Tackling the persistent (pesky) mosquito
Just when you thought you could put away the mosquito repellent, it happens again: annoying mosquitoes everywhere, or so it seems.
The tiny but mighty pest continues to be an issue in some areas of our county and it is important that you stay vigilant in protecting yourself, your family, and your pets from the biting insects.
The Florida Department of Health has recently issued an advisory due to an increase in mosquito borne disease activity in several sentinel chicken flocks located around Sarasota County. The flocks have tested positive for the West Nile virus infection, which might mean an increased risk to humans in the county.
There currently is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for the West Nile virus. So, it is important to protect yourself from getting bit as well as being vigilant about eliminating standing water around your home. Here are some suggestions to help minimize your chances of coming in contact with the insects:
- Wear long pants, socks, shoes, and loose-fitting long sleeves when outdoors.
- Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors; so try to wear light-colored clothing.
- When outside, wear mosquito repellents approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These EPA-approved repellents contain the active ingredients DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (also labeled as para-menthane-diol).
- Always read the label prior to using a product. If applying on children, make sure the product is age-appropriate.
- Note that insect repellents are not recommended for children younger than 2 months old.
- Repellents should be applied to exposed skin or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
Around the home
- Be sure to drain any standing water around your home. Examples include water in flower pots, toys, water-holding plants, tarp creases, rain gutters, old tires, buckets, and garbage cans.
- Drain, scrub, rinse, and refill bird baths and outdoor pet dishes weekly.
- Obtain mosquito fish, free of charge, from Sarasota County Mosquito Management Services for small ponds or rain barrels.
- Place Mosquito Bits®, Mosquito Dunks®, or other biological mosquito control products in areas of standing water, unkept swimming pools, or storm drains with standing water.
- Repair or replace ripped screen on windows or lanai.
To report a mosquito issue in your area, call 941-861-5000.