Apart from being annoying and bothersome, a more critical reason for controlling mosquitoes is their ability to carry and spread disease. Although Florida houses over 70 species of mosquitoes, only a few of these species are known vectors (carriers) for disease.
As discussed in the “Mosquito in Florida” section, at one point in time mosquito-borne diseases ran rampant throughout Florida. Thanks to modern technology and a determined effort to battle the mosquito, these diseases no longer plague Florida. There is, however, still cause for concern, because mosquito-borne diseases still exist, not only in Florida, but throughout the United States.
Hernando County has several species of mosquitoes that are potential vectors for several of the diseases mentioned below. Of these species, the one most common and found year-round throughout the county is the “Asian Tiger mosquito”, Ae. albopictus (pictured above). This small black and white mosquito is an aggressive daytime biter, preferring to bite humans over mammals or birds. This species of mosquito is a “container breeder” (see mosquito breeding habitat section), most commonly found close to homes, breeding in as little as ¼” of standing water. Once hatched, the mosquitoes stay fairly close to the residence waiting for humans or pets that will supply their blood meals.
Apart from its vicious biting habits, the Asian Tiger mosquito has the potential to carry and pass along several arboviruses. This fact alone makes the albopictus a cause for concern, however, this mosquito is very easily controlled by eliminating its breeding sources.
Night time adulticiding has little or no affect on these mosquitoes because they are hiding under leaves and brush when the trucks go by. This mosquito is best controlled and eliminated by the residents who are breeding them !!!
There is no quick, to-the-point explanation for any of these diseases and there are many aspects of the diseases that remain unknown. It is important to know, however, that although these diseases can range from slightly debilitating to fatal in some instances, the chances of contracting any of the following viruses are very slim. There are a great many factors and variables involved in the disease transmission process, and it is actually very difficult for the virus to make it’s way from point A (the mosquito) to point B (human victim). Although this is a positive note, you should always use protection when there is a potential to come in contact with mosquitoes. “Better safe than sorry” is your best bet.
Common Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Florida
The links below are very informative and do a good job of answering common questions and concerns.
You will be opening a PDF file that can be printed or saved to your computer.
Click to watch video of West Nile infected man (may take a while to load before playing)
** Video compliments of Clarke Mosquito Control
Common Mosquito-Borne Diseases Overseas
Not all that long ago, the diseases above were prevalent throughout the States. The lack of knowledge about the diseases and their transmission process, along with the fact that peoples' living conditions at the time provided no protection against mosquitoes carrying the diseases, gave these diseases the perfect scenario in which to flourish.
To learn more about these diseases, click on the disease. You will be opening a PDF file to print or save to your computer.
These diseases still thrive overseas, sporadic cases being “imported” into the States by overseas visitors or travelers returning home from other countries. In most instances, imported cases of these diseases die out quickly (do not create epidemics) because they are diagnosed early and measures are taken to prevent further outbreaks. The possibility does exist, however, that any of the following diseases could take hold given the active presence of the disease-specific vector and a lack of protection against it.