The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of mosquitoes – here’s what to do
Pumpkin patches have sprung up throughout the County. Folks are getting their Halloween costumes together. Some are even making Thanksgiving travel plans. What hasn’t changed: the threat of mosquito bites and the potentially serious diseases they may carry.
Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control & Habitat Management Division works hard year-round to monitor and limit the population of the pests. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.
“Source reduction, or the elimination of the places where mosquitoes can breed, remains the most effective way to control mosquitoes,” says Division Director Dr. William Petrie. “In addition to limiting their opportunities and options for reproduction, residents can protect themselves by using an EPA-approved mosquito repellent when heading outdoors.”
Here are some additional tips to help fight mosquito bites during the fall season:
Discard any objects that may hold water and attract egg-laying mosquitoes. Items such as pots and pans, kiddie pools no longer in use, and empty planters can and will become breeding sites. Keep your rain gutters free and clear of debris such as dead leaves and fallen branches. It doesn’t take much to clog them and create standing water. If your garbage or recycling container has a damaged or missing lid, call 311 to request a replacement unit at no charge. Don’t let it collect anything but what it’s designed to collect.
Remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar. Consider investing in screens for windows, doors and outdoor patios. If you have already installed them, check to make sure they are in a good state of repair – the smallest rip or tear can allow mosquitoes into your home or outdoor relaxation space. If you have a boat, make sure to cover it with a tarp that doesn’t accumulate water.
Dressing in long-sleeved clothing and pants and always wearing socks and shoes that cover the entire foot limits the amount of skin that is exposed to mosquitoes seeking a blood meal. Using mosquito netting to cover the bedding used for children younger than two months is an excellent form of nighttime protection. Be sure to change out the water in outdoor pet dishes and bird baths at least once a week. This helps to disrupt the mosquito life cycle.
If you have bromeliads in your garden, be aware that the water that collects in their leaves is sufficient to facilitate mosquito breeding. The best way to prevent this is to treat them with the larvicide called Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis). Absent Bti, a few drops of vegetable oil in each plant or a blast of non-stick cooking spray will create a thin layer of oil on the surface of the water which will prevent the larvae from breathing.
To report mosquito nuisance issues and request an inspection of your property, call 311, click www.miamidade.gov/311direct or use the 311 Direct mobile app. For more tips and additional information about Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control program, please visit www.miamidade.gov/mosquito.