Recent storms and rainfall in Central Florida have Orange County Mosquito Control officials working hard to protect the community from mosquito-borne illness and nuisance mosquitoes. In light of elevated rain, requests from residents to treat mosquitoes in local neighborhoods and communities, particularly in east Orange County, have significantly increased. Kelly Deutsch, manager for Orange County Mosquito Control, reports that while the division typically receives about 10 calls a day from residents in need of assistance, calls have increased up to tenfold.
While not all mosquitoes carry illness or disease, rising populations alone can be a nuisance and distract from the ability to enjoy the outdoors. In addition to their critical role in public health, mosquito control personnel help maintain a comfortable outdoor environment for all by reducing rising mosquito populations.
Orange County personnel use several techniques to help control the various mosquito species in the area, while being sensitive to the environment and other insects. These efforts strategically take place during the evening and do not include the application of materials known to be harmful to humans, animals or other insects, including bees when applied according to the label.
- Treatment or elimination of identified breeding environments for mosquitoes.
- Targeted spraying (where a technician applies a control material to a specific area).
- The deployment of specially equipped trucks able to apply larger volumes of material through neighborhoods and rural communities.
- Finally, in the event that mosquito populations cannot be managed on the ground, or include large rural areas, the county has the ability to aerial spray through aircraft.
At this time, Orange County Mosquito personnel ask residents to Tip, Toss and Cover!
- Tip over or toss containers like flower pots or tin cans that collect small amounts of water – many mosquitoes, particularly those that can transmit Zika virus, dengue fever and chikungunya, develop in an environment as small as a bottle cap.
- Cover skin with clothing and/or repellent that contains DEET. Cover windows and open doors with screens to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.
- Call 311 if rising mosquito populations become nuisance or with questions.
To date, there have been no reports of the Zika virus transmitted in Orange County. However, officials remain ever vigilant and emphasize that Zika is only one of several mosquito-borne illnesses known to reach Central Florida. While mosquito-borne illness is most commonly thought of in terms of how it affects people, other animals like dogs, cats and livestock can also be at risk. Heartworm disease found primarily in dogs is spread through mosquitoes, as is equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne illness that affects horses and humans.