Florida has more mosquitoes than any other state, which can make combating these disease-carrying pests a huge headache. If you’re looking for the best year-round solutions to your mosquito problem, Gregory’s Pest Control has created the ultimate guide to effective mosquito pest control for Florida residents and their families.
If mosquitoes aren’t your most hated pest, they’re certainly in the top three. At their best, they’re an annoying, rapidly multiplying species that attracts other insects like spiders and dragonflies. At their worst, they’re disease-carrying vectors that inflict serious, sometimes fatal illnesses like dengue, West Nile Virus, Zika, and malaria with a single bite.
As the breeding ground for over 80 different species of mosquitoes – more than any other state – Florida has a mosquito problem. Whether you live in North, Central, or South Florida areas like Broward, Palm Beach, or Coral Springs, it is critical to take mosquito control measures in and around the home to reduce the potential for infestation within the local community.
To help Floridian homeowners take the most effective steps to reduce or eliminate a mosquito infestation, Gregory’s Pest Control experts have put together the ultimate guide for mosquito pest control. Keep reading to see the top tips and tricks most clients overlook and get a definitive answer on how to keep your home mosquito-free.
When Is Mosquito Season in South Florida?
Because Florida has two separate climate zones, there are slight differences in the timing of the mosquito seasons for South Florida and Central and North Florida. South Florida has a tropical climate and gets warmer much earlier in the year than the Central and North regions. This means residents in South Florida can start seeing mosquitoes as early as February when temperatures hit 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the state usually follows in March, with mosquito activity hitting its peak in late spring and summer, then winding down in late Autumn.
Most Popular Misconceptions About Mosquitoes
You might be surprised to learn how much mosquito misinformation is buzzing around. Between poorly informed articles and word of mouth, it can be tough to separate truth from fiction and practice mosquito control right. We debunk the most common ones right here.
- Misconception #1: All mosquitoes bite – When you’ve spent an evening in your backyard getting bitten all over, it’s easy to assume any mosquitoes you’ve spotted could be the culprit. However, male mosquitoes do not bite. All mosquito bites and any resulting diseases come from the females of the species, who use blood to produce eggs.
- Misconception #2: Persons get bitten more because of their blood type – You’ve probably heard that persons with type O blood get bitten more, but considering it’s the most common blood type, and The Florida Department of Health does not recognize this correlation, it’s hard to say whether this is 100% fact. What we know attracts mosquitoes is sweat, heat, and CO2. The amount of skin you have exposed also gives them more places to target.
- Misconception #3: Mosquitoes avoid high-frequency sounds – There are several anti-mosquito apps on Google Play and App Store that claim to repel mosquitoes using high-frequency sounds. As far as the science goes, these do not work.
- Misconception #4: Mosquitoes are just annoying pests – The CDC has recognized the mosquito as the world’s deadliest animal, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives a year.
- Misconception #5: We should get rid of them – Mosquitoes are a critical part of the food chain, and many birds and reptiles depend on them as a food source. That’s why effective mosquito pest control focuses on keeping them away from humans.
Are You a Mosquito Magnet? Find Out Why
If it seems mosquitoes are particularly drawn to you even with others nearby, several factors might be pulling them in your direction.
- Your temperature and breathing – Whether you naturally run hot, or you’ve just had a workout, mosquitoes naturally gravitate to higher levels of heat and carbon dioxide –things you release in higher quantities after exertion. Speaking of which –
- You sweat a lot – Mosquitoes are attracted to the presence of certain compounds like lactic acid that are present in sweat. You’re much more likely to sweat during the hotter months, which are the peak of mosquito activity.
- You’re easy to see – Are you wearing dark or contrasting colors, or moving around a lot? Mosquitoes find it much easier to sense your presence when you stand out from your surroundings. Darker clothing can also trap heat from the sun, raising your temperature.
- You smell like their favorite flowers – Certain chemical cues in orchids, jasmine, and other flowers attract mosquitoes. You might be wearing a scent that a mosquito can’t stay away from.
Some sources say that drinking beer also attracts mosquitoes, though that may be the ethanol it places in your sweat, which then becomes even more attractive to mosquitoes.
Mosquito-Borne Diseases Here in South Florida
Florida is home to over 80 different species of mosquitoes. Unfortunately, this includes some of the deadliest species in the world, such as the Yellow Fever, Asian Tiger, and Southern House variants. As a result, Florida residents are most likely to contract these three viruses:
- West Nile Virus (WNV) – Though most persons won’t develop symptoms, Florida’s most common mosquito-borne disease can present with aches and pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and even a rash. Even if it does not progress into its more life-threatening attack on the central nervous system, recovery can take weeks or months.
- Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) – With a 30% fatality rate, EEE is a rare but serious disease that causes brain inflammation and can appear within a week and a half of a bit from an infected mosquito. Symptoms include headache, fever, neck stiffness, vomiting, disorientation, and seizures.
- St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) – Similar to EEE, SLE can result in swelling and inflammation of the brain, progressing from headaches, fevers, and other symptoms into tremors or a coma before eventually becoming fatal. Mortality increases with age.
While other mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue and Zika are diagnosed within the state, many of the cases are brought back by persons and animals who have recently been overseas. Regardless, mosquito control should still be practiced at home.
How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in South Florida
If you’re currently dealing with a mosquito control problem in Florida, depending on the magnitude, you have three options.
- Natural Mosquito Treatments – This type of mosquito treatment involves homemade mixtures of lemon eucalyptus oil, crushed lavender, or other mosquito-repelling substances being used to spray breeding and adult areas. Persons may also grow flowers and plants like rosemary and catnip that naturally keep mosquitoes away from the home.
- Chemical Mosquito Treatments – If you haven’t seen results or have an infestation problem too large to address with natural treatments, stronger commercial products containing insecticide could be your next step. However, due to the danger they present you, your family, and any pets if used incorrectly, you should exercise caution.
- Call a Professional – Regardless of the size of your mosquito problem, professionals from reputable mosquito control companies can offer 360 protection. They do this by treating your current problem, putting preventative measures in place to prevent another infestation, and offering maintenance check-ins throughout the year.
Natural Mosquito Control Methods: Do They Work?
The effectiveness of a mosquito treatment largely depends on the magnitude of the current problem. If you’ve had a few mosquitoes after recent rain, or managed to destroy a breeding site and are now getting rid of the adult stragglers, a homemade spray or some mosquito-repelling plants can be enough to nip any possible infestation in the bud.
However, if it has been several weeks or months, and you’re still dealing with bites despite everything you’ve tried, you not only run the risk of a larger infestation but being bitten by an infected mosquito. When using natural treatments, keep a close eye on how quickly new mosquitoes appear.
How Does Professional Mosquito Control Work?
Not all mosquito control companies are the same, so it’s important to know what to look for when getting professional mosquito pest control, especially in Florida. A bad treatment plan can negatively affect your health and quality of life. To avoid this, ensure your provider ticks all these boxes:
- Licensed/Certified – While eco-friendly mosquito treatment options are available, a professional still has to be trained to handle pesticides in a way that is safe for clients. Do not hire a professional without a valid license.
- Provides Tailored Mosquito Treatments – Not all homes and infestations are the same. A professional should not agree to come through and start treatment immediately without assessing your property and walking through the issue.
- Is Familiar with Your Area – Factors like where you live in Florida or your proximity to certain habitats will affect the type of mosquitoes and diseases you’re most vulnerable to. Your pest control professional should be able to work accordingly.
- Offers Ongoing Protection – Mosquitoes are a year-round problem in Florida, and without the right treatment and ongoing protection, will cost more in the long run. Choose a provider that will help keep your home as mosquito-free as possible.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until the Peak of Mosquito Season to Call Professional Mosquito Control
Mosquito infestations don’t develop overnight. There’s typically a period where they’re able to locate suitable breeding areas, begin infiltrating the home to bite and drink blood, then continue to lay eggs as other mosquitoes grow, mature, and join the process. Female mosquitoes lay roughly 100 eggs at a time, and a mosquito egg can become an adult in just ten days. In the space of a month, you could have several hundred mosquitoes flying around.
Coming out of the winter season, mosquitoes start getting active as early as February. If you wait until their season peaks in the humid heat of June to September to find a professional, when they’ve had months to breed and infest your home, the problem might be worse and more expensive than if you’d gone for an earlier treatment. The earlier you protect your home, the safer you’ll be.
Mosquito Control Tips and Tricks
Effective mosquito control requires a combination of preventative and corrective measures that get rid of both their breeding grounds and the adults. Here’s a list of mosquito control tips you can do right now:
How to Stop Mosquitoes from Breeding
- Eliminate Standing Water and Leaks – How much standing water is too much? Considering mosquitoes can breed inside a bottle cap of water, it ALL has to go. Ensure there’s nowhere in your yard for water to sit still, or any leaks in and around the home that could cause standing water to collect somewhere. Recheck your yard often, especially after it rains, and don’t forget those rain gutters.
- Clear All Tall Grass and Overgrown Brush – Sunlight can dry up smaller pockets of water, but be sure to remove any unnecessary vegetation casting cool shade in the corners of your yard that standing water may be hiding.
- Toss Your Junk and Debris – Whether it’s an old tire or swing set piece, if it’s been outside long enough to collect standing water, you should probably get rid of it.
- Cover any open containers – Don’t leave pet bowls, old birdbaths, garbage bins, or any container that could collect standing water uncovered. If they have to be uncovered, empty them frequently or change the water often.
How to Get Rid of Adult Mosquitoes
- Store-Bought Traps and Products – There are several options for getting rid of mosquitoes, from swatters and zappers to sticky papers and repellent coils. While they tend to treat smaller areas, they can eliminate many mosquitoes over time.
- Insect Screens and Nets – Putting screens over your doors and windows allow you to get fresh air and light without allowing mosquitoes to fly in from outside. You can also place meshes and nets over your patio and other outdoor seating areas.
- Mosquito Repellent – Mosquito repellents containing DEET offer some of the best protection from mosquito and other insect bites, and its use is encouraged by the CDC, though there are some risks. Natural repellents including essential oils and plants can be bought or made but may not work as well.
- Pest Control Sprays – Commercial mosquito sprays can be bought and used around the home but should be handled with extreme caution, as they can be harmful to people and animals.
When to Call for Professional Mosquito Control
If you’ve taken all the measures we’ve listed and still have a mosquito issue, or you’ve reduced their numbers but they’re still buzzing and biting, it’s time to reach out to a professional mosquito control company. Getting expert help is the best and fastest way to eliminate these pests and improve your safety and quality of life without zero hassle.
The safest, most effective way to eliminate and repel mosquitoes from your Florida home is to get a full-service treatment from a professional mosquito and pest control provider.
Gregory’s Pest Control, based out of Coral Springs, Florida, has over thirty years of experience protecting families in Broward, Palm Beach, and other South Florida areas from mosquito infestations. We also have a barrier protection program to eliminate breeding areas and an advanced maintenance service that sees one of GPC’s expert personnel returning for a checkup every 21-30 days.