The mosquito is often jokingly referred to as Florida’s state bird. Those pesky insects love the tropical and humid conditions in the state. Female mosquitoes are the ones that love to suck on human blood, but only for breeding purposes. The male mosquito prefers plant nectar. Controlling the mosquito population might seem like a battle that can’t be won, but there are things you can do to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your backyard.
Mosquito bites aren’t only a pesky issue, but a public health threat, carrying malaria and the Zika virus. In Florida, mosquitoes are a year-round problem, but the population grows after heavy rains. Females lay eggs in standing water. You may notice black squirming larvae in puddles or ponds. Those are mosquito eggs. It takes about a week for the adult mosquitoes to hatch. Mosquitoes only live three to four weeks, but they can wreak havoc in that time.
Florida’s cities all have to deal with mosquitoes, but these five cities have the highest population of mosquitoes:
- Miami – Ft. Lauderdale
- Tampa – St. Petersburg
- Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
- West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce
How to Control Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are attracted to humidity and water. To control the population around your home, you should remove friendly conditions that draw the pests.
- Trim shrubbery that is lush and green. Mosquitoes will rest in dark places that are warm and moist.
- Remove standing water where females can lay eggs. It only takes an inch of water for mosquitoes to lay its larvae. Small toys, containers and puddles are just an invitation for them. If you have a pond, make sure the water is flowing at all times. Fish are another great tool to remove mosquito larvae.
- If you have a birdbath that you enjoy, change the water weekly to prevent mosquitoes from hatching.
- Keep your ponds algae free, instead use oxygenating plants to keep the water clear.
- Use mosquito repellent when you’re outdoors. Plant natural plants to repel mosquitos.
- Install a birdhouse or bat-house in your yard to attract mosquito predators.
FYI – Did you know that the welt you get from a mosquito isn’t actually from the bite? It’s the allergic reaction to the saliva which was injected under your skin to prevent your blood from clotting.
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