Florida can be what seems like heaven to many of those whom are accustomed to spending their winters in the North of the United States. However, winter time in Florida can be unpleasant and even dangerous if precautions are not taken to prevent pesky insects. Although one may escape the frigid temperatures of say New York, they cannot escape the likes of mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and spiders. On the other hand, if properly prepared for, these insect can become almost a nonissue during anyone’s stay in Florida.
As almost everyone knows, mosquitoes can not only been annoying and painful, they can also be deadly. Mosquitoes can carry many different types of diseases including, malaria, dengue fever, and West Nile virus, all of which can be deadly if not properly cared for. As with many things in life, the best defense is a good offense, and this is definitely the case with mosquitoes. In other words, eliminating mosquitoes before they are able to breed and multiply is the best prevention towards mosquito issues. A few steps can be taken to help to reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes invading your precious space.
First, eliminate all standing water. Rain water that collects in buckets, ponds, recessed areas, can all be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. By eliminating as much standing water was possible is essential to signaling to mosquitoes that they are NOT welcome. If a pond or standing water is part of your home, and likely to be an aesthetically pleasing addition, you’ll have no option to drain or eliminate the standing water. However, by adding a pump or fountain to keep the water moving will reduce the likelihood that mosquitoes lay eggs in that body of water.
Second, install a propane mosquito trap or deploy a mosquito fogger system. Many people are not aware of either of these options but they can be especially effective towards the reduction of mosquitoes. Propane mosquito traps and mosquito foggers work in very different ways, but have the same effect. The propane mosquito trap works by emitting a constant stream of carbon dioxide as well as an attractant. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm plums of carbon dioxide, as this is the signal for a nice juicy meal, likely from a human! The trap is attached to a propane tank which is warmed up and emits C02. This stream coupled with a mosquito attractant such as Lurex or Octenol, lures the mosquitoes towards the trap. As the mosquitoes get closer and closer to the trap, they are sucked up by a vacuum and are then forced into a bag. The mosquito is then left in the bag to dehydrate and ultimately die.
The mosquito fogger on the other hand works in one shot applications. A few times a year, usually early in the mosquito season, the fogger will apply a heavy layer of fog which contains mosquito killing chemicals to yards and wooded areas with the goal of wiping out a mosquito population. This application should be applied multiple times throughout the mosquito season as the mosquito population can replenish, thus needing an active combat towards them. While in Florida, if staying in coastal towns that are notorious for mosquito problems, visitors may notice mosquito control trucks driving around in the nighttime hours. These trucks usually will make weekly or monthly rounds in the heart of mosquito season spread anti-mosquito chemicals. These trucks have a very similar effect to the mosquito fogger.
Last but not least, being proactive in the application of mosquito/bug repellent before leaving the house is an excellent last ditch effort to prevent mosquito problems. Many people dislike the application of bug spray as it is usually sticky and stinky or worse yet, both. However, without it, one makes themselves vulnerable to mosquitoes and no-see-ums.
As with propane mosquito traps, many visitors to Florida are not familiar with no-see-ums. It doesn’t take long during the heart of the winter in the Florida, especially around the dusk and dawn hours to be rudely introduced to the no-see-ums. No-see-ums, as properly titled, are very small insects which may also be referred to as a sand gnat. As mentioned, they are very tiny and very hard to see, hence the name no-see-ums. Although, no-see-ums are not as well known to carry deadly viruses, they are super annoying, and very painful. After a few hours outside exposed to no-see-ums, a person can expect to look like they have just contracted chicken pox. Maybe that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but no-see-ums do leave tiny little read dots all over one’s body which are extremely itchy.
Unfortunately, the steps outlines above do not have the same effect towards spiders. However, as with mosquitoes, the best defense towards spiders is a good offense. Cleaning frequently, inside and outside, ensuring the elimination of spider webs will help to reduce the number of spiders congregating. There are a few spiders in Florida in which visitors must be aware of. The Carolina Wolf Spider and the Red Widow are the most dangerous and should be avoided at all cost.
By following the simple steps outlines above, visitors to the sunshine state of Florida, can help to ensure their trip is safe and hopefully pesky insect-free. Avoiding outdoor activities during the dawn and dusk hours, when possible, will be your best bet to avoid these insects. However, also ensuring to apply mosquito repellant is the best sure-fire way to help reduce bug bites.