Miami Dade County: 'Don't Expect Mosquito Control To Come And Do The Job For You'

Jul 22, 2016

While investigations regarding what might be the nation's first locally acquired cases of Zika in Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue, public officials warn South Florida residents to take an active part in preventing mosquito-breeding zones. 

Chalmers Vasquez, Miami Dade County's mosquito control manager, says it is up to communities to keep their neighborhoods from becoming mosquito-breeding zones. 

"The main message here is: We have to be responsible for what we do around our homes," Vasquez said. "Don't expect mosquito control is going to come and do the job for you. We may be too late." 

Vasquez says South Florida has been under a mosquito threat for several months now, and this particular mosquito is "tricky." 

"This mosquito is very shy. It doesn't get a full blood meal at once. It may bite you and maybe three and four other people," Vasquez said. "This makes them a lot more dangerous,because if the female is infected it may infect several people at the same time." 

The mosquito commonly known for spreading the Zika virus through Latin America and the Caribbean is known as aedes aegypti. 

Larry Smart, a mosquito control inspector, shows the larvae existing in water pulled from the bromeliads plant, which is common in most backyards.
Credit Amanda Rabines

  Vasquez says the mosquito exhibits certain characteristics that, if known, can help eliminate the chances of being bit. 

"They are more active early in the morning and early in the evening before it gets dark, so they don't get that displaced too far away. It's a very weak flyer," Vasquez said. 

According to Miami Dade's Public Works and Waste Management Department, all tested mosquitoes caught near the investigation site in Miami-Dade remain negative. All other tests are still being processed. 

In the meantime, Vasquez advises residents to empty out containers of water or water found in plants like bromeliads, a common backyard plant, where the larvae tend to live. 

"The best approach is to get the mosquito where it's resting and just killing it on the spot, eliminating the source as much as possible," Vasquez said.