'Remove it, dump it, flush it out' -- Orange County mosquito control crews out in full force

Crews spraying at night, cleaning out neighborhoods during day

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Mosquito season is upon us and Orange County Mosquito Control crews are using whatever break in the rain they can get to treat neighborhoods.

"With this rainfall, it starts everything," said Kelly Deutsch, manager of Orange County's Mosquito Control. "There are about 20 field technicians that work during the day and about five technicians that work exclusively to spray at night."

In Ocoee on Thursday, field technician Brett Elliott was called out to a car lot. He said a neighbor called, concerned about standing water in tires nearby.

"The property right there, they were experiencing high activity," Elliott said as he plopped pink tablets into the standing water in the tires to kill the swarming mosquito larvae. "With the water being so hot, they turn into adults at a fast rate."

Elliott also said mosquito larvae can turn into mosquito adults within four to six days, and with so much rain, it's easy for homeowners to forget about their standing water nearby.

"Buckets, flower pots, wheelbarrows, anything like that," Elliott said. "Remove it, dump it, flush it out, anything where water won't be sitting for a period for days where mosquitoes could breed."

Elliott being called to the neighborhood is one of several programs Orange County offers to residents who want to combat mosquitoes. However, this mosquito season, the county is focusing on getting the word out on another program they're working on: mosquito-eating fish.

"It's called the Eastern Mosquito Fish, and it's native," Deutsch said. "They have mosquito larvae as part of their diet. They also eat other insects and other small creatures in the water."

She said the county has used the fish in retention ponds and other places where there is stagnant water for years, but Deutsch said they are now offering the fish to residents for free.

"Places like un-maintained swimming pools or a monumental fountain or pond that the pump isn't working or the water is stagnant, that would be an excellent habitat for fish placement​," she said.

Residents who are interested in Eastern Mosquito Fish can call 311 or 407-254-9120. Orange County Mosquito Control will survey the surrounding bodies of water to determine if the fish are already present in your area.

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