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Miami-Dade extends mosquito control measures through the winter months

CBS News Live
CBS News Miami Live

MIAMI - When you think of 'mosquito season' in South Florida, it's generally in the spring and summer due to all the rain.

That's when you hear the most about neighborhoods being sprayed for the little buggers.    

However, in Miami-Dade, the county's Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division has extended its spraying into the winter months.

"With the County still under a mosquito-borne illness alert by the Florida Department of Health, and the continued threat of locally spread dengue, spray routes targeting mosquito larvae are important to control the mosquito population," the division said in a statement.

In addition to the Little River, Wynwood, and Miami Beach areas, which have been the traditional mosquito hotspots, the areas still receiving biweekly truck spray treatments include Allapattah, Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, Homestead, Indian Creek, Kendall, Miami Gardens, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, Pinecrest, Tamiami, and West Miami.

"Whether we are reducing the breeding, spraying to combat mosquito numbers, or using repellent to avoid bites, preemptive measures remain the most effective when it comes to mosquito control," said division Director Dr. William Petrie.

In addition to the spraying, the county also provides free inspections of homes and businesses by trained and licensed professionals. They look for mosquito breeding and adult mosquitoes on site and eliminate them if found.

The county monitors the mosquito population through the use of more than 300 traps. The data collected includes population numbers, species, gender, and whether the mosquitoes are carrying communicable diseases such as dengue, West Nile, chikungunya, or Zika. This information also steers treatment applications and provides invaluable information for scientific research.

County residents can do their part to help keep mosquitoes from breeding and biting:

  • Drain any standing water found on your property that can facilitate breeding
  • Cover exposed skin with clothing or a mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR-3535
  • Discard any objects not in use and that can pool water, such as toys, planters, tires, or home appliances
  • Install fine mesh screening on doors, windows, porches, or patios, and keep them in a good state
  • Periodically, clear out rain gutters to keep them from clogging and facilitating breeding
  • Change out the water in outdoor pet dishes and birdbaths once a week in order to disrupt the mosquito life cycle
  • Ensure that car and boat tarps are installed and or stored properly so that they do not accumulate rain or irrigation water
  • Add sand to tree and lawn holes to prevent them from collecting water  
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