Mosquito Control / Stormwater Vegetation

Information: 352-393-8287
Spraying Schedule: 352-393-8100
Fax: 352-393-8286

Remember: It is important to reduce and remove all sources of standing water around your home!
If you would like to schedule an inspection of your yard or have an area of concern to report, please, call our information line.

Quick Links
What you can do to prevent breeding mosquitoes at home 
Spraying zone map
Answers to FAQs about Mosquito Control

About Mosquito Control
Gainesville Mosquito Control provides service to all citizens living within the City limits of Gainesville. Mosquito Control investigates all citizen inquiries within 24 hours.  This service begins with a site inspection of the citizen's yard, of nearby wooded areas, drainage ditches, swamps, retention ponds and any known local breeding sites.

Mosquito Control is regulated by Federal, State and local laws. These laws determine exactly when and how Gainesville controls its mosquito population. Gainesville Mosquito Control is under the auspices of the City of Gainesville's Public Works Department (Operations Division). The program is primarily funded by a percentage of the Stormwater Management Utility (SMU) fee. Citizens pay this fee monthly as part of their utility bill.

Gainesville Mosquito Control uses an Integrated Mosquito Management (IMM) philosophy when controlling the mosquito population in Gainesville. IMM combines a variety of mechanical (eliminating the water in which the mosquitoes need to breed), biological (using mosquitofish and bacteria to control mosquito larval populations) and chemical control techniques (using adulticides to control adult mosquito populations) to provide a more effective approach for the control of mosquitoes. Mosquito Control inspects over 350 breeding sites each month using IMM techniques. Mosquitoes have a 'sense of smell' and usually do not like the 'smell' of a swimming pool - especially when they can lay their eggs in ditch or swamp water.  Most pools will not be breeding because of this preference (however, swimming pools may be breeding many beneficials - like dragonflies - whose adult and larval stages will feed on adult and larval stages of mosquitoes).  Recent statistics suggest that only 1 out of 100 swimming pools will actually breed mosquitoes.  Click here for more information about mosquito control and IMM.  Click here to learn more about the insecticides used for mosquito control.

Why Mosquitoes Need Water
All mosquitoes must have water to develop. Most species prefer slow-moving or stagnant water in which to lay their eggs. Chances are - if the water is flowing - it is not breeding mosquitoes.  One tablespoon of water will breed over 200 mosquitoes! During warm weather mosquitoes can complete their life cycle in 3-4 days. Only the female mosquito bites - she needs a blood meal to fertilize her eggs. The itching of a mosquito bite is caused by a small amount of saliva that the female injects to prevent the blood from clotting so that it is easier for her to collect your blood.

Eggs turn into mosquito larvae or "wigglers" that can grow quickly. The larvae turn into pupae or "tumblers" which in turn hatch into adult mosquitoes. These life cycle stages can easily be seen in the water. The adult mosquito hatches shortly after becoming a pupa (the male mosquitoes usually hatch first, but the females are never far behind).

Adult female mosquito laying an egg raft Mosquito egg raft Mosquito larvae or 'wigglers'
     
Mosquito pupae or 'tumblers' Adult mosquito hatching from a pupa Landing rate count


Drain and Cover (formerly know as the 5 D's)Stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around your home or business.
DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying}
DRAIN water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected.
DISCARD old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
EMPTY and CLEAN birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week.
PROTECT boats and vehicles from rain with traps that don't accumulate water.
MAINTAIN swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
COVER your skin with clothing and use mosquito repellent.
CLOTHING: If you must be outdoors when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective. Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months.
COVER doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out.
REPAIR broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios.

Diseases...
Click here for West Nile Virus information.
Click here for Dengue information.
Click here for Malaria information.
Click here for Chikungunya information.

Stormwater Vegetation Management Herbicide Program
Objective: Technicians use herbicides in conjunction with mechanical techniques to meet objectives of reducing open drainage watercourse vegetation maintenance and reducing mosquito breeding sites through controlling vegetation growth. Selective herbicide treatments produce more desirable drainage vegetation and reduce maintenance tasks.

Target Application Areas:
Ditch flow line is the means of water conveyance. Keeping the conveyance components free from obstructions will reduce debris dams that impede flow and leads to flooding. Vegetation, litter, and sediment are the constituent items that create undesirable check dams. Establishing free flow conveyance corridor, decreases potential of undesirable check dams that lead to flooding. In addition, those dams create stagnant puddles scattered in the system that breed mosquitoes. The free open drainage corridors enable maintenance staff to quickly access and respond to drainage concerns. The open flow line also enables natural mosquito predators access to more water and reduces the need for larviciding.

Ditch slopes stabilization is the weakest structural component in the drainage system. Slope erosion leads to water flow disruption and flooding. Perennial turfgrasses are the desirable vegetation for open drainage slope cover. Annual weed contamination and growth increases the potential for erosion. Slope mowing and selective herbicide treatments combine to suppress undesirable vegetation growth. In addition, timing of plant growth regulation reduces the mowing frequency without losing slope stability.

Fence lines have various obstacles of utility pedestals, debris, and other hard to see objects from overgrown vegetation. Selective application of herbicide controls vegetation around those obstacles for increased visibility to maintenance staff. Application is only applied to right-of-way side of fence.

Stormwater Retention/Detention Basins are secondary component in stormwater conveyance treatment system. Stormwater must get to these basins for treatment. Function of these basins determines proper water treatment cycle and inability for the basin to breeding mosquitoes. Vegetation and selective areas necessary for proper function, such as inlets and outfall structures, are treated with plant growth retardants .

Exotic vegetation is controlled or suppressed with herbicides to reduce maintenance tasks and ecosystem impact. Selective herbicides are preferred to control exotic plants. There are sites and plants species that can only be suppressed and contained to the site without creating undesired impact to the stormwater system and the site ecosystem.

All products used are labeled for Aquatic sites and EPA registered. Marker dyes, surfactants, and anti-drift agents are mixed with herbicide to increase application to target site and plants.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do we need mosquito control programs?
A: Without control programs the mosquito population would flourish and cause potential health and comfort problems. From a health standpoint, mosquitoes are known carriers of encephalitis, malaria, and the yellow fever and dengue viruses. Mosquito-borne diseases cause more than one million deaths each year around the world. Mosquito bites can also infect a pet with deadly canine heartworm.

Q: How can we best control mosquito breeding?
A: By identifying their breeding sites and preventing the larvae from maturing to adults. Preventing larval development into adult mosquitoes can be accomplished through carefully planned and implemented programs while meeting sound environmental standards.

Q: Is it necessary to spray for adult mosquitoes in populated areas?
A: Yes. A well-planned, integrated program involves stopping mosquitoes in both the larval and adult stages. Mosquitoes can migrate up to 30 miles, which overrides local larval control efforts. This results in the need for adult mosquito control.

Q: What can I personally do to help control mosquito development?
A: Look for possible breeding sites in your yard and neighborhood. Advise your local officials of potential problems. If adult mosquitoes become a nuisance, immediately notify Gainesville Mosquito Control. 

Q: How do I recognize a mosquito and make sure that's what biting me?
A: Mosquitoes are insects with long, slender bodies, narrow wings with a fringe of scales on the bottom, and long, very thin legs.  The long, protruding mouthpart is a proboscis which can be as long as the antenna.  Sand flies, stable or dog flies, midges, gnats and no-see-ums are all very different in appearance (shape and size) from a mosquito.  Click here to see an adult mosquito. Click here to see a mosquito's proboscis.

Q: How many kinds of mosquitoes are there?
A: There are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world.  There are approximately 150 species in North America and Florida has 78 mosquito species - 30 of which occur throughout the entire state.  Gainesville is home to 42 different species of mosquitoes.  Each type of mosquito has a common name and a scientific name which includes a genus and a species name.  The Asian tiger mosquito or container mosquito is the common name for Aedes albopictusAedes is the genus and albopictus is the species.

Q:  Why do mosquitoes bite? 
A:  Mosquitoes belong to a group of insects that requires blood to develop fertile eggs.  Males do not lay eggs, thus, male mosquitoes do not bite.  The females are the egg producers and they lay multiple batches of eggs.  They require a blood meal for every batch they lay.  Mosquitoes, both male and female, rely on sugar as their main source of energy.  Mosquitoes feed on plant nectar, fruit juices, and plant liquids.  The sugar is burned as fuel for flight and is replenished on a daily basis.

Q:  Why do mosquitoes leave welts when they bite?
A:  When a female mosquito pierces the skin with her mouthparts, she injects a small amount of saliva into the wound.  The saliva makes penetration easier and prevents the blood from clotting.  The welt that appears is not a reaction to the wound, but an allergic reaction to the saliva injected to prevent clotting.  Scratching the bites can result in infection.

For mosquito information:
Alachua County Health Department - www.doh.state.fl.us/chdalachua.aspx
American Mosquito Control Association - www.mosquito.org
EPA information - http://www2.epa.gov/mosquitocontrol
Florida Mosquito Control Association - www.floridamosquito.org  
UF's Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory - http://fmel.ifas.ufl.edu

For butterfly information:
Butterfly World - http://www.butterflyworld.com/start.html
Florida Museum of Natural History - www.flmnh.ufl.edu
McGuire Center for Lepidoptera & Biodiversity - www.flmnh.ufl.edu/mcguire
Monarch Watch - http://monarchwatch.org
North American Butterfly Association - http://www.naba.org/
The Butterfly Conservation Initiative - http://www.butterflyrecovery.org
The Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network - http://www.flbutterflies.net
University of Florida Extension Office - http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC_Butterflies
Your Florida Backyard - http://www.nsis.org/

Last updated July 21, 2014