Story by Adrianne Walline Campbell
The North Walton Mosquito Control was created in 1987 and is governed by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners. It is located at 581 Triple G Road, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433. Their website is https://www.co.walton.fl.us/192/Mosquito-Control.
Their coverage area is from the north side of the Choctawhatchee Bay to the Alabama line, excluding the Eglin reservation, 745 square miles. This includes the city of Freeport, DeFuniak, and Paxton.
There are 7 full-time and 2 part-time employees, 8 spray trucks, 1 service truck, and 1 SUV.
They receive funding from the county ad valorem tax of .4912, and state aid funds. This year’s budget is $948,298.
The methods used are:
• Larviciding – BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis) – Naturally occurring bacteria used as a larvicide to kill larvae before they can grow into adults. They check various locations of standing water for larvae and spray as needed.
• Adulticiding – Permethrin, used to kill adult mosquitoes.
• They have 22 light traps to count how many mosquitoes are in what section. It also lets them know what kind of species exist and where. Currently there are about 40 different types, 10 are the most common. They have 2 individuals who can identify the types. The state provides training classes.
• They have 8 Sentinel chicken coops, each with 6 chickens, scattered throughout the area. They do blood tests weekly to determine whether viruses are present. These samples are sent to Tampa to the lab.
• They use the RAMP® (Rapid Analyte Measurement Platform) WNV (West Nile Virus) test. It is a highly sensitive test used to identify WNV in mosquitoes and corvids. This test is used by mosquito control districts, public health laboratories, veterinary diagnostic laboratories and universities.
• Minnows are used for water that stays wet all the time and is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
• Larviciding oils, such as CocoBear, act as water surfactants. CocoBear is a product composed of modified coconut oil combined with mineral oil.
• Natular Spinosad helps kill mosquitoes larva in standing water where adult mosquitoes may breed. Works up to 60 days. It’s used in standing water, garden ponds, fishponds, bird baths, rain barrels, roof gutters, fountains, and ornamental pools.
During the winter months they will pick up loose tires, up to 25, at the citizens request. This is partly paid for by the state. They do request that the homeowner gather all the tires together. It does not include tires with wheels attached.
Citizen request forms can be found on their website. They will come out and inspect for mosquitoes and larvae. If they are present, they will spray, or whatever is deemed necessary. There is no charge for these services.
From the North Walton Mosquito Control website: Practice the Five Ds to protect yourself from mosquitoes:
• Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito feeding times, usually around dusk and dawn
• Dress – Wear clothing that covers the skin
• DEET – Use mosquito repellents that include DEET (N, N diethyl-m-toluamide)
• Drainage – Check your home to rid it of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs
• For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health website, http://doh.state.fl.us/
From the CDC: Mosquito-borne diseases are those spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Diseases that are spread to people by mosquitoes include Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue, and malaria. It’s one of the world’s most deadly animals.
In 2018, the number of severe cases of West Nile virus was nearly 25% higher in the Continental U.S. than the average incidence from 2008 to 2017. In the past 30 years, the worldwide incidence of dengue has risen 30-fold.
Forty percent of the world’s population, about 3 billion people, live in areas with a risk of dengue. Dengue is often a leading cause of illness in areas of risk.
Lymphatic filariasis (LF), a parasitic disease transmitted through repeated mosquito bites over a period of months, affects more than 120 million people in 72 countries. In 2017, 435,000 people died from malaria and millions become ill each year including about 2,000 returning travelers in the United States. Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of this preventable disease.
CDC continued: Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors. Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors. Use air conditioning, if available. Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Check for water-holding containers both indoors and outdoors. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
• Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
• Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
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