Summer Heat + Rain = More Mosquitoes

Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI
Executive Director, Collier Mosquito Control District

Mosquitoes like it hot, and Collier County has plenty of hot during the summer months. As temperatures (and rains) increase, so does the potential for mosquitoes to bite and to possibly transmit disease.

Thank goodness they cannot carry the COVID-19 virus, but the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit other diseases including Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika. Additionally, the culex  quinquefasciatus  mosquito is able to transmit West Nile Fever.

While the Collier Mosquito Control District follows the best practices of integrated mosquito management – including trapping and testing mosquitoes to protect the public against the threat of disease – there are a few simple, preventative steps residents can take.

Protect yourself with the 5 Ds
Prevention is the ultimate key when it comes to avoiding mosquito bites. That’s why the District always reminds residents to follow the “5 Ds” of mosquito control:

DRAIN – This action cannot be emphasized often enough. Now is the time to get into the habit of emptying containers of  standing water once a week. It could noticeably decrease mosquitoes around your property. Mosquitoes deposit their eggs
in still, standing water and in a brief 5–7 days later, those eggs are adult mosquitoes. Just one bottlecap of water can produce about 100 mosquitoes in one week! If draining the water isn’t an option, we recommend adding Mosquito Bits to the water, which kills mosquito larvae that may be present. The product can be found in gardening areas at home improvement and hardware stores.

DEFEND – Protect yourself. When used as directed, these Environmental Protection Agency-recommended repellents are
proven safe and effective:
• DEET
• Picaridin
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus
• IR3535

DUSK & DAWN – If possible, avoid outdoor activities during these times when mosquitoes are most actively flying and feeding.

DRESS – When it’s reasonable, cover exposed skin to block mosquitoes’ access to your skin. Mosquito problems? Let us know!
Communication with our residents plays an important role in our daily surveillance data. Resident’s reports received daily
through phone calls or via the form on our website are submitted to the Operations Department, where the data are reviewed to
determine where and when to treat.

Complete a Mosquito Report form on our website (www.cmcd.org)
• It’s optional to request a Field Technician visit to help determine possible mosquito habitat.
• Telephone us at (239)436-1000

Pick up free mosquitofish for your standing water Mosquitoes need only a tiny amount of standing water in which to lay their eggs. And remember that mosquitoes aren’t just a nuisance – they can also spread disease. For larger areas of long-term/seasonal standing water, the District offers residents a biological control method to “fight the bite”: Gambusia holbrooki,  or “mosquitofish.”

Native to Southwest Florida, mosquitofish can consume large quantities of mosquito larvae daily. They are a small but hearty freshwater fish in the guppy family, but don’t let their small size fool you! As soon as they are introduced to their new home, they will instantly go to work gobbling up mosquito larvae.

The District has two 800 gallon tanks of mosquitofish on our Naples campus, and they are free to the public to place in water- filled locations on their property where mosquitoes may be breeding. Last summer, many people placed their fish in swales, ditches, and non-working fountains. Residents should call the District in advance to schedule an appointment for the pick-up; a staff biologist will determine the number of fish needed after obtaining information from the property owner.

So as the summer months heat up, you can follow the “5 Ds,” communicate your mosquito problems, acquire some mosquitofish,
and the District will continue its mission to suppress both disease carrying and nuisance mosquitoes.

Want to learn more about the District’s operations? We welcome visitors for tours of our campus. Please call our office at (239) 436-1000 to schedule a tour or if we can provide more information.

 

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