The City of Jacksonville covers a large diversity of terrain, from beaches and marshes to swamps and pastures. Mosquito Control has the task of controlling a large variety of species and this is a constant battle. To stay on top, multiple lines of defense are employed: surveillance and inspections, control, and education.
For treatments to be effective, it is important to know exactly what we are up against. There are more than 30 mosquito light traps throughout Jacksonville that are checked daily, monitoring the mosquito populations. 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: biological, source reduction, and chemical.
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. 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.
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 to decreasing mosquito breeding. Other forms of source reduction are more common 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!
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. 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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