Frequently Asked Questions
Services & Programs
Why aren’t you spraying my road?
Rest assured; we spray all roads in Saginaw County. If you see a truck spraying a neighboring road, but they do not treat yours, that may be because your road is located on a different map which is being treated by a different technician. (Each township is broken up into multiple maps) This may also be the case for those resident’s located on a bordering road between two different townships. If you see a truck drive by at night without their sprayer on, they may be on their way to treat a different location.
How does SCMAC control larval and adult mosquitoes?
Products such as Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) are used to treat water in ponds, storm drains, ditches, etc., where mosquito larvae are found or may develop later. This is called larviciding or larva control.
Ultra Low Volume (ULV) sprays are used to help control adult mosquitoes. This is called adulticiding or adult control.
What do the planes do?
How often do the yellow trucks spray?
Truck spraying (adult control/adulticide) frequency, whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly depends on mosquito population or mosquito-borne disease. Spraying for adult mosquitoes only controls mosquitoes and disease present at the given time of spray and offers no residual control. Truck spray knocks-down the amount of nuisance or disease activity and may require frequent or occasional treatment. View treatment map
Why are the trucks so loud?
Each spray truck is equipped with units that blows the product out.
This unit is either a mechanical engine or electrical. The mechanical unit produces the loud distinctive sound heard treating ditches during the day or spraying for adult mosquitoes at night. The electrical unit is much quieter and only used for nighttime spraying.
When are you going to be spraying in my area?
If weather permits, we can treat the entire County of Saginaw in 7 to 10 business days. Where we spray is determined daily based on Biology trap count totals as well as resident complaint calls.
Why haven’t you been spraying?
Starting in Mid-May through September we spray every weeknight (and some weekends depending on population levels) from sunset to 1:30am and sometimes from 3:30am to sunrise if weather allows. You may have missed us during those late-night hours, but rest assured we are routinely spraying throughout your community!
Why are the mosquitoes so bad? Have you cut back on your services?
Weather and rainfall are a direct factor as to the number of mosquitoes you are experiencing. Heavy rainfalls produce large areas of mosquito breeding habitat, so when we have a wet summer, there are an abundance of mosquitoes. When we have a dry summer, that mosquito breeding habitat is minimal which means low mosquito populations. We have not cut back on our services. In fact, when the mosquitoes are bad, we add additional spray shifts, larviciding shifts, and even treat on the weekends, so our services increase compared to a typical summer.
Why are the mosquitoes bad in Saginaw but not in other counties?
This is a great question! Saginaw is unique in our landscape as well as our natural reserve and state land. We are in the Saginaw valley which means there is a lot of low-lying land that collects and holds standing water, the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Saginaw has a Wildlife Refuge located in the middle of our County which has vast mosquito breeding habitat that we cannot treat and is also true for our state game land.
Can you spray my yard? What time will you be there? Can you call me before you get there?
SCMAC offers priority yard sprays for residents who are having a party or large outdoor gathering, but this service is limited so it is important to request service as soon as possible. Treatment begins after sunset and residents are not guaranteed a treatment time. Unfortunately, we do not give a notice before arrival so it is best to fill out our Liability Release Form prior to your priority spray so technicians can follow your treatment request.
Why are you spraying in the middle of the day?
Mosquito Control does not spray (adult control) during daylight hours. If you see our trucks out during the day, that means we are treating standing water in ditches, catch basins, flooded fields, backyards, retention ponds, etc. While treating ditches, technicians are using the same motor that is utilized during night spraying to dispense the Bti pellets from their ditch wand into the standing water. It may sound like the spray unit is on, but no liquid spray is being dispensed.
Where can I drop off tires? When is your next tire drive?
Between the months of May – August, SCMAC will accept 10 tires per Saginaw County household at our facility located in the City of Saginaw during regular business hours (Please reference our website for tire drop off criteria). While we do not host tire drives, we do work with some local township offices and community clean up groups in collecting unwanted tires.
Why did they shut off the sprayer in front of my house?
There are several reasons why a truck may have turned off their spray unit while traveling past your home. The most common reason is that a resident was outside in their yard, walking down the street, or riding a bike. If we see people out while spraying, we will shut off our sprayer. Another possibility is that a No Spray resident is located nearby. Some citizens choose to forgo treatment for various reasons such as pesticide sensitivities or organic crops. Even if we turn off the sprayer for a short period of time, you will still receive the benefits of the surrounding community treatment.
How do I get the pellets to put in my water?
SCMAC passes out Bti granular product at our facility between the months of May – August during regular business hours. The amount of product given to residents is based on the acreage owned. When you pick up the product, a clerk will give you instructions on how to apply the product as well as provide a packet of information including the product label. Saginaw County residents can pick up product once a year.
Why didn’t I see fog coming out of the back of the truck?
SCMAC uses new spray products and electric spray units which produce a fine mist as opposed to a billowing fog like the older units may have in the past.
Why can’t I smell the product after you spray?
In years past our spray products had a very pungent odor, but recent years we have utilized an odorless permethrin product so you shouldn’t notice a smell.
You said you were treating my Township, but I didn’t hear you spraying.
Technology continues to advance and that is no exception when it comes to our spray units! Past units had a very loud motor that would alert residents of our presence, but new electric units are much quieter and produce a noise similar to the hum of vacuum.
How long is the millage for?
The millage is for a 20-year period beginning in 2022 and ending in 2041.
Mosquito control has been funded through a millage for over 45 years. To learn more click: MILLAGE
How much does the millage cost?
The rate is up to 1.0 mill ( or $1.00 per $1,000 of taxable valuation), calculated according to previous rate increases. This allows us to continue providing similar services with the anticipation of improved technology or regulatory changes.
Example: A home with a market value of around $100,000 with an assessed value of $50,000 would provide the following annual contribution for mosquito control at the rate of 1.0 mills:
Assessed value $ / $1000 x millage rate or 50,000/1000 x 1.0 = $50.00/year*
*This equates to $4.16 per month and is $1.50/month more than the current 0.64 mosquito millage.
To learn more click: MILLAGE
Is SCMAC moving?
Our current facility's location has suited our needs very well since our inception, providing us the means to test, calibrate and store our equipment and products. However, due to present and projected community improvements of the riverfront and its inevitable impact on our operations and accessibility, SCMAC is obliged to relocate. Our relocation will allow the Saginaw City School District to fully realize its vision for a new school to service the city. A new facility will allow our focus to remain on our services and their accessibility to county residents as expected, while also provide assurance for the next generation of responsible, effective, and accessible mosquito control.
Why should I fund a new building?
Update - June 20, 2023
The board has agreed to officially sell SCMAC's property to the Saginaw City School District. Any further questions about our relocation should please be directed to the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners.
What do I do with a dead blue jay or crow?
What do dead birds have to do with mosquitoes?
Birds carry certain diseases like West Nile virus (WNV). Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds and then transmit the disease to other birds, animals or people. Blue jays and crows usually die within 24 hours after contracting WNV. Therefore, these corvid birds are a good indicator of WNV activity.
Visit our prevention page for DIY tips
What can homeowners do around their own properties to reduce mosquitoes?
Homeowners can eliminate mosquito breeding sites on their property by periodically emptying water from sources such as buckets, tires, gutters, trash-cans etc. or keeping water clean in swimming pools, dog bowls, bird-baths, etc.
Why are mosquitoes controlled in the larval stage?
The most effective and economical way to control mosquitoes is to prevent them from emerging as biting adults. SCMAC prefers to use products with Bti, a bacteria found in nature.
What is the most effective protection against biting insects?
The most effective treatment is a repellent containing DEET, but there are other repellents available.
Cover your body with light colored clothing (long sleeves, long pants etc.) to make it harder for mosquitoes to bite.
The mosquito undergoes a complete metamorphosis: 1. Egg 2. Larva 3. Pupa 4. Adult
See the images at the top or watch the video below understand the mosquito's life cycle.
For more information about mosquitoes visit the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) Frequently Asked Question page for questions like "why do only females bite?"
Mosquito Life Cycle
4. Adult Female
Do all mosquitoes look the same?
Not at all. It is estimated that there are over 3000 species worldwide, about 200 in the USA, about 60 in Michigan and around 30 in Saginaw County.
Most are fairly tiny (1/4") but some species like the Ciliata found in Michigan can be up to an 1". The largest is the elephant mosquito Toxorhynchites (1.5"), also found the the southern United States. The largest tis the Australian Toxorhynchites speciosus.
Some species have very similar markings while some look very different like the Sabethes.
Males are identified by their fuzzy antennas.