Frequently Asked Questions – Mosquito

What is larvaciding?

Larvaciding is the treatment of immature mosquitoes called larvae. Treating larvae eliminates mosquitoes before they can bite and spread diseases. Larvaciding is done by hand, backpack or helicopter. Pinellas County uses mostly biologicals such as mosquito-specific soil bacterias and Methoprene.

What is adulticiding?

Adulticiding is the treatment of adult mosquitoes. Pinellas County only adulticides by ultra-low volume (ULV) truck-mounted systems known as foggers. The systems produce a fine mist, or fog, that kills mosquitoes only on contact. Only a shot glass amount of product is used over roughly a football field-sized area, and it breaks down within hours. Adulticiding is done in the early morning hours between 2-6 a.m. to avoid people and pollinators.

Are treatments harmful to people or pets?

All products used are rigorously tested, registered and routinely re-evaluated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The label legally dictates how and when they can be used and is written based on those findings. When used according to the label, these products do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Additionally, our staff is required to be licensed to properly apply these products.

Is there a schedule for fogging?

Fogging is never done on a schedule. The decision to fog is based on surveillance data from mosquito traps, sentinel chickens, the Florida Department of Health and inspections around the county performed by our Mosquito Control technicians.

How can I get my neighborhood fogged?

Fogging is never done by request. When a Mosquito Control technician comes for a service request, they will take data on the number and species of mosquitoes present. This is looked at along with other surveillance data to determine if legal requirements are met to fog and if it’s necessary. The most common mosquito species we find at service requests are container breeders, which are not effectively controlled by fogging. Check out our prevention and protection tips for more information.

Do you do aerial spraying?

We do not spray aerially. All adulticiding is done by truck-mounted systems.

What is the helicopter spraying?

We do not perform any liquid aerial spraying. The helicopter is used to larvicide mosquito breeding habitat that is too large or difficult to reach on foot. All products used with the helicopter are in a granular form.

Why is the helicopter flying so low?

The helicopter flies low to ensure that the granular larvicide stays within the target area and to reduce the possibility of drift. It also banks sharply to remain over the target area.

Do you spray for no-see-ums?

We do not control spray for no-see-ums or other problematic insect species. We specifically treat for mosquitoes due to their impact on public health.

Are these mosquitoes covering my house?

Nope! Mosquitoes do not cluster together on buildings. They are likely aquatic midges, which are most common from April through November. Although they are annoying, they are completely harmless and do not bite.

Do mosquitoes "nest" in the vegetation in my yard?

Mosquitoes will use shaded spaces to temporarily rest, including vegetation, but they do not “nest.”

Are bromeliads really a problem for breeding mosquitoes?

Bromeliads are popular with both homeowners and mosquitoes! If you choose not to get rid of your bromeliads, you have several options to keep them mosquito-free. You can flush them with hose water once a week or treat the tanks (center that holds water) with Bti once a month.

What is Bti?

Bti is a mosquito-specific soil bacterium that kills only mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes have a unique gut pH that causes the release of a toxin from the bacteria once ingested. The toxin creates holes in the mosquito’s gut. The bacteria is safe for other insects, people and animals. Bti is a great way to treat standing water around your home that you can’t dump. It is available at home improvement stores in dunk and granular form.

Why do I have "ankle-biter" mosquitoes?

The pesky “ankle-biters” are two species that have adapted to live in man-made containers and areas of standing water around your home. You’ll notice that they can be active both during the day and at dusk. If you find them, check your yard for any standing water and encourage your neighbors to do the same. They don’t fly far from where they breed, roughly the distance of three houses. Because they are active during the day, fogging is relatively ineffective. Dumping or treating standing water is the best way to eliminate these mosquitoes. Check out our prevention and protection tips for more information.

Can I control mosquitoes with a bug zapper?

No, mosquitoes need additional stimuli beyond the light to be effectively attracted. Bug zappers indiscriminately attract and kill other insects including beneficial ones.

Don't bats or purple martins control mosquitoes?

Bats and birds, such as purple martins, will opportunistically feed on mosquitoes, but they only make up a small fraction of their diet. They do not make an appreciable difference in mosquito populations.

Can I repel mosquitoes with plants like citronella?

Although some plants, such as citronella, do have chemicals that repel mosquitoes, they are not released unless the plant is damaged. For the best protection, use a repellent containing Deet, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus and wear loose, light-colored long sleeves and pants. Check out our prevention and protection tips for more information.

Do you give away mosquito fish?

Yes! Call us at (727) 464-7503 to request mosquito fish. A technician will come to your home to ensure the best placement of the fish and attend to any other mosquito issues you may have.

Can I really get a mosquito-borne illness here?

Yes! Multiple mosquito-borne illnesses consistently cycle in Florida, including West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Additionally, travel-related mosquito-borne illness cases occur and pose a risk for infecting our mosquito populations, causing local cases. We have the mosquitoes that transmit Malaria, Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya. If you believe you have a mosquito-borne illness, please contact the Florida Health Department at (727) 824-6932.