Tropical Storm Eta

Mosquito Fighters Face Tricky Battle in Eta's Wake

Heavy storm rains make ideal breeding conditions for some species

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When it comes to the fight against South Florida’s mosquitoes, Tropical Storm Eta has complicated matters.

“We had so much rainfall previous to [Eta] that the ground is saturated, and you have ideal conditions for mosquito breeding,” said Dr. Bill Petrie of Miami-Dade Mosquito Control.

He noted that spraying for adult insects does not work well in heavy winds or rains, so right now, his crew is going after the bugs before they can take flight, applying larvicide known as BTI, or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis.

Dr. Petrie says BTI is environmentally responsible, and will only kill those specific insects in South Florida.

“You’re preventing the mosquito larvae from emerging as adults,” he explained. Crews target breeding grounds, like a ditch on the south side of Miami Gardens Drive just east of I-75.

“You know where they are,” he said. But not all mosquitoes prefer breeding in standing water on the ground; Dr. Petrie added that the insects that carry Zika or dengue fever prefer backyard containers.

That’s where emptying buckets and small pockets of water, even in children’s toys, can make a big difference.

“If you can remove that water that’s standing not on the ground, but in containers, then you’re getting rid of that mosquito there," Petrie said.

To ask experts for help fighting mosquitoes near your home, just dial 311 in Miami-Dade or Broward.

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