Pinellas County practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which combines a variety of techniques into a single plan that includes public education, source reduction, biological control, chemical control, and vegetation management. IPM is the most effective method known for reducing mosquito populations, minimizing disruption to other living organisms and the environment. IPM also reduces the chance of mosquitoes building resistance to any one adulticide or larvicide. Inspectors use a variety of mosquito-specific materials for eliminating pest and disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Pinellas County focuses its efforts on larval mosquitoes, as they are the most concentrated and most cost-effective to eliminate. It is easier to target larval mosquitoes in a contained body of water than trying to target them when they become flying adults, covering a much larger area and requiring more pesticide. Types of larvicides (products used to kill larval mosquitoes) available include:
- Bacillus sphaericus and Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis. These are naturally occurring bacteria and are incorporated into formulations eaten by the larvae. They are activated in the digestive tract and produce toxic spores that attach to specific receptor sites, which dissolve the digestive lining. Most larvae die within 24 hours.
- Insect growth regulators: These mimic the action of an insect growth-regulating hormone and prevent the normal maturation of insect larvae.
- Mosquito fish (Gambusia sp.), copepods, and damselfly and dragonfly larvae, which are natural enemies that feed on juvenile (aquatic) mosquitoes.
When warranted, truck-mounted foggers or hand-foggers are used to target adult mosquitoes. Pinellas County uses pyrethroid-based adulticides, synthetic versions of a natural insecticide produced by chrysanthemums that have very low mammalian toxicity.
For more information on larvicides and adulticides, visit EPA’s website:
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