Written by Padraic Juarez, MS REHS CPM, Wakulla County Health Department Friday, 13 April 2012 11:51
Our mosquito control division, as with many others, is facing a severely reduced budget for the 2012 mosquito season.This reduction has caused us to come up with some creative solutions. Our mission of protecting the public from illness that can result from mosquito bites is still the basis for all that we do. In previous years that has meant that we would provide spray to individual homes as frequently as requested, put out larvacide to areas near populated areas, and by providing education on how individuals can protect themselves from mosquitoes.
Our revised business plan will mean that we will concentrate on education and applying larvacide. We will still spray for adult mosquitoes at large gatherings of people; but we will no longer be providing individual home sprayings over and over through the season.
If your organization is having an outdoor event and would like us to apply adulticide spray, please contact our office. We will also provide this service to individual homes twice over the months of May-October. If your home has low areas that hold water for several days we will come out and apply larvacide to those areas upon request. Please read our suggestions below and watch throughout the summer for other tips on how to best protect yourself and family from mosquito bites.
All residents should take some simple actions to reduce areas where mosquitoes can breed to help control these pests. By following the FIVE D’s below everyone can help reduce the mosquito population near their homes and businesses:
• DRAIN- small amounts of standing water can breed hundreds of mosquitoes!!
o Flower pots
o Animal water bowls and buckets
o Bird baths
o Trash cans, BBQ grills, wheelbarrows
o Kiddie pools
o Clogged rain gutters
• DRESS- some disease carrying mosquitoes bite during the day so, even though it’s hot, cover your skin when you will be outside especially at:
• DAWN and DUSK- most mosquitoes swarm at these times so be sure to cover up!
• DEET- sprays with up to 30% of this compound are found to be the most effective for the longest period. Children under 2 months should not use DEET, mosquito nets can be draped over strollers if you will have your infant outside.
Permethrin products can be applied to clothing but not skin, again do not use on infants.
Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus provides long lasting protection at about the same rate as a DEET concentration of about 20% if you are concerned about chemical compounds. This should not be applied to children under 3 years.
Any container which holds water should be dumped several times per week. Mosquito larvae can hatch in as little as 5 days in just a few inches of water so this simple action will greatly reduce the mosquito population around your home.
We need YOUR help!! Please use the above preventative measures to help us reduce the risk of diseases carried by mosquitoes such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. One bite from an infected mosquito can transmit these diseases!!
Other measures you can take are not allowing brush piles to build up; keep your yard mowed; don’t keep junk around the yard; stock ponds with mosquito eating fish; and fill holes in trees with sand. Those with open water bodies such as ponds, lakes, sinkholes, and ditches can request larvacide treatments to help control mosquitoes before they hatch. Larvacide is not a pesticide so this treatment also reduces the amount of chemicals being used.
If you will be having an outdoor event and feel the area needs to be sprayed for mosquito protection, you must call the Environmental Health Unit at the Health Department 850-926-0401 ext 241 to request spraying. Foggers can be purchased at local hardware stores and can be used successfully with a lower concentration of the same chemical used by the spray trucks. Be sure to follow instructions carefully.
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