ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With several days of rain behind us and more rainy days to come, chances are you’ll have an encounter with a mosquito or two. And if you live the Southeast region of the United States, where the weather is warm most of the year, like Central Florida, mosquitoes can bite throughout the day and night, according to Florida Department of Health.
Grass, shrubs and water are the perfect ingredients for mosquitos to multiply by the hundreds near your home.
“Most mosquitos have a life span of 30 to 45 days,” said Brandon Allen, owner of Mosquito Hunters Tampa Bay.
Allen provided several proactive tips you can use to prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your property.
Because mosquitoes lay their larvae in standing water, Allen said it’s essential to drain water from flower pots, gutters, pool covers or anything that can collect rainwater over time.
For example, your pet bowls should be dumped and washed regularly.
“You’ve got to scrub it as well because larvae will stick to that pet bowl dish,” Allen said. “If you don’t do it in three days, you’re going to have a mosquito problem.”
A female mosquito can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most larvae can stick to the walls of cups, bowls, tires and some can survive up to eight months even in cold weather.
To put a damper on their life cycle, Allen suggests getting rid of the food source. He said you can do this by limiting the amount of vegetation around your yard and cutting your lawn three inches or lower.
In 2014, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences research report found that there were at least 80 different species of mosquitoes throughout the state of Florida. However, there are only a few that feed on humans.
To keep yourself protected from mosquitoes that can transmit diseases, like Dengue Fever, West Nile or the Zika Virus, Dr. Eva Buckner, a medical entomology extension specialist at the Florida Medical Entomology Lab at UFIFAS suggests using specific repellants.
“I only recommend products that contain active ingredients that are registered by the EPA,” Dr. Buckner said. “Those active ingredients are going to be either DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR 3535, Picaridin and 2-undecanone.”
Dr. Buckner explained that you only have to look for one of those active ingredients on the label that you are purchasing, as well as a note that states it is registered by the EPA.
To see which mosquito repellent worked best, watch the video below.
Here are the phone numbers for mosquito control services in Tampa Bay area counties:
- Hillsborough: 813-635-5400
- Pinellas: 727-464-7503
- Pasco: 727-376-4568
- Manatee: 941-981-3895 OR 941-981-3896
- Polk: 863-534-7377
- Sarasota: 941-861-5000
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