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Mosquito Control Offers Tips For Dealing With Insects This Summer

Jun 25, 2019

They’re quick, they’re noisy, and they’re out to suck your blood this summer.

As the weather heats up and Florida grows increasingly muggy, mosquitos are coming out in swarms.

National Mosquito Control Awareness week is June 23-29, and Pinellas County Mosquito Control officials want people to be aware of how they can help curb the insect population.

Education Outreach Specialist Alissa Berro said it’s important people check their yard for any standing water.

“Make sure you go around your yard and figure out any place that mosquitos could be breeding in standing water,” Berro said. “Flower parts, children’s toys, there’s a lot of different options. Make sure you dump out the water once a week, because that will cut down on the cycle of mosquitos.”

Becky Bohinc, Epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health, encourages taking precautions that ward off mosquitos throughout the day.

“Wear mosquito repellent any time you're outside. Certain mosquitos like to bite at dawn and dusk, but there are others that also bite during the day. So it's important you wear that at all times, and if you can, wear long sleeve clothing,” she said.

Bohinc adds that those who prefer not to use mosquito repellent with chemicals in it can try oil of lemon eucalyptis.

Entomologist Jason Struck poses with one of the chickens used in testing for mosquito-transmitted viruses.
Credit Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media

Pinellas County Mosquito Control uses chickens to test for viruses transmitted by mosquitos. Entomologist Jason Struck said mosquitos spread viruses to the bird population before humans, so it’s important to catch them early.

Struck said there are eight flocks of chickens around the county with seven chickens per flock.

“Every week, we test the chicken’s blood for signs of Saint Louis encephalitis, West Nile virus, and Eastern equine encephalitis,” he said.

Residents who live in Pinellas County and have a particularly bad mosquito problem can call Mosquito Control. They’ll come to people's houses, assess the problem for free and maybe even hand out some Gambusia fish, which eat mosquitos. 

Gambusia fish are used by the county as a natural way to reduce the mosquito population.
Credit Carrie Pinkard / WUSF Public Media