Saturday, April 21, 2018
Opinion

With return of rainy season, Mosquito Control gears up for annual battle

After the long winter drought, the rainy season has finally kicked in to produce our daily thunderstorms. The resulting rainfall will help to create greener lawns and eventually fill our lakes and ponds. But these rains will also fill any container located on your property.

Containers such as buckets, tires, kiddie pools and tarps will breed mosquitoes if not emptied at least once a week. Take a walk around your property to search for any containers and empty them before they become a mosquito farm, producing hundreds of mosquitoes that will likely create mosquito problems for both you and your neighbors.

Approximately 45 mosquito species are found in Pasco County, each with their preferred habitat, such as containers, flooded fields, roadside ditches or salt marshes. The staff at Pasco County Mosquito Control District has engaged its arsenal of trucks and helicopters rigged with spraying equipment to keep the mosquito numbers in check. These efforts will continue throughout the summer and fall months, when we will change our focus to training, equipment overhaul and other activities.

During daytime hours, you will see our staff controlling mosquito larvae found in roadside ditches and flooded fields. Our staff has also been conducting walk-throughs, visiting each property in certain areas where we find high populations of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for transmitting the Zika virus. You might also see our orange helicopters treating mosquito larvae developing in the shallow bodies of water — or, during the evening hours, the night ultra-low volume spray trucks or planes treating the adult mosquitoes.

To stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business, we recommend the following:

• Drain: standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying.

• Discard: old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances, plastic swimming pools and other items that aren't being used.

• Empty and clean: birdbaths and pets' water bowls at least once or twice a week.

• Protect: boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don't accumulate water.

• Cover: your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent. In areas where mosquitoes are active, wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves. Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.

Visit our website at pascomosquito.org for more information.

Dennis Moore is director of the Pasco County Mosquito Control District. National Mosquito Control Awareness Week is June 25 to July 1.

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