The City of Jacksonville covers all of Duval County, and thus contains everything from beaches and dry pine forest to salt marsh and cyprus swamps. We also run the entire range between urban and rural human environments. Mosquito Control has the task of controlling a large variety of species and this is a constant battle. To stay on top,we have a full Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) program with multiple lines of defense: surveillance and inspections, control, and education.
For treatments to be effective, it is important to know exactly what we are up against; there are twenty species of mosquito within Duval County that feed on humans, and all of them are a little bit different. To monitor them, there are sixteen permanent mosquito light traps throughout Jacksonville that are checked daily and seven battery powered traps that are placed and checked weekly. In addition, we place traps on an as-needed basis. Inspectors regularly investigate the Jacksonville area looking for mosquito breeding areas. These areas are documented and checked frequently, all to lower the population of adult mosquitoes.
There are several methods to control mosquitoes: source reduction, biological, and chemical.
Source Reduction involves eliminating mosquito-breeding areas. Some mosquito control districts create ditch systems to assist with water flow, decreasing breeding sites. Good drainage is important for decreasing mosquito breeding because flooded areas are breeding sites for many species. Other forms of source reduction can be done at home and should be practiced daily. Homeowners can control mosquitoes by not allowing containers, pools, gutters, etc. to hold water for long periods of time. It only takes a teaspoon of water for a mosquito to develop!
Biological control focuses on the larval stage of the mosquito lifecycle. Depending on the water source, different techniques are utilized. The methods include stocking water with mosquito fish (Gambusia species). These are small minnows commonly found in ditches around Jacksonville, and they are voracious predators of mosquito larvae. Other methods include applying briquettes or solutions that are composed of bacteria called Bacillus thuringensis israeliensis, or B.t.i. These bacteria are toxic to mosquito larvae, but are harmless to other wildlife including beneficial insects.
Chemical control is a last line of defense and there two main forms. Larvicides can be applied to water surfaces, stopping mosquito larvae from developing. Adulticides are sprayed into the air, targeting the adult mosquito.
Next to being mosquito free, it is important to be environmentally responsible. Chemical methods are used only if other methods are not possible. All pesticides used by Mosquito Control are EPA registered and considered safe for the environment when used according to the label. Equipment is carefully and regularly checked to make sure the appropriate amount is being applied. All supervisors and technicians are certified by the State of Florida for mosquito control.
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The final line of defense is educating the citizens of Jacksonville. Education programs include working with local schools to educate students to displays at local events. An informed public is our best ally in fighting mosquitoes.
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