The first few cold snaps of the season have moved through Miami-Dade County, and we are well into winter.
For most of the United States, this time of year brings a virtual halt to mosquito activities, but not in Miami-Dade. The Mosquito Control Division continues to monitor, analyze, and mitigate the mosquito population, even if the mercury continues to occasionally dip into the 50s.
“With a year-round average temperature range between 70 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and more than 60 inches of rain per year, Miami-Dade provides an optimal habitat, not just for the native species of mosquitoes, but the invasive ones as well,” said Dr. William Petrie, Mosquito Control Division director. “This underscores the importance of control and protection measures, regardless of the time of year or season. We may be experiencing a lull right now, but it’s only a matter of time, and some species such as the Southern House Mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) actually thrive at this time of year.”
Miami-Dade Mosquito Control staffs a team of nearly 60 inspectors, laboratory technicians, environmental technicians, and administrative personnel, 365 days a year, with a fleet of almost 40 vehicles, including a brand-new Buffalo Turbine unit for large-area larviciding treatments, and a hydraulic spray truck for hard-to-reach standing water.
Mosquito Control conducts operations from its headquarters located in Doral, providing essential services to the entire county, monitoring a network of more than 250 mosquito traps placed throughout.
Here is how to protect yourself from mosquitoes when they inevitably return en masse:
• Cover exposed skin with an EPA-registered mosquito repellent powered by DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR-3535;
• Periodically clear out rain gutters to prevent clogging and the accumulation of water;
• Properly dispose of any unused items sitting in your yard and that may collect rain or irrigation water;
• Regularly check and maintain your swimming pool’s chemical levels and run your pump daily, preferably on a timer, even if not in use;
• Refresh the water set out for your backyard pets often;
• Use the larvicide Bti in dunk form to prevent breeding in birdbaths and fountains, and in granular form for your bromeliads, and
• Install mesh screening on windows, doors and patios; keep existing screens in a good state of repair.
Residents can report mosquito nuisance issues such as standing water and abandoned pools, and request mosquito inspections by calling 311, clicking www.miamidade.gov/311Direct or using the Miami-Dade Solid Waste Management Department mobile app available for iPhone and Android.
For additional tips and more information about Miami-Dade County’s Mosquito Control program, visit www.miamidade.gov/mosquito.