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Floridians urged to take caution this summer during peak mosquito periods

By Staff | Jun 23, 2009

State health officials are stressing that all Florida residents and visitors take precautionary measures this summer to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus and Encephalitis.

Due to the recent rains, the mosquito population has erupted into huge swarms. These swarms carry the risk of potentially deadly diseases that can be passed to both humans and animals. Most communities are equipped with mosquito control units, but these agencies have been swamped with requests over the past few weeks.

Florida residents must do their part to help control the mosquito population in their own yards and communities. The Florida Department of Health has issued tips to help prevent mosquito bits, as well as control mosquito breeding.

State health officials are urging residents and visitors to practice the “5 D’s”:

Dusk & Dawn – Avoid being outdoors during mosquito feeding times.

Dress – Make sure to wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

DEET – When potential exposure to mosquitoes exists, use repellents that contain up to 30 percent of the chemical compound commonly known as DEET. Other repellents may contain other chemicals or natural oils, but typically don’t last as long.

Drainage – Check around your property and eliminate areas of standing water, which is where mosquitoes lay eggs. Local pest control companies offer solutions to help significantly reduce the mosquito population on your property.

One Florida company, McCall Service, operates statewide and offers a lawn and shrub treatment program, as well as mosquito control services. Night active mosquitoes will seek shelter from the heat during the day in dense vegetation around your home. It is important to treat the plants on your property to discourage mosquitoes from making them their home.

The most effective element of mosquito population control is to eliminate their breeding sites.

Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites:

Remove water in old tires, buckets, garbage cans, and other containers where water collects.

Check clogged gutters and flat roofs that may have poor drainage.

Fill in holes or dips in the ground that collect water. Level the ground around your home so water can run off.

Empty birdbaths, water bowls, plant pots, and wading pools once or twice a week.

Store boats upside down or with a cover.

In some cases, it is impossible to completely eliminate areas that consistently collect standing water. In such cases, pest control companies like McCall Service have a chemical treatment that will prevent mosquito breeding.

Source: Florida Department of Health