Okaloosa County recently began its evening treatment schedule of spraying pesticide to control mosquito populations within the county including Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Lake Pippin and Valparaiso. The Okaloosa County Mosquito Control Program sprays for mosquitoes county-wide, excluding federal- and state-owned land. Treatments begin one hour before sunset and/or in the hour after sunrise. Surveillance activities may indicate certain types of mosquitoes known to be disease vectors that are active during time periods other than noted. If this is the case, the county will respond appropriately.
In Niceville and Valparaiso, spraying takes place on Mondays (Valparaiso), Tuesdays (Bluewater), Wednesdays (Rocky Bayou) and Thursdays (Niceville).
The Okaloosa County Mosquito Control Division of Public Works is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and may be reached at 651-7394 or 689-5772.
In Walton County, Mosquito Control is handled through the North Walton Mosquito Control District headquartered in DeFuniak Springs, governed by the Board of County Commissioners and services all areas of Walton County that lie north of Choctawhatchee Bay.
The County Mosquito Control and the Florida Department of Health urge you to remain diligent in your personal mosquito protection efforts, especially remembering to “SWAT.”
Stay inside with screened doors and windows when mosquitoes are biting (dusk and dawn). Cover doors and windows with screens to keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches, and patios.
When outside, wear clothing that covers skin.
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 old.
Turn over standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs or rid your outdoor area of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs. DRAIN standing water to stop mosquitoes from multiplying. Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, children’s toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water have collected. Discard tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren’t being used. Empty and clean bird baths and pets’ water bowls at least once or twice a week. Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water. Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.
In addition to spraying, the county has an aggressive larviciding program whose more than 1,500 sites are treated and checked on a regular basis. Additionally, more than 750 ponds and areas with standing water are treated with gambusia fish, which eat mosquito larva and are able to reproduce at a high rate.
Residents are also reminded to have outdoor animals vaccinated against mosquito-borne disease. Horses should be vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Although West Nile and EEE can occur throughout the year, peak season is August, September and October. Horses must receive two vaccine injections three to six weeks apart, and then it is recommended every three to six months. Dog owners are also reminded to have pets treated for heartworms since certain mosquitoes present in Okaloosa County carry the disease as well.
Mosquito spray schedule, preventative tips and other related information are available on the county’s web site at http://www.myokaloosa.com/pw/environmental/mosquito-control.