As spring eases into summer with longer and hotter days, mosquitoes, a notable element of Florida’s warm season, reappear in abundance.
Dealing with mosquitoes, sometimes large swarms of them, is a part of daily living during the summer, and Hillsborough County is providing residents with an effective way to do so by distributing fish that feed on the pestilential insects.
The fish are being handed out at events throughout the county, with some happening in the Osprey Observer readership area from 8 a.m.-12 Noon on three Saturdays during the summer.
The fish, natural predators to mosquitoes, are free, but photographic identification that shows Hillsborough County residency is required. The fish will be distributed while supplies last.
Mosquito larvae are the favorite food of the fish, according to Hillsborough County, and the idea is to eliminate the insects before they mature and target people and animals for their own sustenance.
The idea is to place the fish where water is intentionally collected or is left standing, such as rain collection barrels, retention ponds and fishponds or horse troughs. No chemicals or care of the fish is required, beyond protecting them from chemical contamination that can occur from property maintenance. The dates for upcoming mosquitofish distribution events are as follows:
• June 4 – FishHawk Sports Complex at 16000 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia.
• July 9 – Providence Skate Park at 5720 Providence Rd. in Riverview.
• August 6 – Mike E. Sansone Community Park at 1702 N. Park Rd. in Plant City.
According to the Hillsborough County website, more than 40 species of mosquitoes inhabit the local community. Ron Montgomery oversees Hillsborough County’s mosquito control efforts, and he said spraying insecticide has limited, specific uses and that dealing with a growing mosquito population by denying them a safe habitat of standing water—whether intentional or from neglect, such as having containers and tires that collect water on a property—is the first line of defense.
“Unfortunately, the public today thinks that the way to rid yourself of a mosquito, or a mosquito problem, or a mosquito issue or a mosquito threat, is to spray,” Montgomery commented while addressing local code enforcement officers during a training session that was recorded and posted to the Hillsborough County YouTube channel.
For more information, you can contact Hillsborough County Mosquito Control at 813-635-5400.