The beautiful warm and sunny weather in South Florida makes it one of the most desirable places to live and visit in the world. However, residents and tourists are not the only thing that love to visit the beaches and enjoy the outdoors in South Florida, so do the bugs. Tourists may not expect the abundance of annoying mosquitoes when traveling to South Florida, but residents will confirm that mosquitoes are active all year long here in South Florida, and they are a continuous annoyance. In the summer, it is almost unbearable.

Mosquitoes love the hot, humid, and rainy climate of summer in South Florida, and these insects can completely ruin the family spending time outdoors. You can otherwise forget about those campfires and barbeques. There is no hiding or avoiding these mosquitoes because they are adapted to find humans and animals to feed on, and although most species feed in the night, some species feed during the day. South Floridians get no relief from these painful and itchy mosquito bites. With Hulett, you do not have to give up your yard. Do not let the annoyance of mosquitoes ruin spending time outdoors, and protect your family and pets from mosquitoes by enrolling in Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Service. Hulett Environmental Services is a family owned pest control company that has provided mosquito, pest, rodent, and termite control, structural fumigation, and lawn and ornamental services for over 50 years. Mosquito Reduction Services are available for home and business owners, or area-wide control is available for communities or associations. Summer is waiting. Take the outdoors back and start enjoying your backyard again… Just call Hulett!

Mosquito Biology

            Mosquitoes are insects that are closely related to houseflies, horse flies, midge flies, and gnats, all of which are classified into the group ‘Diptera’, which is a Greek root for ‘Di’ = two, and ‘Ptera’ = Wing. Each of these insects belong to this group because they have two wings, whereas many insects have four. Mosquitoes also have slender and soft bodies, and female mosquitoes have a long and piercing mouthpart referred to as a proboscis that is adapted to feed on blood. During this feeding process, mosquitoes have the potential to act as vectors for disease, although comparatively rare in South Florida. The far majority of mosquito bites are not medically significant and do not result in the transmission of disease, but they can be an annoyance because they cause irritation and itching. One thing is for certain, mosquitoes can make spending time outdoors very unpleasant.

            Female mosquitoes can effectively find people or animals for a blood meal by using their antenna and receptors to detect carbon dioxide, odor, and heat. There is variation depending on the species, but in most types of mosquito, once a mated female has taken a blood meal, she is able to lay a few hundred eggs, and is able to repeat this process a few times over the span of adulthood, normally lasting a few weeks or month.

            Depending on the species of mosquito, all life stages will all slightly differ in appearance and behavior, but there are general similarities. Depending on the species, eggs are laid either singly, or in clusters, in many various habitats such as damp soil, calm bodies of water, synthetic containers that hold stagnant water such as buckets, cans and tires. Mosquitoes will also lay eggs in aquatic plants or plants that hold water such a bromeliads and tree holes. Within a few days to a week, larvae referred to as ‘wrigglers’ will emerge. These larvae stay attached to or near the water’s surface so they can breathe oxygen through a siphonous appendage, and feed on microscopic organisms. Normally, in a week or so these larvae will pupate. Mosquito pupae are referred to as “tumblers” because they are still able to move and respond to stimuli, whereas most insect pupae are stationary. During this stage, the insect rearranges and transforms its larval body, Metamorphosis occurs and an adult mosquito soon emerges.

Mosquito Identification

            Mosquitoes (Diptera; Culicidae) are insects with long and slender bodies, long and ‘feathered’ or ‘bushy’ antenna, very long and thin legs, and have two narrow forewings that each have marginal scales. Instead of hindwings, mosquitoes and others flies instead have a pair of reduced appendages that act as sensory organs, called ‘halteres’. These halteres help the insect receive information about flight. With 80 different species of mosquito present in Florida, there is an abundance of diversity in appearance. In general, most mosquitoes are approximately ½ inch long, and females have an elongated proboscis that is firm to allow it to pierce skin and feed on blood. Color can vary from black, brown, to grey, with different types of markings. The three most significant mosquito genera in South Florida are Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex.

Aedes albopictus; Asian Tiger Mosquito

Mosquito control services are essential in Florida

            The genus Aedes consists of the container-breeders, the ‘Yellow Fever Mosquito’ and the ‘Asian Tiger Mosquito’. These mosquitoes can be identified by their similar silver or white markings or stripes on their otherwise contrasting dark brown or black bodies and legs. Though when comparing the two, there are subtle differences in size, color, and marking patterns.

Aedes aegypti; Yellow Fever Mosquito

A mosquito in South Florida

The ‘Malaria Mosquito’ belongs to the genus Anopheles, which tend to breed near permanent water. For instance, this mosquito is commonly found in freshwater marsh or swamps, lakes and springs. This mosquito can be identified by its dark brown body and its characteristic dark brown spots found on its wings. The Anopheles mosquito will also exhibit the behavior of resting at an angled position, rather than parallel to the resting surface like most mosquitoes.

Lastly, the genus Culex consists of the ‘Southern House Mosquito’. This mosquito was a predominant vector of West Nile Virus and St. Louis Encephalitis Virus. It is found breeding near transient waters such as drainage ditches and pits, and can also take advantage of containers. Culex is identified by its pale brown body, but dark colored proboscis, wings, and legs.

The History of Mosquitoes in Florida

            Unfortunately, mosquitoes are a pest and disease vector worldwide, and they are able to breed in almost all bodies of water and aquatic habitats. In Florida, with over 1,000 miles of coastline and available breeding sites, there is no shortage of these diverse habitats for mosquitoes. From salt marshes, mangrove swamps, rivers, grassy perimeters of ponds and lakes, there is no wonder why Florida is home to 80 different species of mosquitoes. To make things worse, the heavy rainfall and warm tropical and subtropical climate allow for enormous hordes of mosquitoes. In fact, only 100 years ago, South Florida was predominantly unoccupied, partly because the extreme abundance of mosquitoes, and the diseases they could potentially vector such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus, Dengue, Chikungunya, Dog Heartworm, and more recently Zika, and others. Each summer, pioneers and settlements in Florida cities, that would later collectively be referred to as the ‘Malaria Belt’, would flee to avoid becoming ill. 

It was not until the World War I era when organizations made coastline modifications in Florida to prevent intermittent flooding. This greatly reduced suitable breeding sites. Large, area-wide treatments of mosquitoes using insecticides soon followed. As a result, mosquito-borne diseases were drastically reduced, and comfortable, long-term settlements became possible. Now, there are over 50 Mosquito Control Districts in Florida Counties, which continue to fund monitoring programs, treatment, and the practice of habitat reduction by land and lake management, weed control, etc. This continuous management has certainly contributed to Florida now being one of the most desirable places to visit in the world. Although South Florida has made tremendous and unbelievable progress in terms of large-scale mosquito control, these irritating mosquitoes are still readily abundant and active near home and business at the local level. Localized mosquito control is available from professional pest control companies. Mosquitoes tend to rest and feed near their breeding sites. The direct treatment of these areas is critical to further reduce the mosquito pressures on your property. In addition to treatment by a professional pest control company, there are also helpful tips and tricks to reduce breeding sites on your own property. 

How to Help Prevent Mosquitos on Your Property

One of the primary methods to reduce mosquito activity is to remove breeding sites, such as stagnant water. This is done by properly maintaining pools, or regularly replacing or flushing out the water in birdbaths, fountains, flowerpots, bromeliads, child wading pools, etc. There are also many types of mosquitoes, referred to as ‘container-breeders’, that lay their eggs in containers that hold water. To help reduce these types of mosquitos from biting your family and pets, discard or properly store buckets, tires, cans, wheelbarrows, and outdoor toys or equipment. If items cannot be stored or discarded, such as with small boats or sheds, they can be covered. Cleaning and removing any accumulating organic debris can also help reduce breeding sites, such as keeping up with routine gutter maintenance or regularly raking and bagging leaf litter that has collected in ornamental beds. If there are areas of soil that have intermittent flooding from rain, rock can be utilized. All of these tips can help reduce mosquito activity by reducing breeding sites. However, even after taking this advice, sometimes regular and scheduled treatments by a professional pest control company is still needed.

When mosquitoes are on the scene, call Hulett

Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Service

Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Service begins by a trained professional that will come to your home and complete a free inspection, and will then outline a treatment plan that is right for you and your family. Our inspectors and certified applicators are trained by a graduate Entomologist. Hulett will thoroughly inspect the exterior to locate and identify potential mosquito breeding and resting sites, and discuss with you the areas that should be incorporated into your treatment program. During the inspection, Hulett will also provide to you various tips and tricks to reduce mosquito pressure on your property, and further increase the effectiveness of your program.

Each treatment will focus on the areas that mosquitoes are likely to breed or rest, such as ornamentals, shrubs, bushes, tall grasses, damp and shaded areas, etc. Hulett will utilize specialty equipment and thoroughly treat to ensure that all surface areas within the foliage are treated with professional-grade products that will knockdown populations and an insect growth regulator to break the insect’s lifecycle by preventing maturation and reproduction. For treatment of large areas, treatment using Ultra Low Volume (ULV) foggers to combat mosquitoes may also be available. From backyards to communities, Hulett has you covered; and when enrolled in a recurring program, all treatments come with a Hulett Guarantee.

Contact Hulett to Schedule Your FREE Inspection Today

Mosquitoes and their painful bites can be extremely irritating while trying to spend time outdoors, especially in the summers. With Hulett, you do not have to just let these insects ruin your outdoor activities. You can take the outdoors back, and help protect your family and pets from mosquitoes by enrolling in Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Service. If you are tired of being bothered by mosquitoes, call Hulett Environmental Services today and schedule your free inspection. Call today and take the outdoors back with Hulett’s Mosquito Reduction Program.