Image: Mosquito larvae, James Gathany, CDC. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.
Dump and drain after the rain
Mosquito season is underway - do your part to keep them at bay!
Recent rains combined with warm, humid weather act as a perfect environment for mosquito breeding. And while Santa Rosa County has seen no local transmissions of Zika virus, mosquitos can still transfer dangerous diseases including St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus. Concerns over mosquito-borne illnesses, or arboviruses, continue to serve as an important reminder to area residents to do their part to reduce the spread of mosquitoes. 

Santa Rosa mosquito technicians are currently monitoring the county's mosquito traps and treating standing water, such as holding ponds, with larvicide. The western mosquitofish, gambusia affinis, is used to control mosquito larvae in environmentally sensitive areas. While larvae abatement is a year-round practice, spraying for adult mosquitoes generally begins in in the spring, when temperatures begin to consistently stay above 60 degrees. 

Residents are encouraged to help abate the mosquito population by draining flower pots, watering cans, food bowls, and any container that holds water. Moist leaves and organic matter also provide a perfect environment for mosquito larvae. By cleaning gutters and raking leaves, homeowners can stop the growth cycle. Residents may report areas of standing water, such as neglected or abandoned swimming pools, by calling 850-981-7135 or reporting online

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, remember the four Ds: 
  • DUSK to DAWN - the timeframe when mosquitoes are most active. Reduce or eliminate outdoor activity between dusk and dawn or take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. 
  • DRAIN - standing water. Water found in old tires, flower pots, clogged rain gutters, leaky pipes and faucets, birdbaths and wading pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes. 
  • DRESS - in light-colored, long sleeves and pants when you are outside, especially in mosquitoinfested areas. 
  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) - if you are planning to be outside when mosquitoes are most active, be sure to apply insect repellant that contains DEET. Read and follow label instructions. Spray both exposed skin and clothing with repellent. 
For more information on Santa Rosa County mosquito control, visit www.santarosa.fl.gov. For information on Zika virus, visit the Florida Department of Health, www.floridahealth.gov.

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