Tag Archives: Mosquito Control

OrlandoSentinel.com: Much Needed Rain Brings Blooms – and Tiny Bloodsuckers

OrlandoSentinel.com: Much Needed Rain Brings Blooms – and Tiny Bloodsuckers

Recent storms have brought much needed rain to Central Florida. But along with greener lawns and springtime blooms come the unwelcome mass of mosquitoes.

Mosquito control authorities in Orange and Volusia counties are breaking out their arsenal of trucks and helicopters rigged with spraying equipment to keep the insects at bay.

But Jim McNelly, director of the  Volusia County Mosquito Control Division, said it’s up to residents to make sure their homes aren’t turned into breeding grounds.

The tiny bloodsuckers are a mainstay in soggier climates but it may be surprising to know just how little water is needed for mosquito populations to thrive. They can lay eggs and grow in water collected in objects as small as bottle caps left behind in the rain.

Volusia mosquito control is responsible for nearly 350,000 acres of land – most of it taken up by the salt marshes east of Interstate 95. But this season, authorities in both Volusia and Orange counties are placing extra emphasis on “container species” that can grow in residents’ backyards.

McNelly said those “containers” could be anything from tree holes to bird baths, dog dishes and kid’s toys.

“And those mosquitoes are active during the day,” McNelly said. “They are out an about when you’re out and about.”

While most container mosquitoes are simply a nuisance for homeowners, one type – the Yellow Fever Mosquito – was linked to the spread of Dengue Fever in the Keys two years ago.

“There has been a resurgence of Yellow Fever Mosquitoes in Central Florida,” McNelly said. “Though we’ve seen no connection (to the disease) here, we’re vigilant.”

Although Dengue Fever has not been a major issue in the past, Dain Weister, spokesman for the Orange County Health Department said it’s important for residents to remember the two cases of West Nile Virushere in 2010. One of the infected died.

And although there were no cases reported in Orange in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 24 cases across Florida last year. Only eight states had more cases, the CDC reported.

“That’s why it’s so important for all of us to remember to protect ourselves,” Weister said. “Not only can you get sick but in some cases you can die from it.”

Both McNelly and Columbus Holland, supervisor of operations with Orange County Mosquito Control say those who are worried about the environmental affects of the nightly bug spraying can be at ease.

Minnows and bacteria that eat mosquito larvae before they take flight are used in the salt marshes in Volusia and once the bugs grow wings, the sprayers are loaded with Spinosad, a chemical that won the Designing Greener Chemicals Award in 2010.

Orange County uses a chemical called Permethrin, which Holland said is no more dangerous than household insecticide.

“It’s the same as a can of Raid,” he said. “Everything we use can be bought at Publix.”

McNelly added that the widespread spraying makes life in Florida more bearable this time of year.

“There’s a reason Mosquito Lagoon is called Mosquito Lagoon,” he said. Without the counties’ intervention, he said, the mosquito problem would be “almost intolerable.”

Experts Warn of Mosquito Population Explosion

MyFOXOrlando.com: Experts Warn of Mosquito Population Explosion

ORANGE COUNTY, FL – Perhaps the biggest obstacle to enjoying the outdoors in Florida in the summer is dealing with all the mosquitoes, and this year, several southern states are issuing warnings about the annoying insects.

The mild winter has many experts fearing a big bug outbreak.  Some believe it could be the worst year on record for mosquitoes.  Experts say if you live anywhere along Florida’s coastline, you had better break out your bug spray.

Dr. Thomas Breaud monitors and studies mosquitoes for Orange County and says populations are not out of hand so far, thanks in part to our recent drought.

“A lot of times people will say we had a mild winter — this is ‘X’ therefore we’re going to have ‘Y’ and that’s not always the case.  What I can tell you is a mild winter certainly didn’t help us.”

With the ever present threat of encephalitis and West Nile virus, Dr. Breaud said we should always be on guard against mosquitoes carrying disease.

“It just takes the right conditions for them to spill out of the bird populations, because they’re bird diseases. If the conditions are right, they can get into us. They can get into horses, and they can cause death!”

Numbers from Orange County show some mosquito species are down this year while others are up, but experts say mosquitoes breed quickly.  It could be a totally different story this time next week.

The Hulett Environmental Daily


A Virus May Make Mosquitoes Even Thirstier for Human Blood

A Virus May Make Mosquitoes Even Thirstier for Human Blood

Florida Pet Control

By

The dengue virus may actually make mosquitoes thirstier for human blood, new research has found.

In a study published last week in PLoS Pathogens, mosquito experts at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the dengue virus altered the production of proteins made by 147 different genes.

Some changes appeared to make the antennae more sensitive to odors — making them better at hunting humans, the virus’s only known mammalian host. Other changes in salivary gland genes appeared to make it easier for the virus to get into a mosquito’s saliva, ready for injection.

Those tests were done on a genome microarray — snippets of the DNA of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes coating a glass slide. But when the researchers tried to replicate the results in live mosquitoes, they could not prove they were hungrier.

“Since we can’t infect humans for our experiments, we think it’s a problem with the model,” said George Dimopoulos, lead author of the new study.

In his laboratory model, mosquitoes had to drink infected blood from a balloonlike membrane and then were offered mice to bite.

“Mosquitoes will feed on other animals if they get hungry, but it isn’t their favorite dish,” Dr. Dimopoulos said.

Up to 100 million people are infected with dengue each year; it is known as “breakbone fever” for the joint pain it causes. Up to 15,000 die of it annually, most of them children, according to the World Health Organization. There is no vaccine or cure.

PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

PEST-PROOFING CAN HELP KEEP PESTS OUTDOORS THIS SPRING

Hulett Environmental Services offers tips to help homeowners pest-proof their home

Spring is here and that means weekends throughout April will find homeowners opening windows, packing away the winter clothes and returning patio furniture outdoors. While partaking in these annual “spring cleaning” routines, Hulett Environmental Services is also encouraging people to add pest-proofing inside and outside of the home to their spring to-do lists.

“As the weather continues to warm, homeowners should expect to see increased activity from various insects such as ants, termites and cockroaches,” said Greg Rice at Hulett Environmental Services. “Taking preventive measures early in the spring season is the best approach to avoiding infestations and the subsequent health and property risks associated with these pests.”

Experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Hulett Environmental Services recommend the following steps homeowners can take to keep unwanted pests outside where they belong:

  • Seal cracks and holes along the foundation of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water around the house, including birdbaths and in clogged gutters.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants cut back from the house. Store firewood at least 20 feet from the home and on a raised structure such as concrete blocks or poles.
  • Keep kitchens clean by wiping counters and emptying the garbage frequently.
  • Avoid leaving pet’s food dishes out for long periods of time.
  • Inspect the outside of a home for nests built by stinging insects — typically found in the eaves under roofs.

If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit www.bugs.com

News4Jax.com: This Year’s Mosquito Predictions

News4Jax.com: This Year’s Mosquito Predictions

JACKSONVILLE, FL –

Mosquitoes big, buzz, bite, breed and just plain bother most of us. But the pesky insects can also spread disease and last year, they left behind 18 reported cases of West Nile Virus in Duval County.

Division Chief John Shellhorn of Jacksonville Mosquito Control said his team has already started fogging against the insects.

“It’s much easier to destroy mosquitoes before they take to the wing and begin flying off,” Shellhorn said.

As the weather warms up after a rather mild winter, many wonder if this season will be as bad as last summer, when two people died from West Nile.

He said it’s tough to predict, but the area hasn’t seen any signs of a rough season yet-which is good news. He said the small amount of rain Jacksonville recently saw hasn’t been enough to activate the mosquitoes.

“One is warm weather, lack of wind, the other is standing water,” Shellhorn said. “That’s the key ingredient that’s been missing here, and that’s really helped us, in terms of not seeing a preponderance of mosquitoes out in the neighborhood.”

Even still, he said it’s a full-time effort for mosquito control.

“We’ve got staff out every day, monitoring ditch basins, storm drains, ditch lines, swamps,” he said. “The water levels, even after a rainfall event, the water is just absorbed into the ground. That’s good in terms of the mosquitoes.”

Shellhorn said education is vital to helping prevent mosquito bites and the spread of diseases like West Nile or Encephalitis. He says to remember the 5 D’s: Dusk, Dawn, Dress, DEET and Drainage.

DUSK and DAWN: The two times of day when mosquitoes are usually more active.

DRESS: A reminder that long sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes protect you.

DEET: The best kind of insect repellant available.

DRAINAGE: Get rid of any standing water near your home or business.

Mosquito Control

 

Don’t forget to declare your…Insects?

A man crossing into the United States from Mexico forgot to declare his bugs as food at the port of entry. The unidentified driver told agents he forgot to declare the bags as food items. He was given a $175 fine and the insects were seized. Agents sent the bugs to the U.S.  Department of Agriculture where they were identified as a type of stink bug. Pests must be reported when brought into the country because they feed on plants, CBP officials said in a release.

Moral of the story is don’t forget to report pests when crossing the border since they feed on plants!

Checkout the full story

Mild Winter Brings More Pests

To guard against the early emergence of pests, Hulett Environmental Services offers the following tips for homeowners:

  • Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of a building.
  • Keep mulch at least 15-inches from the foundation.
  • Seal cracks and small openings along the bottom of the house.
  • Eliminate sources of moisture or standing water.
  • Keep tree branches and other plants trimmed back from the house.
  • Keep indoor and outdoor trash containers clean and sealed.
  • Screen windows and doors.
  • If you suspect a problem, contact a qualified pest professional who can recommend the best course of treatment.

Mosquito Control

Mosquito-borne illnesses continue to plague communities throughout the United States. With recent outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses in Florida, homeowners everywhere should take steps to protect their family.

Homeowners should consider employing a pest professional to help them control this pest.

As evidenced by the increasing incidence of West Nile Virus, mosquito infestations continue well into the year.

The National Pest Management Association and Hulett Environmental offer the following advice on keeping mosquitoes out of homes:

  • Eliminate potential mosquito breading grounds like birdbaths and baby pools by changing the water at least once per week.
  • Remove excess vegetation around any standing water sources that cannot be changed, dumped or removed.
  • Check your screens for any holes to keep them out of your house.

To learn more about mosquito-transmitted diseases, please visit www.pestworld.org and www.bugs.com