Breaking the mosquito cycle begins at home

Summer heat and rains are here, and Pinellas County Mosquito Control is aggressively treating known breeding areas by ground and air. But there are also plenty of steps citizens can take to break the mosquito cycle.
“It’s important for residents to remember the three D’s of mosquito prevention,” said Brian Lawton, program manager for Pinellas County Vegetation Management and Mosquito Control. “Dress wisely, defend with a good mosquito repellent and drain standing water.”
Pinellas County officials observed a recent uptick in saltmarsh mosquitos due to rains and higher tides causing uncommon flooding and better breeding conditions. Mosquito Control is treating them by fogging in hot spots based on surveillance. Citizens can do their part by dumping standing water and calling Mosquito Control at (727) 464-7503 or submitting a service request online if they see a problem.
“Saltmarsh mosquitos are a huge nuisance because they are aggressive biters, but they are not very worrisome as vectors of disease,” said Alissa Berro, Education Outreach Specialist for Pinellas County Mosquito Control. “
Here are other simple steps citizens can take to help control mosquito populations:

  • Empty water from any item that can hold water. Examples: flower pots, garbage cans, recycling containers, wheelbarrows, aluminum cans, boat tarps, old tires and buckets.
  • Flush birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
  • Flush ornamental bromeliads or treat with BTI, a biological larvicide available at home stores.
  • Clean roof gutters, which can become clogged and hold water.
  • Change the water in outdoor pet dishes regularly.
  • Keep pools and spas chlorinated and filtered.
  • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating fish.
  • Cover rain barrels with screening.
  • Check for standing water under houses, near plumbing drains, under air condition drip areas, around septic takes and heat pumps.
  • Take steps to eliminate standing water, improve drainage and prevent future puddling.

Mosquito bites can irritate skin and potentially spread disease. Citizens are urged to protect their skin from mosquito bites when outdoors by wearing mosquito repellent – products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon or eucalyptus and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants. For more information, visit Pinellas County Mosquito Control.