Pinellas County, Florida -- Mosquito Control received results on Tuesday confirming positive results for Eastern Equine Encephalitis in one sentinel chicken at Sawgrass Lake Park in St. Petersburg.
Sentinel chickens serve as an early-warning detection system for diseases spread by mosquitoes and can signal the fact that mosquitoes carrying the diseases are present in the area.
Though it is officially winter, recent rains have caused an increase in the mosquito population in Pinellas County and homes harbor many conditions ideal for mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can breed in as little as one quarter inch of standing water, so residents are advised to take the following precautions:
- Empty water from old tires, flowerpots, garbage can lids, recycling containers, boat tarps and buckets. Eliminate standing water near plumbing drains, air conditioner drips, septic tanks or rain gutters.
- Flush birdbaths and wading pools weekly. Flush bromeliads twice weekly or treat with a biological larvicide.
- Change the water in outdoor pet dishes daily.
- Keep pools adequately chlorinated.
- Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito-eating gambusia fish.
- Cover rain barrels with fine mesh screening.
- Repair rips or tears in door and window screens.
- Clean gutters and other areas of leaves and other debris.
By taking these simple precautions, residents can help reduce the number of mosquitoes and minimize mosquito-borne diseases.
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