How To Protect Your Family From A New Mosquito In Florida

mosquito on blade of grass

We all know that mosquitoes are bad, especially here in Florida. One of the biggest tradeoffs of enjoying mostly pleasant tropical weather all year long is putting up with annoying, biting mosquitoes. In 2020, it was discovered that a new species of mosquito has become established in mainland Florida: Aedes scapularis. If you’ve had mosquito control before, you’re already familiar with the benefits. If you’re considering getting it, it’s crucial now more than ever.

New Invasive Mosquito

This species has not been previous found in Florida, though it was native to nearby tropical regions like South American and the Caribbean. In 2020, researchers at the University of Florida captured hundreds of mosquitoes in traps for sampling. Among these captured mosquitoes was Aedes scapularis, a species never before found in Florida. Invasive species aren’t a new problem for the Sunshine State. There are believed to be 16 non-native species established. Of those, 13 have arrived since 1985 and 10 since 2000. Unfortunately, it’s believed that more and more mosquitoes will continue to arrive as climate change raises temperatures, creating a hospitable environment for tropical mosquitoes to thrive in. 

What Does Aedes scapularis Look Like

Adults are yellowish to white with scales and white and black striping on their lower bodies. Their legs have multicolored segments, whereas other mosquitoes have solidly black legs.

Why Should We Be Concerned

Aedes scapularis has several reasons to cause alarm.

New Diseases

In recent years, both Zika and dengue have had outbreaks in Florida – both caused by mosquitoes. Aedes scapularis may be a transmitter for yellow fever and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis. Yellow fever has not been present in Florida in more than 100 years. It is a potentially fatal disease that spreads through mosquito bites. It takes 3 – 6 days to develop. During this time, the victim will experience fever, chills, headache, backache, muscle ache, and in some cases, severe reactions like bleeding, shock, organ failure, and death. Thankfully, only about 15% of cases have severe reactions, and there is a vaccine against yellow fever. However, until 2020, no one living in Florida would have to worry about yellow fever unless they traveled internationally to a tropical region like Brazil or a Caribbean nation.

Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus is even more alarming. VEEV infections can produce leukopenia, tachycardia, and fever. Those infected may also develop pneumonia, fever, chills, tremors, seizures, behavioral changes, comas, GI tract issues, congestion, and hemorrhaging. And unfortunately, children are the most susceptible to VEEV.

Lastly, because Aedes scapularis bites both birds and humans, feeding on multiple species has the ability to produce a crossover event. If you didn’t know, COVID-19 is a crossover event. In that case, the virus spread from a bat to a human. Therefore, this new mosquito is creating the conditions for another such spillover event. And while it has mostly been seen in the Miami area, one recent study suggests that this mosquito may spread along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida.

How To Protect Yourself From Mosquitoes

There are several ways to protect yourself from Aedes scapularis and other mosquitoes in Florida.

Use Effective Bug Spray

The following substances have all been shown by the EPA to effectively prevent the bites of mosquitoes without harming humans.

  • DEET
  • Picaridin
  • IR3535
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  • Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone

Wear Long-sleeve Clothing

Wearing breathable, lightweight long-sleeve clothing can help mitigate the risks of getting bitten.

Cover Strollers In Mosquito Netting

If you have small children, consider covering their strollers with mosquito netting if you plan to be out in the early morning or evening when mosquitoes are most active.

Get The Yellow Fever Vaccine

Thankfully, there is a vaccine to prevent yellow fever, but you might have to go to a special travel clinic to get it. Since there has not been a yellow fever outbreak in over 100 years, this is not a routine vaccine like MMR or chickenpox vaccines.

Inspect For Problem Areas

Get in the habit of looking for problem areas as part of your normal lawn maintenance routine. Mosquitoes need calm, still water to lay their eggs. If you notice puddling water, clogged gutters, or your property has a treeline, water features, or rain barrels, these are potential hotspots for mosquitoes. By eliminating the source of their breeding grounds, you can reduce the outbreaks of mosquitoes.

Get Mosquito Control Before The Problem Arises

All of the above are effective at preventing mosquito bites, but they are all inconvenient. No one wants to drive out of their way to find a clinic or go outside in full-length sleeves when it’s 90 degrees plus humidity. There’s an even more effective method: professional mosquito control treatment. Unlike bug spray, which merely repels mosquitoes, a professional mosquito spray will target those problem areas we discussed. Using specialized substances, your technician will treat the perimeter of your home, as well as any problem areas, so that any existing eggs will die off before they reach adulthood, and any adult mosquitoes will die when they come in contact with the treated area. It’s truly the only guaranteed way to protect yourself and give your family the peace of mind they deserve.

Find Mosquito Control Services Near Naples, FL

You don’t have to live in fear of Aedes scapularis or any other mosquito. The professionals at Land Art Inc. will treat your property for mosquitoes to keep you, your family, and your pets safe. Our mosquito control program will eliminate mosquitoes at all stages of their life cycle to stop adults from breeding and larvae from maturing. To learn more about how we can defend your yard, give us a call at 1.800.336.5296 or contact us online. For more ideas on controlling pests or lawn care services, be sure to check out our twice-monthly blog!

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