.

ULV products are intended to be applied using specialised equipment that can produce the correct droplet size. When using a traditional fogger, the droplets created can vary in size up to 60µ, whereas a ULV device will reliably produce droplets in the range of 10-15µ which is the key to the efficacy and economy of this method. By using these smaller, more consistent droplets, less product can be used during treatment (a typical label will read along the lines of 10ml/100m3) meaning large spaces are able to be treated using comparatively small doses of insecticide – allowing a saving on cost for the technician without compromising the effectiveness of the treatment.

There are a variety of ULV products available, including solvent and water based traditional insecticide formulations or Barrettine Environmental Health’s unique physical control product Flymax ULV. All of these rely on the same delivery method – that being direct contact between the insect and the incredibly fine mist generated by the machine. When used indoors, there is essentially a “captive audience” for the fog - which will fill a large volume of space in a short time, leaving the target pests with no escape from the treatment. It is of course important to remember to seal the room as much as possible to achieve this effect, as well as to ensure that air currents do not disturb the fog from fully saturating the treatment area – which may greatly reduce the success of the activity.

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Another hugely beneficial attribute of this method is the enhanced residency time of the droplets in the air – their more uniform size and distribution means that they spend far longer as airborne particles than some of the larger droplets generated by traditional equipment. This obviously increases the likelihood of an insect receiving a lethal dose of the product being used, but also ensures complete coverage without needing to run continuously during the treatment.

The main drawback of formulations designed for ULV application is the ready to use (RTU) format – traditionally this may be seen as a negative – however when application rates are considered there is often a comparable cost per treatment versus concentrated formulations. Using Flymax ULV as an example – the cost to treat an average sized (17m2) room in a UK house is roughly 23p and uses approximately 4ml of product to fill the entire volume. Therefore, 1 litre of product will fully treat approximately of these 250 rooms. 

As climates around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world continue to change we are beginning to see more and more insects which have traditionally inhabited more tropical climates move north – resulting in events such as widespread spraying in Paris last year to control Asian Tiger Mosquitoes (which are aggressive day time biters and capable of communicating tropical diseases such as Dengue fever). There is a robust monitoring program in place for these species already, but much like the Asian hornet, it seems more and more likely that they may become established in the UK in the future if climate change trends persist. If this does indeed happen, the demand for ULV treatments will increase as the standard rapid control response for both indoor and outdoor areas.

Regardless of any future events – ULV technology is a convenient method of effectively controlling insects – which is worth considering when a rapid knockdown is required to clear an area without residual action. Offering a better economy and more efficient method of application – ULV fogging is an accessible and easy to use technology that can be a fantastic addition to the Professional Pest Control toolkit.

- James Phelps, Product Manager


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