Hillsborough County hands out free mosquito fish to combat pest problem

Image 1 of 6

The past few weeks have brought with them some much-needed rain. However, that rain has also created the perfect breeding ground for some very unwanted pests.

"We went from almost a drought, to about the last two weeks with a lot of rain. So these containers that people have in their yard are going to fill up with water, and that creates a perfect environment for mosquitos to come in and lay their eggs," said RJ Montgomery with Hillsborough County's Mosquito Management Services. 

In order to combat the problem, Hillsborough County is offering a free solution. On Saturday, they handed out free mosquito fish in an effort to fight back against the nuisance bugs in an environmental-friendly way.  

"Take these fish, put them in containers that they want to have water in," said Montgomery. "The mosquito fish will eat the larvae when the mosquitos lay their eggs, and it's a perfect biological control."

What mosquito fish lack in size, they make up for in numbers. 

"Some of the fish have a dark spot on the belly. Those are females, and they're live bearers," explained Montgomery. "So, a lot of the fish that we send out will give birth pretty quickly."

A few of those fish can multiply into a couple hundred, killing off the mosquitos before they're old enough to take flight. 

"We have several ponds around, and so I'm going to put those in my pond and get a head start on the mosquitos," said Ken Hoying, a Sun City Center resident. 

With Florida's rainy season and long summer months, mosquitos have been a constant, familiar problem for residents. 

"It's gotten so bad, that last year when I had my door open, they were breeding in my water dish for the dogs," said Tracy Czyz, a Brandon resident. 

That's why, for those who stopped by to pick up some fish for themselves, they all had just one wish. 

"I hope they breed and go crazy and kill all the mosquitos," Hoying said. 

If you missed Saturday's event, the county still plans to host more in the coming weeks. 
Residents will need to provide a valid photo I.D. to pick up a bag of fish.

All events will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until supplies run out. 

June 29 – Northdale Park, 15550 Spring Pine Drive in Tampa
July 13 – Tournament Sportsplex of Tampa Bay, 9330 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa
July 27 – Southshore Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin
August 10 – Maureen B. Gauzza Public Library, 11211 Countryway Blvd. in Tampa
August 24 – Mike E. Sansone Community Park, 1702 N. Park Road in Plant City
September 7 – Gardenville Recreation Center, 6215 Symmes Road in Gibsonton
September 21 – Picnic Island Park, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd. in Tampa