Orange County mosquito control employee is a mural master

Technician Rafael Melendez transforms educational pavilion

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

Photo courtesy of Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Outside and in the back of the Orange County Mosquito Control building, there were pools of mosquito-eating fish in a concrete pavilion that needed some serious cleanup.

One employee, mosquito control technician Rafael Melendez, decided to take the tidying a step further and he had just the talent to do it. 

“Before I came to Mosquito Control, I used to paint houses, so I told Dave about the mural idea and he loved it,” Melendez said in an article written by Orange County. “I researched and decided it would be cool to paint Florida’s ecosystem, so I started creating that on one section of the wall.”

Dave Pelley, his boss, is a program manager and biologist with Orange County Mosquito Control. 

"I suggested he paint the mosquito life-cycle and then an urban environment showing a house with places where mosquito tend to thrive on another section. Before we knew it, we had a flowing educational mural," Pelley said. 

In that same pavilion, where Orange County allows visitors, they also have mosquito fish. Mosquito fish are native to Central Florida and feed off mosquito larvae. Orange County Mosquito Control now breeds them there, making that pavilion complete. 

And, thanks to Melendez, pretty. 

“When you look at the mural’s bright colors and hear the water running, it makes you feel good,” he said. “Being able to take the unsightly storage space and transform it into what we have now is incredible … and it is so gratifying.” 

For more information about Orange County Mosquito Control and/or to visit the new educational pavilion, visit www.ocfl.net/mosquito. Mosquito Control is located at 2715 Conroy Road, Building A in Orlando.

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