Mosquitoes, Zika and bromeliads
Bromeliads make wonderful, low-maintenance plants for your Florida landscape. However, the water-holding "cups" at the center of these beautiful plants can provide breeding sites for mosquitoes, including those that can spread the Zika virus. There are several things you can do to reduce this problem.
The preferred recommendation is to remove the bromeliads, but that may not be practical for everyone. You can also apply Mosquito Bits (a bacteria that is specific for killing mosquito larvae) every seven days to the water "cups" of your bromeliads. Obviously this is a higher-maintenance solution but it allows you to continue to enjoy the beauty of your bromeliads.
For more information on the topic, including photos and other solutions, go to tbtim.es/bromeliad.
Be sure to walk around your home every few days and empty all containers holding even tiny amounts of water. We can all help reduce the mosquito population and prevent the spread of Zika.
Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/PinellasExtension.