Manatee officials: Mosquito population down thanks to new traps

- In an effort to take a bite out of the county’s large mosquito population, Manatee County Mosquito Control is using new traps to kill the bloodsuckers before they can take flight.

“We are reducing and keeping the mosquito population at a low enough level that we’re keeping our residents happy,” said Dr. Eva Buckner with the department.

She explained how it works. 

“First, an adult female mosquito is attracted to the trap and she wants to lay her eggs in the water,” Dr. Buckner said.

As she flies in, she comes into contact with some netting and picks up larvicide and fungus before laying eggs in the trap.

“That larvicide that’s attached to her will deposit in the water and it’s potent enough to kill any immature mosquitoes in the water as well,” she said. “Any eggs that hatch as mosquito larvae are going to die before they can emerge as adults.”

The larvicide will be transferred to any water where the insect lays her eggs, too. 

“It’s going to get in the water, kill any mosquitoes developing in that water, and because she’s already picked up that fungus, she’s going to die within seven to ten days,” Dr. Buckner explained. 

Over 600 traps were set up in The Village area of Longboat Key, where there are around 215 homes.

Jim Harwood’s home is one of them. His property has two of the traps around its perimeter. Harwood says he has seen a huge difference since the traps were installed. 

“A lot of times when you walk out your door, they’re militant,” Harwood said. “You notice them on your ankles, your arms, immediately. Since they’ve started the project, we haven’t noticed it.”

Dr. Buckner says complaints to mosquito control have drastically reduced this year, compared to last.

“It’s adding an additional tool to our toolbox that might allow us to focus in on this particular species and do a better job of killing it,” Dr. Buckner said.

Unfortunately, these traps aren't available to the public. They are are only available to mosquito control districts and pest control companies.

The county says it checks the traps once a month.

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