Florida and the mosquitos have a long and storied history, from yellow fever and malaria in colonial times to West Nile and now Zika. Mosquitos carry a variety of diseases and even parasites, and spread them by taking blood from one infected person, then biting another.
Mosquito Borne Diseases:
- Zika virus
- West Nile virus
- Eastern equine encephalitis
- Louis encephalitis
- Malaria – usually brought in by travelers coming from an infected area.
- Yellow fever – usually brought in by travelers coming from an infected area.
- Dengue fever
- Chikungunya fever
In the case of Zika, the virus may also be transmitted between partners during unprotected sex, and can also affect development of a fetus during gestation – that link will take you to the CDC page, and it’s full of advice on how to protect yourself, your partner, and your pregnancy. As of this post, there have been over 250 cases of Zika reported in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, with close to 40 being confirmed as locally transmitted. Preventing contact with mosquitos is key, and since there is no vaccine for the virus, it is the only way to reduce risk of infection. Here’s what you can do to make your home safer.
Yard and Garden:
- Just ½ inch of still water is enough to incubate a cloud of mosquitos in eight to ten days. Empty anything with standing water such as plant saucers, or any place that standing water can accumulate.
- Use mosquito rings to control mosquitos in birdbaths, ponds, and other water features that do not have pumps. Alternatively, add a pump to your birdbath, and add a pump and fish to water features. Hungry fish love mosquito larvae!
- Empty and refill outdoor water dishes daily.
- Tire swings are one of the best things about being a kid, and they still can be – just drill holes in the bottom so that water can drain.
- Neat and clean yards give mosquitos few places to hide. Trim the brush, dumpster the old tires and unused flowerpots, and rake out the leaves.
- Clean your gutters so that water doesn’t stand in them and look around your AC unit for condensation drips and pooling.
- Plant plants that mosquitos hate.
- Your best defense is to fix those screens and make sure that your sills don’t have standing water after a rainstorm.
- Mosquito nets in for just about every size and use you can imagine – there’s even one for strollers! Mosquito nets come in sizes from bassinette to king, and will keep the bugs away, too.
- Mosquitos hate air conditioning and fast moving air. Turn on the fans and AC!
- Use a long-lasting indoor fogger with Tetramethrin or Cypermethrin to kill mosquitos for up to six weeks.
- Use a proven mosquito repellent.
- Citronella candles have been around for decades for a reason – they work.
- Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, or treat clothing with permethrin.
It takes some effort, but the more people who take active anti-mosquito measures, the fewer places mosquitos will have to breed. Help your family and community by giving mosquit