Pinellas County leaders hold mosquito control awareness meeting in Clearwater

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Pinellas County Mosquito Control is using National Mosquito Control Awareness Week to educate people about mosquitoes. Officials want to encourage the public to help control the mosquito population.

Mary Ellen James can actually sit on her porch in comfort. She’s not swatting away mosquitoes, all thanks to mosquito control.

“They come about once a month and check the tires or any standing water or buckets,” James said.

With cases of the Zika virus rising, mosquito control is out inspecting more properties, day and night. “By air, water, by ground. We’re out there making it happen,” Rob Krueger with Pinellas County Mosquito Control said.

Experts held a brief meeting Thursday morning and displayed different types of mosquitoes that live in the Tampa Bay area. That includes the Aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus.

Mosquito control sprays during the day, using a helicopter when needed. Crews also use fog trucks at night.

A mosquito only needs a small amount of water to lay thousands of eggs. Once the eggs hatch, it only takes a few days for them to become larvae. After five to seven days, the larvae turn into adults.

Officials continue to stress the best way to fight mosquitoes is to remove any standing water from around your home.

They also point to three Ds to follow. Dress wisely, defend with DEET and drain standing water. Mosquito control officials said they’re ready for necessary action even if lawmakers never pass funding to help battle the bug.

“We have a lot of the necessary equipment already to handle the situation. If we ended up getting some of that money, that would be something that we can use somehow,” Krueger said.

The Pinellas County Mosquito Control hotline is (727) 464-7503.

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