Summer-Florida’s Crepuscular Smorgasbord
With Memorial Day on the horizon, summer beckons us forward for food, fun, and outdoor activities. Just remember that you may have some unwanted guests arrive at your weekend activities, particularly during the late afternoon to evening (or crepuscular) hours.
Insect Enemy #1: Biting flies, otherwise known as deer flies, horse flies, or yellow flies (Insect Family Tabanidae) are certainly an unpleasant backyard occurrence. In my Gainesville, Florida backyard, I have been pursued by various biting flies in the evening during the last week or so. To read more about biting flies, check out the 2011 UF/IFAS EDIS article by Squitier. Admittedly, I have not been wearing insect repellent and was subsequently a quite favorable subject for attack.
Insect Enemy #2: Mosquitoes, and specifically the Asian Tiger Mosquito. You can’t miss noticing the Asian Tiger Mosquito once you begin looking for the white coloration on the otherwise black legs. For more information, read the 2011 Featured Creatures by Rios and Mariuniak. From an insect vector standpoint, the Asian Tiger Mosquito could be considered more of a problem, as it can transmit eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), Cache Valley virus, dengue, St. Louis and LaCrosse encephalitis viruses. Although some reports of dengue transmission by Asian tiger mosquito exist, it should be noted that the yellow fever mosquito is considered to be the main vector of concern for dengue.
If biting flies and mosquitoes are a problem and a point of concern, the use of DEET (or diethyltoluamide) may be your most effective solution for a more pleasant outdoor evening. If you are interested in knowing more about the proper use and application of DEET, read the UF/IFAS 2011 EDIS publication by Koehler, Pereira, and Allen.