Frequently Asked Questions

What attracts female mosquitoes to humans?

Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Hormones, Pheromones

What purposes do mosquitoes serve?

Mosquitoes are an important link in the food chain. Many animals depend on them as a source of food. During their aquatic stage, mosquito larvae provide food for the other aquatic insects such as, dragonfly nymphs and beetles, fish, frogs and other water-dwelling animals. As adults, mosquitoes are eaten by birds, bats, spiders, lizards and other insects. Mosquitoes do not feed on blood alone. The blood meal is taken by the female to produce eggs. Both males and females need liquid nourishment for food. Plants provide the source of liquid nourishment. Mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, honeydew, fruit juices and liquids oozing from injured plants. Because of this need for nourishment, mosquitoes are important pollinators of wildflowers during this feeding process.

Why can't mosquito control programs spray during the day?

Mosquitoes are more active in the evening, and people are less active. Also, the spray will be lifted quicker from the ground due to rising air currents during the day. Daytime spraying is also not practiced in order to avoid killing beneficial insects.

When can I expect to see a spray truck?

When conditions meet the required criteria, you should see a spray truck every 5 to 7 working days (weather permitting). Adulticide spraying can vary from year to year due to environmental conditions, which include rainfall amounts and tide changes.

Is the Spray harmful to people or pets?

The amount of mosquito control pesticide that is sprayed from the trucks is not harmful to people or pets. However, as with any pesticide, it is a good idea to keep exposure to a minimum. For this reason, children should not be allowed to follow the mosquito trucks as people often did in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Pets usually are repelled by the high pitch of the machine. Therefore, even if it seems that they are not spraying, the trucks should not be followed. Unless someone is very sensitive or allergic to pesticides, washing the skin with water is all that is needed. At the low insecticide dosage used, no symptoms should be experienced. People who are sensitive should call the office to notify us prior to any spraying.

Do mosquitoes carry AIDS?

No evidence to support that likelihood exists. If HIV infected blood is taken in by the mosquito, the virus is digested and quickly dies in the mosquito's stomach. If a mosquito takes a partial HIV infected blood meal from a person and then immediately feeds on an uninfected person, there would not be enough HIV particles present to transmit the disease.

What criteria are used when deciding when and where to spray?

Treatment for larval mosquitoes occurs only when problem species of mosquito larvae are found in large numbers. This involves constant monitoring of mosquito larvae habitats. Heavy rainfalls and exceptionally high tides can cause high increases in larval populations, which will soon advance to the adult stage where they become problems for humans. Spraying for adult mosquitoes occurs only after the targeted species of mosquito has reached a point where they have become a documented problem. In order to spray for mosquitoes, certain types of mosquitoes must be found in significant numbers.

Who oversees pesticide applications?

Florida mosquito control programs are established and operated according to the procedure given in the Mosquito Control Law, Chapter 388 Florida Statue (F.S.) and the Mosquito Control Rules, Chapter 5E-1 3, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 (FIFRA) requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) be certain that all personnel handling hazardous or restricted chemicals be trained to do so correctly and safely and that they be certified as pesticide applicators.

The state agency administering the certification is appointed by the governor of each state. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) is the lead agency. The law requires that every person applying pesticide be certified or be supervised by a certified applicator. Every Florida district and program goes to great lengths to see that all personnel are trained in proper handling, use and application of pesticides. There are training courses offered throughout the year and each winter there is a week long short course which offers job specific training. This training results in the certification of all mosquito control personnel.

Program directors must abide by a number of laws and regulations to provide for the safe use of pesticides by all employees. Directors are obligated to meet the requirements of the right to know law and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). Ultimately, directors are responsible for everything that goes on within their administration.

What if I am allergic to DEET?

There are many repellents that do not contain DEET that can be applied to the skin. Products with citronella (an oil extract from a lemon-scented grass) or eucalyptus can be purchased in health-food or camping/outdoor stores. Avon’s Skin-So-Soft, is widely used as a repellent but it is not effective for all people. These are good choices for children, although they must be reapplied more frequently. All of these are much less effective than DEET. If your child is under the age of 5 years old, always check with your family doctor before you apply any repellent.