By: Michael Mut, Miami-Dade County Public Information Officer
Sun, family, friends, fun. The summer months are approaching and weather conditions in Miami-Dade are becoming ideal for cookouts and pool parties. Here are seven ways to keep mosquitoes from ruining your outdoor fun:
- Drain standing water.
Back yards are often filled with items than can collect water and serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Make sure you check for, and drain or treat with larvicide, the following usual suspects: barbeques, ponds, buckets, tires, toys, wheelbarrows, water gardens, sumps, open boats, items covered with tarps, tree holes, etc. Use screens to cover rain barrels.
- Empty or clean birdbaths, fountains and pet water dishes regularly.
Mosquitoes—particularly the pesky Aedes aegypti species which can carry the Yellow Fever and Zika viruses—have a very short life cycle, and can mature from egg to adult within a week, sometimes less. This means you should change out the water in your pet’s outdoor dish and in birdbaths once or twice weekly. An alternate to flushing out ornamental fountains and birdbaths is to treat them with Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), a common larvicide found locally at hardware stores in granule and briquette forms. Bti is harmless to humans, four-legged animals and birds.
- Clear your rain gutters.
Miami-Dade’s rainy climate means many homes have rain gutters to keep water clear from windows and doorways. But falling leaves and debris can accumulate and clog portions of the gutters, leading to small, standing pools of water. Mosquitoes love to lay eggs in rain gutters, so check them and clear them periodically.
- Cover your exposed skin with clothing or repellent.
Another effective way to fight the bite is to cover up your skin with long pants, long sleeves, socks, shoes and hats, especially at dawn and dusk. Apply mosquito repellent to your skin, using proven-to-be-effective products containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Use mosquito netting to protect infants younger than two months. Repellents containing picaridin are safe for use on clothing.
- Maintain your bromeliads (and other water-holding plants) on a regular basis.
An ornamental plant found throughout the area, bromeliads are popular because they are attractive and easy to maintain. Unfortunately, something else loves bromeliads: mosquitoes. In Miami-Dade County, several species of the pesky pests lay their eggs in bromeliads, including the Aedes aegypti. The good news is you can prevent them from doing so by treating the water that accumulates in your bromeliads with Bti granules.
- Maintain the water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools, and empty plastic swimming pools not in use.
There’s nothing appealing about a swamp-thing-green-colored swimming pool. You should check for and maintain proper levels of pool water chemistry weekly, or hire a professional to do it for you. Using an electronic timer to run your pool pump daily and keeping your pool filter clean are also essential to keeping mosquitoes away. If you use a small plastic pool for the kiddies, be sure to empty and store it upside-down or vertically when not in use.
- Use the County’s 311 Contact Center.
The 311 Contact Center provides a fast, simple and convenient way for residents to get information about local government services, including mosquito control. 311 is conveniently accessible by phone, Internet and mobile app, and you can report a mosquito nuisance, or request an inspection of your property by using it. The county’s Contact Center agents speak English, Spanish and Creole.
For more mosquito control information and tips and, please visit www.miamidade.gov/mosquito or call 311.
Above content provided by Miami-Dade County.