The high-pitched, buzzing whine of tiny mosquito wings is a familiar sound in Florida, one that can become a big problem as the temperatures rise, especially if breeding grounds are left unchecked.
While the itching caused by bites can sometimes seem unbearable, the risk from mosquitoes is more than mere annoyance. The small flies can carry malaria and the dengue, chikungunya and West Nile viruses. Dogs are also at risk from mosquitoes, carriers of heartworm.
To combat the threat of mosquito bites, officials with the City of Marianna urge the public to follow the five D’s: drain, dress, DEET and dusk/dawn.
A bottle cap’s worth of standing water is enough to cause a mosquito problem. Remove standing water from yards or other areas outside your home or place of business; common culprits include but aren’t limited to: empty containers, flower pots, bird baths, old tires, pet bowls, air conditioning drip pans and children’s toys.
When practical, cover your skin by wearing long pants and long sleeves. Loose clothing is advised, as mosquitoes can bite through tight-fitting garments and some species appear to be attracted to darker colors, so light-colored clothes are suggested. Smelly feet can also be a draw for mosquitoes, so make sure your socks are fresh and your shoes are cleaned regularly.
Applying DEET-containing products to bare skin and clothing can be a very effective chemical mosquito repellant, but new parents take note: DEET is not recommended for children younger than 2 months, so take great care to avoid exposing babies to mosquitoes.
Avoid the outdoors during the hours of dusk or dawn — that’s when mosquitoes are most active.
City workers are actively spraying to control the mosquito population. They also apply larvacide to stagnant ponds to kill larvae and use a sugar bait to kill adult mosquitoes, but those practices won’t eradicate the fliers. Call the City of Marianna Public Works Department at 482-4129 for more information about control efforts and follow the five Ds to keep you and your family safe from mosquitoes.