Orlando – Despite what many think, Florida has seasons. One of those seasons is mosquito. Where you live in the Sunshine State can determine how long the season lasts.
There are about 3,500 different species of mosquito. Of that 3,500, a whopping 80 species call Florida home according to the state Department of Health. That’s right, Florida is home to more mosquito species than any other state. Given the tropical climate, we can’t blame them for swarming here by the masses.
Mosquitoes love warm weather, rain, and us. The breeding season peaks from June to October, but can start or slow down depending on what part of Florida you live in. Many may notice when the cooler air arrives during fall and winter, mosquitoes aren’t much of a problem. They thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees. A dip below 50, the pest can’t function and will die.
In North Florida, mosquito season usually begins in March since temperatures are a bit cooler in the fall and winter months. For South Florida, the season is pretty much year-long since temperatures don’t dip as low as often. Here in Central Florida, the season is kind of in the middle. It gets cold enough to kill off the mosquitoes, but it warms up fairly quicker than our friends to the north, making mosquitoes a bit more active earlier in the year.
The most mosquitoes are born during the rainy season. It’s known they need stagnant water to lay eggs, but did you know that different types of water attract different mosquitoes?
Some mosquitoes prefer clean water and others like nutrients. Permanent water mosquitoes lay eggs near the edges of lakes and ponds, and even among the plants that grow along the shore which are rich in nutrients. They also like swamps and marshes which Florida has no shortage of. Floodwater mosquitoes take a different approach. Eggs are laid in moist soils along river banks or irrigated fields or in containers above the water line. The eggs then dry out and hatch when rain floods the soil or container.
Combatting mosquitoes can be a chore since rain is frequent, but history proves it’s important for our health since they can carry viruses like encephalitis, West Nile, dengue fever, yellow fever, and the Zika virus.
Following a major epidemic of yellow fever and malaria in the late 1800′s due to unchecked mosquito populations, control efforts were implemented. The Florida Mosquito Control Association began in the early 1920s and now has grown with over 60 state-approved mosquito control programs. Not only is this key in keeping residents safe and healthy, but it protects our tourism and livestock industries too.
There are things you can do around your home to keep these unwanted guests at bay.
1. Remove sources of stagnant water where they breed. Turn over regularly empty cans, buckets or planters that catch rainwater.
2. Turn over wheelbarrows or kiddie pools when not in use.
3. Make sure recycling containers have drainage holes.
4. Clean the gutters. They can get clogged and even the smallest pool of water held by the leaves can become a new breeding ground.
5. Regularly change the water in bird baths.
6. Clean and chlorinate pools regularly. If you use a pool cover, make sure to remove any water that settles on top after the rain.
7. Have a professional pest service treat the yard if your community isn’t regularly fogged.
8. Make sure the holes in trees are free from debris. The hole can catch water just as easily as a container but often goes unnoticed since it’s part of a tree.
9. Keep repellent handy. It should be as common at your backyard barbeque as the grill.