TAVARES — Outdoor activities such as swimming and grilling often come with the faint buzzing of one of the most annoying insects on the planet: the disease-carrying mosquito. National Mosquito Control Awareness Week is June 25 – July 1, and Lake County Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management, along with the American Mosquito Control Association, are reminding residents of the health risks associated with mosquitoes as they become active during the summer.
Mosquito populations appear to be relatively small this year due to lower rainfall during the winter and spring months, but Craig Scott, Lake County Mosquito & Aquatic Plant Management Program Manager, is not taking any chances. The county has acquired and modified a new grove blower, which is similar to an industrial sized leaf blower, emitting a spray of larvicide up to 100 feet targeting young mosquitoes.
“This process is geared toward Zika specifically and can be used in residential neighborhoods,” said Scott. “Previously, immature mosquitoes were treated with a backpack and truck-mounted sprayers, a time-consuming process making it difficult to treat large areas with little access. Now we can simply drive down the roads and blow a safe mist into the air, just as we do with the adulticide (which targets adult mosquitos).”
The chemicals being used have the same active ingredient as in previous years, but the county has upgraded to a time-released liquid form that can last between 30 and 60 days as opposed to just one week.
“It’s important to note, Lake County Mosquito Management takes special care in protecting the environment and takes all precautions to avoid affecting non-target insects such as bees and butterflies,” said Scott.
While Central Florida might have gotten off to a dry start, recent rains prove that it doesn’t take long to create perfect breeding grounds for Zika-carrying mosquitos. Mosquitoes require water to complete their life cycle, therefore if their water source is eliminated, so are their offspring.
Follow the “3 D’s” to adopt safe mosquito control in and around your property:
- Drain: Empty out water containers at least once per week
- Dress: Wear long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored, loose-fitting clothing
- Defend: Properly apply an approved repellent such as DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon-eucalyptus
Rain gutters, tree holes, buckets, and tires all make excellent spots for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. It is important to drain and cover these items on your own property and encourage neighbors to do so as well as part of a community-wide effort.