Okeechobee County begins mosquito control efforts

OKEECHOBEE — Local authorities in Okeechobee County have announced that adult mosquito control applications will take place this summer between dusk and dawn, as conditions warrant.

“We began mosquito surveillance efforts (trapping) at 10 different locations around Okeechobee County this week with our contract partner Clarke Environmental. The state of Florida has specific statutory requirements when mosquito spraying will be performed by a local authority, so these trap counts are required prior to mosquito control treatment,” said Mitch Smeykal, Emergency Management Director.

“Adulticiding treatments are needed when mosquito populations are at bothersome levels or indicate the presence of mosquito-borne illness, such as West Nile Virus and the Zika virus,” said Mr. Smeykal. All insecticides used have been approved specifically for this purpose and are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, if people wish to avoid potential exposure to insecticide they should stay indoors and close the windows during spraying hours.

Residents can report excessive mosquitoes to 800-203-6485.

Residents can take several steps to reduce mosquito populations around their homes this summer, including:

• Remove or empty water in old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or other places where mosquitoes might breed.

• Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use. If unused, drain swimming pools and keep dry.

• Change water weekly in bird baths, plant saucers and trays.

• Store boats covered or upside down.

• Water bowls used by pets should be emptied and refilled daily.

• Fill holes around home that may retain water.

• Keep gutters around home in good repair to avoid water build-up.

• Keep weeds and grass cut short, as adult mosquitoes look for shady places to rest during hot daylight hours.

• Be sure screens in homes are intact and tight-fitting to prevent entry of insects.

• Apply commercially available larvicides to wet areas around in your property. These products are available at local home improvement stores and Amazon.com. These products treat your yard for 30-60 days by inhibiting the mosquito larva to complete the mosquito life cycle.

Contact the Okeechobee County Division of Emergency Management 863-763-3212 for more information.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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