According to an article in “Florida Today” as quoted in the “Huffington Post” Florida leads the nation in “naked real estate” from foreclosed homes and those where the owners have ‘walked away,’ still owning the property. “Thousands upon thousands” of these properties have swimming pools and, “the sheer number of mosquitoes breeding in these pools is daunting.”
Although the article mentioned trying to combat the larvae with mosquito eating fish, which died, and pesticides, which were marginally effective, it never did mention the use of larvicides, a tool that our own mosquito control uses rather effectively.
Fresh water female mosquitoes, including those carrying the Chikungunya virus, need to find calm fresh water to lay their eggs. Stagnant pools, kayaks, boats, plant saucers, bromeliads cups, lids, anything that can hold a tablespoon of water for 4 days is a potential breeding site for a mosquito.
Every neighborhood has a vacant house or two or a property that is used by people unfamiliar with the Keys. It might be a vacation rental, a part-time home of a snow-bird, a foreclosure or one of the under-water or ‘walked away from’ properties that the “Florida Today” article refers to.
As a community of neighbors, realtors, bankers, house-sitters, rentors or renters, it becomes our responsibility to be sure that we control active mosquito breeding at these sites. Simply dumping or draining the water is enough to kill the larva. If the property collects rain water in low-lying areas, call mosquito control and they will help to monitor it.
The bottom line is that we will have fewer of the disease carrying mosquitoes in the Keys and will reduce the need for the use of toxic pesticides that Mosquito Control sprays, killing our butterflies and spiders and bees and affecting us in ways we don’t fully understand.