Hurricanes bring devastation with them with their high winds and excessive rainfall. Even after the storm has passed, they leave a wake of destruction in their path. On top of the damage to personal property and people's lives, hurricanes also create another menace, breeding grounds for mosquitoes! Mosquitoes are not just a nuisance, they also carry disease. What species do we find in Florida, and what can you do to make them QUIT biting you? Read on to find out.
One of the more commonly encountered mosquitoes is the Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which is an exotic, invasive mosquito now found throughout the Florida peninsula and panhandle. The Asian Tiger Mosquito is known to transmit several diseases including West Nile Virus. There is also some indication they may be able to carry the Zika Virus. This species lays its eggs in Autumn in moist areas. Come Spring and a little rain, it is out and about and ready to feed.
Another mosquito found throughout the Florida peninsula and panhandle is the Yellow Fever Mosquito (Aedes aegypti). As its name implies, this mosquito is capable of transmitting Yellow Fever, as well as Dengue, Chikungunya Virus and Dog Heartworm. It is said to be the primary vector of the Zika Virus, as well. Thankfully, none of these pathogens are common in the United States with the exception of Dog Heartworm.
The Eastern Treehole Mosquito (Aedes triseriatus) is another species that can be found in much of the state. The larvae develop in tree holes (hence the name) but will also breed in other types of containers including rain barrels. It is the primary carrier of La Crosse Encephalitis.
The Southern House Mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) is found throughout Florida. This mosquito can develop in almost anything that holds still water. The Southern House Mosquito is known to carry the viruses that cause West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE).
Culex nigripalpus, that has the unofficial name of the Florida SLE Mosquito, is quite common and found throughout the state. What makes this such an important species is they are vectors of SLE, West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Dog Heartworm. Much like its cousin, the Southern House Mosquito, it will inhabit almost anything that holds still water.
The granddaddy and largest mosquito found in the southeast is the Gallinipper Mosquito (Psorophora ciliate). Although research has shown that many of the forementioned pathogens have been tested for and found in Gallinipper Mosquitoes, there are no studies confirming it is a vector of those viruses. This mosquito becomes a major nuisance after heavy rains which cause flooding and puddling in low lying areas such as pastures and drainage ditches. The Gallinipper Mosquito is quite capable of penetrating clothing and delivering a painful bite!
Now, what can be done to minimize mosquito populations?
- Do not allow water to stand in artificial containers for long periods of time.
- Clean and refill bird baths and pet water bowls every few days.
- Use mosquito dunks in ponds and other bodies of water that can't be drained. These floating dunk cakes release bacterial agents that kill mosquito larvae.
- Use a mosquito repellent for protection when working or playing outdoors. Remember to follow the label guidelines when using repellents and insecticides.
- Clean roof gutters and downspouts. This will go a long way in preventing mosquitoes and other pests that could breed up there.
If you're tired of cleaning your gutters, call your local Florida Pest Control office, we have several programs that can help you accomplish this. You may never have to clean your gutters again!
To help protect you and your family, Florida Pest Control has developed our Pro Star Mosquito Program. Skilled technicians will inspect your property for potential mosquito breeding areas. In conjunction with this inspection, they will also provide recommendations of what you can do to reduce the mosquito pressure around your home. Treatment of mosquito resting areas associated with the structure will also be performed, thereby reducing the adult population of mosquitoes in that vicinity. Contact us to schedule an inspection today.