mosquito spray safe for babies

Organic Mosquito Treatment Vs Natural Mosquito Treatment

What Do "Organic" or "Natural" Mean When We Are Talking About Professional Mosquito Control?

Organic Mosquito Control

The term “Organic” has a specific meaning in the U.S. as it is related to pesticides and crop inputs. This definition is linked to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).

Most important: only inputs used in the production of agricultural products can be called, “Organic”. – So therefore, Organic Mosquito Control, isn’t really a thing, according to the USDA definition.

I know, I know, some of you are shaking your heads. Please leave your heat in the comments section at the bottom of this post.

Now, the term “Natural”, what does it mean?

 

Natural Mosquito Control

Natural Mosquito Control does not have an officially sanctioned meaning. In this instance, it is up to each of the companies or people using this term to define what they mean by “Natural“. 

Organic mosquito repellent
Photo Credit: "Veggies" Andrea_44, 2010 via Flickr

Is There Such a Thing As Organic Mosquito Repellent?

According to the strict USDA definition of “Organic”: No, there is no Organic Mosquito Repellent. This is because the definition is tied to the intent for the use of the product, “to produce Organic agricultural products”.

“Organic” is a labeling term that denotes products produced under the authority of the Organic Foods Production Act.”

But it even goes deeper than that, pesticides, and other crop inputs, can not be “Organic”. Only agricultural products can be “Organic”. – (Agricultural in this sense applies to food, animals, textiles, wine, beer, & cosmetics).

In order for an input to be able to be used in the production of Organic agricultural products, it needs to pass a product review by one of the independent material review certifiers.

Among the most well known of these certifiers is OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute). The OMRI certification is an easy way for Organic agricultural producers to immediately know that the input they are considering is okay to use in Organic food production.

However it is not easy for the input to gain the OMRI certification. The review is thorough and exhaustive. If a product is OMRI certified it has been heavily scrutinized.

Whew… Yes, I know, that is a lot to digest. Now let’s talk about “Natural“.

Natural mosquito control
Grandma Lake Wetlands Wisconsin State Natural Area #305 Photo Credit: Joshua Mayer "Lake & Wetlands" 2016 via Flickr

Is There Such a Thing As Natural Mosquito Repellent?

Yes, there is such a thing as “Naturalmosquito control products for professionals.

The catch here is that there is no clear definition about what “Natural” means. In all instances, Natural mosquito control products need to be defined by the manufacturer and distributors of the product.

For example, with Stop The Bites!, when we say that we have the best Natural mosquito and tick control product – We mean that our product uses Natural essential oils to control the pests.

However other suppliers call their products, “Natural” even when it gets some of its efficacy from non-natural sources such as Piperonyl butoxide (PBO).

PBO is a synthetic (read non-Natural) synergist that inhibits specific metabolic enzymes within mosquitoes.

Their trick here is that these other suppliers claim they are still Natural because PBO is a synergist and not actually causing the activity of the product.

Since there is no national standard in the U.S. of what Natural means, they are allowed to advertise themselves as “Natural Mosquito Yard Treatments”.

 

all natural mosquito treatment
"Dedham to Flatford" Photo Credit: Karen Roe - 2011 via flickr

What Do Customers Want When They Ask for an "All Natural Mosquito Treatment" or "Organic Mosquito Lawn Treatment"?

Our customers are not likely to know the subtle differences between the definitions for “Organic” vs “Natural”.

A reasonable person would assume that a customer asking for Organic mosquito control or Natural mosquito control is basically asking for the same thing. Some kind of professional mosquito treatment that is based on “Non-synthetic” chemicals. Also to include other treatment strategies including source reduction, mosquito traps, & using natural larvicides when needed.

The terms that resonate most may vary from region to region. Here are the results of a google trends analysis.

It Will Not Surprise You That Searches For All Mosquito-Related Terms Are Seasonal

"Natural mosquito" Resonates With People Across the U.S.

Natural mosquito control
Map from Google Trends showing distribution of "Natural mosquito" from Nov 2018 - Dec 2020

"Organic mosquito" Is More Specific to California, Texas, Florida, & the Northeastern States (NY, PA, NJ, MA, CT, etc)

Organic mosquito control
Map from Google Trends showing distribution of "Organic mosquito" from Nov 2018 - Dec 2020

"Green mosquito" Is Popular With People On The Coasts

green mosquito control
Map from Google Trends showing distribution of "Green mosquito" from Nov 2018 - Dec 2020

"Essential oils mosquito" Seems to Only Work In Florida and Texas

Essential oils mosquito
Map from Google Trends showing distribution of "Essential oils mosquito" from Nov 2018 - Dec 2020

Conclusion:

Be careful with the terms you are using when advertising your Natural/Organic/Green/Eco-friendly mosquito service option.

Those terms can mean different things to different people. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions to your product suppliers about what is actually in their “Natural” formula.

How do you advertise your Natural offerings? Let me know in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “Organic Mosquito Treatment Vs Natural Mosquito Treatment”

  1. Excellent article and yes there is no clear understanding of natural or organic. Both often taken to mean the same. You have explained well the connection between organic and agriculture. There is yet a third point to the two you made on organic and natural. The third point and this may confuse everyone but its good to note is that synthetic pesticides are basic organic chemicals. They are organic too where chemistry is concerned.

    1. Thank you Raja – that is a great point, not to add too much more confusion.. but it just so happens the same word that has come to mean “Organic Food”, just so happens to be a branch of chemistry. Have you noticed how these terms are used or misused over time?

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