There’s no denying that mosquitoes love it here in Florida. With the heat and humidity, they find themselves in paradise! That’s why effective mosquito control is essential.
From mosquito control products to how to keep mosquitoes away without bug spray, we know there are plenty of questions about mosquitoes in Florida. Sometimes, mosquitoes are confused with aquatic midges, but the key difference is that midges are only a nuisance and do not pose a health risk.
When it comes to eradication of pests, looking into their lifecycle can help to determine where intervention will be most impactful. Female mosquitoes lay their eggs along the inner walls of containers with water – think ponds, bird baths, the wading pool your kids put out for the dog that they said they would clean up, but they didn’t… you get the picture.
Larvae emerge from the eggs after the water level rises enough to cover the eggs. So be mindful of refilling a bird bath without cleaning it out first, you very well could be signaling mosquito larvae it’s time to emerge. Once they do, pupa will develop until the adult mosquito has fully formed and can emerge from the pupal skin to leave the water.
That’s why one of the most important preventative measures you can take at your home is to drain any standing water from your property that mosquitoes could use to reproduce. Unfortunately, in a place like Florida, there will always be more mosquito breeding grounds than we can drain.
Depending on what part of the state you’re in, mosquito “season” could be a year-round concern. Most people find spring and summer to be the worst, but the further south you go, the more likely it is that you won’t have a reprieve from mosquito season.
There are a lot of breeding ground options for mosquitoes everywhere, but especially in a hot, humid place like Florida. Not to mention mosquitoes will usually lay about 100 eggs at a time. Oh, and those eggs are hardy – they can survive drying out for up to 8 months, including overwinter in Florida. So unfortunately, those eggs from last year didn’t go anywhere.
If you live in Florida, chances are you’re seen that the Florida Department of Health issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory earlier this summer. This advisory was issued after the second case of malaria was identified in Sarasota County. The reason this is significant is that these cases were locally acquired, which hasn’t happened in the US for 20 years. Usually when an American is diagnosed with malaria, it’s after they’ve returned from travelling to a country where malaria is more common. Florida mosquitoes carrying malaria could be a symptom of climate change and the ever-warming temperatures.
If you find yourself asking if Florida mosquitoes are worse than they are in other states or seeking to uncover the worst state for mosquitoes, remember what mosquitoes need to survive. Heat, humidity, swampy areas… these are all things Florida has in abundance. But are mosquitoes a problem in Florida?
Aside from the annoyance of hearing a mosquito buzzing near your ear or the itchiness of mosquito bites, one of the main concerns people have about mosquitoes is their ability to transmit disease.
The history of malaria in Florida goes all the way back, but people began studying how to fight back against this mosquito-borne virus in 1889 with the formation of the Florida Board of Health. By 1897, they had discovered that mosquitoes carried the virus, and it could be transferred through mosquito bites. A key part of mosquito control efforts was draining swampy areas and taking other precautions to limit conducive areas. Ever since the 1910s, malaria was under control in Florida. But as we know, there have been multiple locally acquired cases of malaria in Florida this year.
As far as determining which state is definitively the worst for mosquitoes, it’s hard to say. What we do know is that Florida is an ideal environment for mosquitoes to live, breed, and thrive in. Experts in the field predict that rising temperatures could increase mosquito-borne virus transmission in the US, including mosquito paradise Florida.
To make your yard safer and more enjoyable, it’s important to take precautions – just like you would with anything else. It’s a bit like not eating chicken cooked medium rare… some risks aren’t worth taking and if there’s a way to avoid it, all the better!
In addition to having regular mosquito service, there are precautions that you can and should take. Be sure to implement DIY mosquito control methods at home by addressing areas where water collects on your property.
There are three types of water habitats for mosquitoes: Permanent water habitats, such as the backwaters of a river; floodwater habitats, such as when we have heavy rain that causes water levels to rise in marshes; and container habitats.
Anything that can hold water for any length of time can provide the standing water that mosquitoes need to lay eggs. These include some obvious containers, such as buckets and birdbaths, but also a few that might not quickly come to mind, such as children’s and pets’ toys, pets’ food and water bowls, non-working fountains, car and boat covers, gutters, wheelbarrows, and gardening equipment, and even plants such as bromeliads that have “tanks” or cups at their centers that hold water.
Speaking of plants, we get a lot of questions about mosquito repellent plants. But can you keep mosquitoes away with plants? The short answer is that no, they don’t exactly keep mosquitoes away the way that you’d expect them to, especially considering some are even labeled as “insect-repelling plants.”
Mosquitoes are attracted to certain scents and to carbon dioxide. The concept of mosquito repellent plants has been simplified to imply that a garden full of them will keep your yard mosquito-free. This is not the case. The goal is to mask what mosquitoes are attracted to with repellent.
While it is true that many plants contain essential oils that are commonly accepted as all natural mosquito repellents, simply adding them to your garden won’t give you that benefit. You would need to crush the plant’s leaves and rub the oil on your skin or burn sprigs of the plant to have that sort of effect. Even then, essential oils don’t tend to be as effective as true insect repellent spray such as those containing DEET and picaridin.
If you’re looking to add some plants to your garden that you could use in addition to traditional mosquito control, check out this article from the Farmer’s Almanac. It’s important to use the plants correctly if you want to try this method.
A natural way to diminish mosquito populations in your yard using an integrated pest management approach would be to consider hosting some predators of mosquitoes. For example, if you have a body of water on your property, stocking it with frogs and fish that eat mosquitoes and mosquito larvae could help. Of course, there are plenty of natural predators that exist on their own without you purposefully moving them onto your land. Some examples would include birds, bats, dragonflies, and small crustaceans.
We know pet owners will do anything to protect their fur baby from harm, but what if it’s something that’s hard to spot? It isn’t always obvious when pets are bitten by mosquitoes, especially with animals that have a fluffier coat. However, as many cat and dog owners know, mosquitoes are responsible for spreading heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is the most common mosquito-borne illness that pets can contract.
While heartworms can infect a variety of mammals, felines, canines, and ferrets are the most common. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm through a bite, which allows the parasitic worm to enter the animal’s blood stream while it is still microscopic and in its larval state. Heartworms can be deadly if untreated, but the good news is that there are many topical, oral, or injected medications that can prevent infection. Please be sure that you are properly protecting your pet by consulting with your vet on the best option for your animal.
Most preventative heartworm medications for pets actually work retroactively. But don’t worry, that sounds scarier than it is. The medications work to kill any larval heartworms that could enter the animal’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite before the heartworm has a chance to grow.
As stated on Pet MD, it’s advisable to invest in mosquito control to protect your family, including the four-legged members. And what you might not know is that the risk of an animal getting heartworm is higher in hot and humid areas… like Florida. Because mosquitoes are the transmitters, having a hospitable environment for mosquitoes has a significant impact.
When you begin to take mosquito control measures, if the idea of mosquito repellent plants sticks out to you, please keep in mind that some of those plants could be toxic to your pet. As we stated in the section above about mosquito control methods at home and mosquito repellent plants, this is not the most effective method. Between the risk of toxicity and the lack of effectiveness, this method may not be the route for pet owners. You can learn more about plants that are toxic to animals here.
Please work with your veterinarian to determine the best strategies and products for your pet. And of course, you should never use products containing DEET, citronella, or essential oils on your pet. The most important thing is to be aware of all health risks surrounding mosquitoes for pets – including inappropriate use of repellent products on or around them.
Mosquitoes are most well known for their pesky biting habits, which can leave itchy, red bumps. But the real threat posed by this pest is their ability to transmit numerous diseases. Mosquitoes can carry a variety of viruses including West Nile virus, malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and encephalitis.
Typically, both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices, but in many species the mouthparts of the females are adapted for piercing the skin of animal hosts and sucking their blood as ectoparasites. Both plant materials and blood are useful sources of energy in the form of sugars, and blood also supplies more concentrated nutrients, such as lipids, but the most important function of blood meals is to obtain proteins as materials for egg production.
Mosquitoes are perhaps the most dangerous pests in the world, killing more than 700,000 people annually. Some tips to avoid exposure to mosquito borne illness include:
Malaria is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. These types of parasites frequently infect mosquitoes, which then transmit it to humans through a bite. According to the CDC, there are five types of malaria parasites that can infect people:
Those who get malaria typically experience flu-like symptoms including fever, headaches, vomiting, and chills. Malaria symptoms can vary in severity, but immediate treatment is always advisable. Usually, symptoms appear approximately 10 days after infection; however, cases have been documented where symptoms appeared within a week or not for over a year.
It is possible for malaria to cause jaundice and anemia. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent the infection from becoming severe enough to cause kidney failure, seizures, or worse. If there is any suspicion that an illness might be malaria, immediate testing and treatment is necessary.
As stated by the CDC, malaria transmission in the United States can occur in the following ways:
While malaria can be deadly if untreated, it is treatable and extreme illness can be prevented. No matter what, prompt treatment is essential. The exact method for treatment can vary depending on several factors including where the infection occurred, the severity of infection, certain patient information, and more. The CDC has guidelines for clinicians on malaria treatment and other treatment resources.
Most often, when people in the US get malaria, it’s after travelling to a part of the world where malaria is more common. However, there have been multiple cases of locally acquired malaria in Sarasota County as of July 2023. The CDC is working with Florida’s department of health and all diagnosed patients have been treated. The last instance of locally acquired malaria in the US was twenty years ago in Palm Beach County. The CDC recommends preventing mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing DEET.
One mosquito-borne illness that has historically been much more common in the US than malaria is West Nile Virus. In fact, West Nile Virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the US. In 2020, the CDC reported that there were over 730 cases of West Nile Virus in the US.
Not everyone who gets West Nile Virus experiences symptoms. Most people who contract West Nile Virus don’t experience symptoms. The CDC states that eight out of ten people do not have symptoms. However, for those who do, West Nile Virus symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, aches, and pains, vomiting, and rash.
While there is no vaccine to prevent West Nile Virus for people, the disease can and should be monitored closely by a healthcare professional if diagnosed. According to the CDC, there is no designated West Nile Virus treatment, but that does not mean individuals shouldn’t seek medical assistance if they suspect they have it.
Currently, there is no evidence showing that West Nile Virus can be contracted by coming in direct contact with a bird (dead or alive) infected with West Nile Virus. However, birds are infected just like people are: through the bite of an infected mosquito. And of course, this should go without saying, but you should never pick up or touch a dead animal with your bare hands.
At Turner Pest Control, we have a few mosquito services available depending on which part of Florida you’re located in. All Turner locations have our mosquito misting services, and as of summer 2023, ThermaShield is available in Jacksonville and MistAway is available in Fort Myers.
Mosquito repellent spray is a good start for outdoor enthusiasts, but when it comes to how to keep mosquitoes away from your home and mosquito repellent for your yard, it’s best to get professional help. That’s where we come in!
Turner’s monthly mosquito misting service provides peace of mind for folks looking to enjoy their yard without bathing in DEET. Our experts will inspect your yard for harborage areas and conducive conditions for mosquito breeding before applying the most effective products available to prevent mosquitoes.
We provide free, customized quotes for our services so you’re only paying for what you need – nothing more.
For those in the Jacksonville area looking to upgrade their mosquito protection, we’re excited to offer ThermaShield. If you’re looking for how to keep mosquitoes away while sitting outside, this is the way to go. Here’s how it works:
If you’re located in the Fort Myers area, we’re excited to offer you a MistAway system set up. MistAway uses an installed nozzle circuit around the perimeter of an outdoor space to spray a fine mist two to three times a day during dawn, dusk, and evening hours. Each mist cycle lasts about 45-60 seconds, and the nozzles are spaced about 10 feet apart. It even has a connected mobile application, or remote control if you prefer, and can run on a schedule that fits your daily habits. So, if you’re looking for a way to keep mosquitoes away from your home or mosquito repellent for your yard, this is the system for you.
If you’re interested in any of our mosquito services, call us at (800)225-5305 or schedule a free inspection here. We look forward to hearing from you!