Feeling bugged? Attend the Mosquito Control Open House Friday, June 30th
As summer rains, high temperatures and humidity become the seasonal norm, Pinellas County is marking National Mosquito Control Awareness Week June 25 – July 1 with a crucial message to residents: breaking the mosquito cycle starts at home.
To help citizens learn more about how to prevent mosquito breeding, Pinellas County Mosquito Control will host an open house, Friday, June 30, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., at 4100 118th Ave. N., Clearwater.
The event will give citizens the opportunity to ask technicians questions and tour the Mosquito Control facilities, including the helicopter, lab, mosquito fish tanks and other technologies.
“Drain and cover,” said Rob Krueger, entomology and education support specialist at Pinellas County Mosquito Control. “Drain sources of standing water around your home or workplace and cover exposed skin with EPA-approved mosquito repellents.”
Mosquito Control is encouraging citizens to do their part to reduce the mosquito population with some simple steps:
- 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 conditioner drip areas, and around septic tanks and heat pumps.
- Take steps to eliminate standing water, improve drainage and prevent future puddling.
Technicians note that many local homes have items or areas that contain standing water – ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes – contributing to the mosquito problem. Mosquito larvae only need a fraction of an inch of standing water to survive.
Pinellas County is planning to host Tire Amnesty Days in the coming months to aid residents in the disposal of old tires, which can be breeding habitats for mosquitoes. Dates, locations and times will be announced soon.
Mosquito bites can irritate skin and potentially spread disease. Residents are urged to protect their skin from mosquito bites when outdoors by wearing mosquito repellent (products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus) and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants. These simple preventative measures can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in Pinellas County and minimize mosquito-borne diseases.
Technicians are aggressively treating known breeding areas by ground and by air, as well as responding to calls from citizens.
In 2016, Mosquito Control received over 4,000 service requests from Pinellas County residents and businesses – with an average response time of 24 hours or less.
For more information about Pinellas County Mosquito Control, visit www.pinellascounty.org/resident/mosquito_control.htm.