Crime

Here are tips to help get rid of pesky, disease-carrying mosquitoes

Michael Mut is public information officer for Miami-Dade County’s Public Information & Outreach Division.
Michael Mut is public information officer for Miami-Dade County’s Public Information & Outreach Division. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

Miami-Dade County is known for its sun, beaches, fantastic weather and … mosquitoes.

The area is home to 48 different species of the pesky bugs, some of which are nuisance that can spread diseases such as the Zika virus.

Michael Mut, public information officer for Miami-Dade County’s Public Information & Outreach Division, has provided this information:

Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division has existed in some form since 1935 and serves the area year round, providing mosquito surveillance and control as part of an integrated vector management program. Here’s what they do, and what you can do, to help fight the bite.

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Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

Property inspectors look for the source of reported mosquito annoyances. Look out for county and contracted inspectors driving branded and co-branded vehicles, carrying identification cards, and wearing shirts or vests imprinted with “Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control Contractor.” They empty containers filled with standing water, spray insecticide, and treat swimming pools that are breeding mosquitoes.

The county uses various mosquito traps to conduct surveillance in communities throughout Miami-Dade, helping our experts determine the numbers and species of mosquitoes in a given area. The data gathered helps determine where adult mosquitoes are laying eggs, track populations and the viruses they may be carrying, as well as the efficacy of pesticides being used.

Miami-Dade County uses spray treatments to eliminate mosquito larvae and adult mosquitoes in response to citizen complaints and trap counts. Inspectors use backpack-mounted devices to treat residential and commercial areas. They also treat standing water and certain plant species such as bromeliads with larvicide and adulticide liquids, sprays and granules.

Truck-mounted spraying takes place overnight when mosquitoes are most active, and fewer people are outdoors. A fine mist of pesticide is applied as the trucks move along the street. When operated, the spray equipment sounds like a lawn mower.

Aerial spraying is delivered in an ultra-low volume application. The actual amount of pesticide used is very small, as little as 1 ounce or two tablespoons per acre, an area the size of a football field. Ahead of any aerial spraying, the County takes several steps to inform residents:

▪ Notifications posted on the web: www.miamidade.gov, www.miamidade.gov/solidwaste and www.miamidade.gov/mosquito;

▪ Distribution of news releases to local media;

▪ Social media posts on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MiamiDadeSolidWaste) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/miamidadeswm);

▪ Calls to landlines in the treatment area.

To prevent mosquitoes from breeding near your property, the county recommends that you routinely inspect your home or business for containers and objects that collect water. When found, you should drain these items so mosquitoes are unable to lay eggs in or near them, and to prevent larvae and pupae from maturing into adults. Some species can reproduce in a tiny amount of water, so a stray bottle cap or soda can could serve as breeding grounds.

When outdoors, cover up exposed skin with clothing and use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535–the most effective types. Make sure screens on windows and doors are in good condition as well. For more drain and cover tips, visit www.miamidade.gov/solidwaste/drain-cover.asp. For more information on Miami-Dade County’s mosquito control program, visit www.miamidade.gov/mosquito. To report a nuisance or request an inspection, call 311.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to carmen@citizenscrimewatch.org, or call her at 305-470-1670.

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