South Florida business kills off backyard mosquitoes as Zika virus cases rise

Mist creates mosquito-kill zone, barrier

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Steve Jenkins has been eradicating mosquitoes for 15 years, long before the Zika virus was in South Florida.

As president of SWAT Mosquito Services, his company is a pioneer in the industry, and thanks to Zika fears, business is booming.

"Last month was the busiest in the history of SWAT," Jenkins said.

The company installed 70 new systems last month. What was once a comfort business so residents can enjoy their backyards now has become something much different.

"People call us with different concerns now. Some have been for Zika. Like I said, we had a lot of installations last month based on the fear of Zika," Jenkins said.

Realtor Judy Zeder put one in her backyard to create a mosquito-kill zone and barrier. She is thrilled with the results.

"It has made a tremendous difference," Zeder said, adding that the system has killed about 98 percent of mosquitoes in her backyard.

"With the mosquito situation in Miami, we really felt it was important," Zeder said. "We have grandchildren and wanted to make sure they were protected when playing in the backyard."

An average system costs about $4,000 to install and an additional $1,500 for chemicals and maintenance. But people who install these systems said it is great piece of mind and they get a chance to take their backyard back.

Zeder calls her yard a manicured jungle because of its mature and lush landscaping. Now 120 nozzles keep it mosquito free.

"You have a tank, a motor, a pump. That pump pushes liquid through the lines to the nozzles. It will mist two to three times a day for 30 seconds," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the chemicals used are FDA-approved and are safe for humans and pets.

"All the products we use are made for residential misting systems. The main product we use is pyrethrum, which is a botanical chrysanthemum product," he said.

The tank needs to be refilled about every two months and the system is on a timer, but an app can be downloaded to control it.

"I have systems in the Caribbean that I can mist right now remotely," Jenkins said.