While the year-round temperate weather is one of the many perks of living in Florida, any resident of the Sunshine State can tell you those perks come with a price—including a nearly year-round mosquito season. Thanks to plenty of warmth and moisture, two conditions in which mosquito populations thrive, mosquito season in Florida doesn’t have a clear beginning or end point. Typically, however, Florida mosquito species are most active in the spring and summer months, when warm temperatures combined with frequent, heavy rains produce thriving mosquito populations.
What You Need To Know About Mosquito Season in Florida
In any geographic region, mosquito season depends on two factors: rainfall and temperature. In many parts of the country, the first warm days of spring signal the start of mosquito season and winter’s first frost signals the end—except in more arid areas, where mosquito populations don’t pose a problem even in colder months.
But while January is normally Florida’s coldest month, that’s still a relative term. Mosquitoes in Orlando, for example, have enjoyed mild winters in recent years. In January 2017, Orlando’s low temperatures dipped below 50 degrees Fahrenheit on only a handful of days, and daily highs generally reached the 70s and 80s. Fifty degrees is about the threshold for mosquito season: Below that temperature, mosquito populations die off; above it, they can live, reproduce and thrive.
Since mosquito larvae are aquatic, water is another important factor in supporting mosquito populations, and rainfall and aquatic areas abound in many regions of Florida. Thus, due to water and warmth, most parts of the state harbor both native and invasive species of this pesky and ubiquitous insect.
What Are Some Common Florida Mosquito Species?
Florida is home to about 80 known species of mosquitoes—more than any other state. Thirty-three of these species are known to cause problems for people and pets, and 13 of them can carry potentially serious diseases such as encephalitis or the West Nile or Zika viruses.
Two of Florida’s most common mosquito species are Aedes albopictus and Psorophora ciliata. More commonly known as the Asian tiger mosquito (or simply tiger mosquito) due to its black-and-white-striped body and legs, Aedes albopictus is native to Southeast Asia but has spread to many countries around the world, including the United States. This species is capable of carrying many viruses that can infect humans, such as yellow fever, dengue fever and Zika.
Native to the eastern United States, including Florida, Psorophora ciliata is more commonly known as the gallinipper thanks to its aggressive behavior around both humans and animals. Larger than Asian tiger mosquitoes, gallinippers are known to have a painful bite. Though this species can carry pathogens such as encephalitis and West Nile virus, it hasn’t been proven to play a significant role in human infection of these diseases and therefore isn’t considered to be as much of a threat as certain other mosquito species.
How Are Florida Mosquitoes Controlled?
Since mosquitoes can carry a variety of diseases and tourism is an important part of the Sunshine State’s economy, mosquito abatement is a major focus for most urban areas. Parks, including theme parks, and other urban or heavily trafficked areas tend to be regularly fogged or sprayed, while larvicide is used in standing water to control mosquito populations at the larval stage. Local governments often use products such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), a naturally occurring larvicide, that have been deemed by the World Health Organization not to be harmful to humans, pets, environmentally sensitive areas or aquatic habitats.
When spending time in nature parks, on the other hand, including areas like the Everglades and the Upper Keys, long sleeves and pants and heavy-duty repellent are recommended.
The Good News About Mosquitoes In Florida
Fortunately, Florida has good news to report regarding its mosquito populations. In December 2016, the Center for Disease Control reported that there were more than 45 consecutive days with zero new cases of Zika transmission. This means the state’s efforts to control its mosquito populations have been largely successful, which is great news for both residents and tourists. Still, public health officials note that problems from the disease could arise again if containment efforts are not continued.
ABC Can Help With Your Mosquito Control Efforts
All of these mosquitoes here in Orlando can certainly take a toll on our ability to enjoy our home’s outdoor spaces. If you are ready to bring in the experts to develop a mosquito control plan for your property, you can trust ABC Home & Commercial Services to get the job done right. Our pest control experts can survey your property to determine your options and implement a treatment plan that works best for your needs.