Mosquito Control

They bite, they buzz and they can annoy any barbecue. But Polk County's Mosquito Control Unit is constantly at work to combat the pesky insects and improve public health.

If you are having problems with mosquitos and would like to request service in your area, fill out the Mosquito Service Application.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who do I contact with questions?
    Polk County Mosquito Control can be reached at (863) 534-7377, or by email at skeeter@polk-county.net.
  • Do you have a set schedule for spraying mosquitoes?
    Spraying for adult mosquito outbreaks occurs on an as-needed basis, and only if mosquito populations meet state guidelines for treatment. The mosquito control program also conducts surveillance to quantify mosquito populations.
  • How many phone calls do you need to spray in my area?
    The number of phone calls for service does not determine when or where treatment for adult mosquitoes will be done. Generally, staff members will know where mosquito populations have increased, but occasionally, phone calls are important because they alert the program of potential problem areas that surveillance has not predicted. It could also indicate an individual is experiencing a problem confined to their property or neighborhood. In such situations, an inspector will be dispatched to check for mosquitoes.
  • Do you spray for midges (blind mosquitoes)?
    Mosquito Ccontrol was created to prevent health and nuisance problems caused by biting mosquitoes. Treatments to control adult mosquitoes may help alleviate Chironomidae (also known as non-biting midges) populations, but treatments can only be made if surveillance indicates the need to treat for biting mosquitoes, not based on midge populations.
  • Can Mosquito Control spray for a special event?
     It is against state regulations to spray for mosquitoes without scientific data to show treatment for adult mosquitoes is justified. If Mosquito Control is notified of the location, date, and time the public event is to be held, at least three working days in advance of the event, various methods of surveillance can be done in that area to determine if treatment can be justified. Please call (863) 534-7377 to request treatment for a special public event.
  • Why do mosquitoes bite?
    Only female mosquitoes bite. They seek blood for egg production. It serves no nourishment function. Males do not produce eggs and do not seek blood. In order to obtain energy, both male and female mosquitoes feed upon plant nectars - much in the same manner as honeybees.
  • How do you know what area has been sprayed?
    Each night's activities are recorded and reviewed the following day. A GPS recording device provides a visual track of a truck's location and an indication as to whether the spray system was on. This system provides us the ability to view the actual work of the operator to determine if any part of the treatment area was missed and to assure that he or she is performing appropriately.
  • Are mosquito control treatments harmful to people or pets?
    After the United States Environmental Protection Agency determines an insecticide can be registered for use in the U.S., the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services determines which pesticides can be registered and applied in Florida. The primary adulticide material used by Mosquito Control is Permethrin. Because of the very small amount of active ingredient released per acre of ground, the EPA found that for all scenarios considered, insecticide exposures are hundreds or even thousands of times below an amount that might pose a health concern.
  • Who oversees pesticide applications?
    Florida mosquito control programs are established and operated according to the procedures given in the Mosquito Control Law, Chapter 388 Florida Statute  and the Mosquito Control Rules, Chapter 5E-13, Florida Administrative Code. The federal insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act of 1972 requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) be certain that all personnel handling hazardous or restricted use chemicals be trained to do so correctly and safely and that they be certified as pesticide applicators. 
    The state agency administering the certification is appointed by the governor of each state. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the lead agency. They require every employee applying pesticides for public control of mosquitoes be certified or be supervised by a certified applicator.
  • What methods are used to control mosquitoes?

    There are four basic approaches to controlling mosquitoes: prevention, source reduction, larviciding and adulticiding. Preventing mosquitoes from breeding is the most desirable solution. Unfortunately, many human modifications of the environment such as ditches, retention ponds, and water management structures create mosquito breeding sites. Prevention requires working with planners to plan, construct, and maintain infrastructure without producing mosquito breeding habitats.

    Source reduction is the elimination of water in which mosquitoes lay their eggs and in which the larvae develop. Source reduction is the second most effective method for controlling mosquitoes. Methods of source reduction involve eliminating containers that hold water and filling wet areas with soil.

    Larviciding is the use of materials to control immature stages of mosquitoes or prevent development of larvae from becoming adult mosquitoes. Larvicides are applied to waters that contain larvae and or pupae. Larvicides are effective in low concentrations and generally do not impact other organisms in the water or habitat. Every acre that is larvicided to prevent adult mosquitoes from emerging reduces the number of acres that must be treated with spray trucks or aircraft.

    Adulticiding is the last effort to control mosquitoes. Applied as directed, adulticide treatments have minimal effects on other insects. Polk's Mosquito Control is diligent in ensuring the proper size droplets and application rates are used. Adulticiding is done at night when adult mosquitoes are most active, which is also when most non-target insects like bees, dragonflies and butterflies are not as active.

  • What is larviciding?
    Larviciding is controlling mosquitoes in their larval stage. Larvicides are products used to reduce immature mosquito populations. They can be either biological or chemical products. Larvicides are applied directly to water sources that hold mosquito eggs and larvae. When used well, larvicides can help to reduce the overall mosquito population by limiting the number of adult, biting mosquitoes that are produced.
  • What is adulticiding?
    Adulticiding is controlling mosquitoes in their adult stage. Adulticides are products that rapidly reduce adult mosquito populations. This can become necessary when larval control measures are insufficient or not feasible. Adulticiding may be initiated when there is evidence of significant populations of mosquitoes in a region or if there is evidence of mosquito borne disease in Polk County. The most common method of adulticiding is ultra-low volume spraying. This spraying method is the process of putting very small amounts of liquid into the air as a fine mist of droplets. These droplets float on the air currents and quickly eliminate mosquitoes that come into contact with them. These adulticides are applied when mosquitoes are most active-typically early evening or pre-dawn. Adulticides can be applied from hand-held sprayers, truck-mounted sprayers, helicopters or airplanes.

Below are resources to help explain the importance of mosquito control and important public health websites:

Helpful Information​

Public Health Related Websites

Pesticide Information Sites

The Polk County Board of County Commissioners is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

Polk County Board of County Commissioners

330 W. Church St.
PO Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005
(863) 534-6000

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