County’s proactive efforts continue to reduce risk to resident.  Pinellas County Mosquito Control will receive just over $106,000 in supplemental state funds for the month of August to combat the spread of the Zika virus. Pinellas County is receiving the funds as part of Governor Rick Scott’s executive order that allocated $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida. Each month, the risk across the state will be re-evaluated and funds may be reallocated.The funding award comes as Pinellas County Mosquito Control continues to aggressively and proactively target the potential transmitters of the Zika virus. Every day, the division works to reduce the mosquito population by treating known breeding areas by ground and by air, as well as respond to calls from residents with requests for localized evaluation and treatment.

“Pinellas County is pleased to leverage local and state resources in our fight against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases,” said Brian Lawton, Pinellas County Mosquito Control Program Coordinator. “We look forward to purchasing extra chemicals and equipment like hand foggers, backpack foggers and thermal foggers, equipping each technician in the field with what they need to continue doing this important job.”

Mosquito Control is encouraging citizens to do their part to reduce the mosquito population with some simple steps:

  • Empty water from items such as: flower pots, garbage cans, recycling containers, wheelbarrows, aluminum cans, boat tarps, old tires and buckets.
  • Flush birdbaths and wading pools weekly.
  • Remove ornamental bromeliads or flush and/or treat with BTI, a biological larvicide available at home stores.
  • Clean roof gutters, which can become clogged and hold water.
  • Change the water in outdoor pet dishes regularly.
  • Keep pools and spas chlorinated and filtered.
  • Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating fish.
  • Cover rain barrels with screening.
  • Check for standing water under houses, near plumbing drains, under air conditioner drip areas, around septic tanks and heat pumps.
  • Take steps to eliminate standing water, improve drainage and prevent future puddling.

Technicians note that many local homes have items or areas that contain standing water – ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes – contributing to the mosquito problem. Mosquito larvae only need a fraction of an inch of standing water to survive.

Mosquito bites can irritate skin and potentially spread disease. Residents are urged to protect their skin from mosquito bites when outdoors by wearing mosquito repellent (products containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus) and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants. Residents should also ensure that doors and windows are sealed properly, along with ensuring that screens are in place and intact. These simple, preventative measures can help reduce the number of mosquitoes in Pinellas County and minimize mosquito-borne diseases.

For more information about Pinellas County Mosquito Control, visit www.pinellascounty.org/resident/mosquito_control.htm.