Here in the Southeast we can usually depend on plenty of afternoon thunderstorms to bring ample precipitation to our yards. But along with the natural benefits of rain, come a few problems as well. Summer rains leave standing water that can create a mosquito breeding ground.
There are 80 species of mosquitoes in Florida and they vary in biting preferences, breeding habits and location around the state. The Florida Medical Entomology Lab (FMEL) has produced a database of these species and their distribution, habits and importance.
There are a few simple precautions you can take to help avoid mosquitoes:
- Make sure windows and doors are closed and screens are well-sealed.
- Avoid working or playing outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- When outdoors, be sure to wear loose fitting light-colored clothes, and apply an insect repellent containing DEET.
- Use mosquito netting to protect children under 2 months of age.
- Discard old cans, tires, bottles, broken appliances and other items that can accumulate stagnant water.
- Remove stagnant water at least once per week from bird baths, kiddie pools, outdoor toys or potted plants.
- Make sure gutters drain properly so that they do not hold stagnant water and that gutter drains are not clogged.
- Cover boats and stored vehicles with tarps to prevent water accumulation.