TAMPA, Fla. - Mosquitoes are one of the biggest downsides to living in a tropical paradise, and they are everywhere right now.
Beyond just being highly annoying, many of the mosquitoes in the Tampa Bay Area can transmit dangerous diseases like dengue fever and EEE as well.
Luckily, there are simple ways to mosquito-proof our properties to help reduce the mosquito population.
Hillsborough Mosquito Management Supervisor Eric Long said it's important for everyone to learn how to DIY mosquito management. While he and his team can fight off mosquitoes by fogging neighborhoods from the street and treating the storm drains that run under them, they can't get to the breeding grounds forming in backyards.
"They like to hide in very dense and shaded areas, which is what a lot of people have in their backyards," said Long. "It only takes a couple of days to have a big problem on your hands."
That's because things like potted plants, children's toys, or debris that we forgot was still lying around can turn into the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
"Just a little bit of water on the inside of a tarp or cover can cause a thousand mosquitoes to breed at one time," said Long.
And even when we think we're doing the right thing by turning buckets, bins and pots upside down, Long said we might still be unwittingly contributing to the problem.
"Simple things like buckets or coolers have little nooks and crevices on the inside of the rim where thousands of mosquitoes can spawn. Just that little bit of water can be detrimental to your backyard," said Long.
Long recommends storing any items that can collect rainwater indoors or in a shed. Drilling holes in the bottom of pots and planters is also an easy fix. It'll help keep your plants from drowning and mosquitoes from breeding.
Long also cautions that even our plants themselves can become breeding pools. Bromeliads, with their numerous leaves and cup-like blooms are essentially mosquito nurseries.
"They're typically the number one cause of container breeding mosquitoes that we find," said Long.
Trees and root systems can also form problematic areas where water pools and mosquitoes move in.
A quick walk-through of your yard after a rain will ensure that you find any pooling water before mosquitoes do. Long also recommends using long-lasting mosquito dunks or tablets, like Natular DT, to treat areas designed to catch rainwater. Gutters, French drains and catch basins can all become hot spots if left untreated for mosquito larvae.
To learn more about ways to control mosquitoes in your yard, report a problem area, or request a free inspection, click here.