County Takes Aim At Mosquito Reduction Through Awareness Efforts

By Tamas Mondovics

For more than half a century, Hillsborough County Public Works department has been working to control the county’s more than 40 species of mosquitoes, especially during the summer rainy season.

Of course, to control the annoying and often dangerous invaders while maintaing a balanced ecological system requires cooperation on the part of all residents who are urged to have a share in the effMosiquitehcmclogoort through education, awareness and participation.

To that end and to recognize the County’s 65 years of mosquito control efforts, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed June 21 through June 27 as Mosquito Control Awareness Week.

Presenting the proclamation, County Commissioner Stacy White (District 4) reminded the board that the goal of the awareness week was to educate the public of the importance of controlling mosquito population as well as the important service provided by the workers involved.

Florida has 58 organized mosquito control operations.

“As a health professional it is my distinct privilege to get to be the commissioner that delivers this proclamation today,” White told the board.

To remind as well as to educate the public, the County’s Public Works Department’s 23-member Mosquito Control Unit (MCU) has created an educational display in the lobby of County Center drawing attention to the small things everyone can do to help reduce the populations of nuisance and potentially disease-transmitting mosquitoes that have a negative impact on quality of life throughout Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Plant City.

“Our unit takes care of almost 1,100 square miles of the county, and they work very hard and are very dedicated and we all very much appreciate what they do,” said Hillsborough County Public Works Director John Lyons.

According to the MCU, one of the most prevalent locations for mosquitoes to take up residence and multiply in is standing water around homes. Many bothersome mosquitoes typically only travel a few hundred feet from their breeding site and sprays are only a temporary solution; once they wear off in a few hours the mosquitoes are back.MostuiqtBig Bertha

A few simple steps residents can take to eliminate mosquito egg-laying sites around homes and help reduce the numbers of mosquitoes in their own neighborhoods:

• Clean out rain gutters and downspouts regularly. •

Empty and turn over containers that hold water such as cans, jars, drums, bottles, flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, wheel barrows, garbage can lids, small boats or canoes, old appliances, and plastic sheeting or tarps used to cover objects like grills or swimming pools.

• Drain or get rid of old tires by recycling them. Tires can breed thousands of mosquitoes.

• Change the water and clean out pet dishes and bird baths frequently. Mosquitoes can develop from eggs to adults in as few as four days.

Roshaven said that during its routine operations, the Mosquito Control Unit follows the practices of Integrated Pest Management, which uses scientifically-based preventative methods first before turning to insecticides to spray.

These methods include biological controls, mosquito trapping for inspection purposes, sentinel chickens to monitor for diseases, aquatic weed control and other methods to reduce places where mosquitoes breed, identification and destruction of mosquito larva, public education, and barrier spraying around smaller areas.

For more information on preventing or reducing mosquitoes, visit www.HillsboroughCounty.org/Mosquito.