Florida is home to the mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever, malaria, chikungunya, dengue and various encephalitis viruses. Over the years, the state has made great progress in reducing the population of these mosquitoes thereby preventing epidemics of these diseases from occurring. In the early 1900’s hundreds of miles of ditches were dug to drain swamps and pesticide spray programs were initiated. Today, both a research facility and sixty one (61) Mosquito Control Districts exist that utilize water management, surveillance, collection programs as well as chemical and biological control methods to kill mosquitoes and other insects that breed so prolifically as to be a serious nuisance or a health hazard to the public.
When Associations implement mosquito control programs they usually do so to prevent outbreaks of Blind Mosquitoes. Blind Mosquitoes also known as midges, are technically not mosquitoes. Although similar, they do not bite, suck blood or transmit disease. However, because they emerge from lakes in such large numbers they make it impossible to enjoy the outdoors. As such, many Associations find it necessary to apply larvacides to their lakes to supplement any work done, if any, by their Mosquito Control District.
This year, outbreaks of Zika virus have made national news. In South Florida the mosquito that transmits the disease occurs year round thereby making our area particularly vulnerable to the virus. Even so, large scale epidemics such as those occurring in South America are unlikely to happen in the mainland United States simply because most Americans work and live in sealed air conditioned buildings and homes. That being said, Associations still may want to protect their residents from mosquito bites.
Unfortunately, control methods for this mosquito differ from that of Blind Mosquitoes, and as such, treatment of lakes for Blind Mosquitoes will be ineffective in controlling this pest. This is due to the insects preferred breeding sites. Rather than laying their eggs in lakes, theses mosquitoes breed in man-made containers that are located adjacent to homes. Nearly any size container can be a breeding site as they can multiply in as little as one half inch of water. Because of this, control is best achieved when it is performed on an individual homeowner’s property.