At Pinellas County Mosquito Control, the quest to eradicate as many of the pesky bugs as possible is an ongoing responsibility.
Scientists at the county believe that the focus on stopping the mosquitoes before they even grow into flying biting machines is the most effective means of control. To do so, they monitor and larvicide on a daily basis throughout the county, and fog in locations where it is specifically needed.
According to entomologist Jason Stuck, the county monitors mosquito populations daily through traps in 40 locations throughout the county. Technicians also monitor standing water for live mosquito larva Monday through Friday.
There are 56 caged chickens kept in eight target locations on which routine blood tests are performed, testing for virus antibodies. When a positive result is confirmed, the information is conveyed to the public and efforts are intensified in that area, with fogging to kill the adult mosquitoes.
Fogging may also be done when a trap shows an unusually high increase for several days, or if Mosquito Control receives numerous service calls in a specific area. A technician may then request that fogging be done, usually during nighttime hours.
The public is a vital part of the fight against mosquitoes and they can help by being vigilant in the prevention of and protection from mosquitoes by following the three Ds:
• Drain: even small amounts of standing water can breed mosquitoes
• Dress: light colors, loose fitting, long sleeves and pants
• Defend: effective repellents include Deet, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.