Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What can I do (HOW DO I?) get a spray in my yard/area?
A: Please go to our website www.amcdsjc.org and enter a service request. Please click the link to the right on our home page that says request for service, then fill in your address and click "locate", then click the "service request" button underneath your address, then enter all information and be sure to give "permissions to spray and inspect" as we need that to access your property. Then when completing all information, click submit. (If you have entered your e-mail address, you will receive confirmation that your request was input into our system for service. If you do not have the ability to utilize the online service request, you may also call our office at (904) 471-3107 and someone will assist you by putting the service request in for you.
Q: What attracts mosquitoes to me?
A: Carbon dioxide is the most universally recognized mosquito attractant and draws mosquitoes from up to 35 meters (just over 114 feet). Once in the general vicinity of a potential host, other cues predominate, including body odors (sweat, lactic acid, etc.) and heat. Odors produced by skin microflora also play a part in inducing the mosquito to land. Over 350 compounds have been isolated from odors produced by human skin. Either singly or in combination, many of these compounds may be attractants - and many may be repellents. As you can see, the situation is complicated and will require many years of testing before it can be sorted out. Visual stimuli, such as movement, also factor into host-seeking. What can be safely stated, though, is that ingestion of garlic, vitamin B12 and other systemics has been proven in controlled laboratory studies to have NO impact on mosquito biting.
Q: Do you have a set schedule for spraying mosquitoes?
A: Spraying for adult mosquito outbreaks occurs only on an as needed basis and only if mosquito populations meet State guidelines for treatment. Anastasia Mosquito Control District (AMCD) conducts several on-going types of surveillance to quantify mosquito populations. If mosquito populations are high we will spray.
Q: How does AMCD control mosquitoes?
A: The integrated mosquito management methods currently employed by AMCD and endorsed by the CDC and EPA are comprehensive and specifically tailored to safely counter each stage of the mosquito life cycle. Larval control through water management and source reduction, where compatible with other land management uses, is a prudent pest management alternative - as is use of the environmentally friendly EPA-approved larvicides currently available. When source elimination or larval control measures are clearly inadequate, or in the case of imminent disease, application of adulticides by certified applicators trained in the special handling characteristics of these products is used.
AMCD employs the following elements to control mosquitoes:
1. Larval and adult mosquito sampling;
2. Source reduction;
3. Biological control using native or introduced predators and parasites of mosquitoes,
4. Larviciding and adulticiding, when indicated by surveillance;
5. Resistance monitoring;
6. Disease surveillance in mosquitoes, birds, horses and humans, and
7. Public education.
Q: What is larviciding?
A: Larviciding is controlling mosquitoes in their larval stage. Control of larval mosquitoes is the backbone of AMCD's program. 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 new mosquitoes that are produced.
Q: What is adulticiding?
A: 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 St. Johns County. The most common method of adulticiding is ultra-low volume (ULV) spraying. ULV spraying 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. ULV adulticides are applied when mosquitoes are most active-typically early evening or pre-dawn. Currently, the AMCD uses Aqualuer (permethrin product) for adult mosquito control with ground ULV application. The ULV spray machines are mounted in trucks, backpack sprayers or handler sprayers. Sometimes, we contract with outside companies for aerial application by using nald products.
Q: How many phone calls do you need to spray my area?
A: The number of phone calls for service does not determine when or where treatment for adult mosquitoes will be done. Spraying for adult mosquito outbreaks occur only on an as needed basis and only if mosquito populations meet State guidelines for treatment. AMCD conducts several on-going types of surveillance to quantify mosquito populations. Generally, staff will know where mosquito populations have increased, but occasionally, phone calls are important because they alert the District 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.
Q: Are pesticides used in mosquito control safe?
A: Since its inception, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regulated mosquito control through enforcement of standards instituted by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. This legislation mandated documentation of extensive testing for public health insecticides according to EPA guidelines prior to their registration and use. These data requirements are among the most stringent in the federal government and are met through research by established scientists in federal, state and private institutions. This process ensures that the public health insecticides available for mosquito control do not represent health or environmental risks when used as directed. The dosages at which these products are legally dispensed are at least 100-fold less than the point at which public health and environmental safety merit consideration. In point of fact, literature posted on the websites of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Association of Pesticide Safety Educators and National Pesticide Information Center emphasizes that proper use of mosquitocides by established mosquito control agencies does not put the general public or the environment at unreasonable risk from runoff, leaching or drift when used according to label specifications. (For the federal government's position on risks associated with mosquito control insecticides, visit http:/www.epa.gov/pesticides).
Q: Do mosquito sprays affect animals other than mosquitoes?
A: The extremely small droplet aerosols utilized in adult mosquito control are designed to impact primarily on adult mosquitoes at the time of the application. Degradation of these small droplets is rapid, leaving little or no residue in the target area at ground level. These special considerations are major factors that favor the use of very low application rates for these products, generally less than 4 grams active ingredient per acre, and are instrumental in minimizing adverse impacts.
Q: Do you spray for no-see-ums or midges?
A: AMCD was created to prevent health and nuisance problems caused by mosquitoes. Treatments to control adult mosquitoes may help alleviate adult no-see-um and Chironomidae (also known as non-biting midges) populations, but treatments can only be made if surveillance indicates the need to treat for mosquitoes not based on midge populations. For more information on no-see-ums, which are Culicoides or also known as biting midges, go to: http://creatures.ifas.ufl.edu/aquatic/biting_midges.htm
Q: Is that a ton of mosquitoes clinging to the side of my house?
A: Probably not. Male mosquitoes swarm during mating and a few will rest on the side of a house together. Both male and female mosquitoes will seek shade during hot weather and, if a house offers a cool, shady resting spot, then mosquitoes may cling to the walls. However, usually large swarms of insects clinging to a house or side of buildings are non-biting midges. These look very much like mosquitoes, but do not bite. They are often called "blind" mosquitoes. If midges are clinging to your house it is a good idea to wash them down with a hose to prevent them from staining your wall. For more information on non-biting midges go to: http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/Ali/AALI_019.pdf.
Q: Can mosquito control spray for a special event?
A: It is against State regulations to spray for mosquitoes without scientific data to show treatment for adult mosquitoes is justified. If AMCD is notified of the location, date, and time the event is to be held, at least 3 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 904-471-3107 or visit www.amcdsjc.org to request treatment for a special event.
Q: Why are some areas so prone to salt marsh mosquitoes?
A: The subtropical climate of St. Johns County allows for year-round production of salt marsh mosquitoes and the extensive coastline and flat topography creates a disproportionate area of salt marsh. Florida's low latitude location creates the perfect tide regime for the creation of high marsh. St. Johns County has approximately 58 square miles of salt marsh that breeds mosquitoes. St. Johns County also has some of the most productive salt marsh for mosquito development. Although a significant nuisance, Salt marsh mosquitoes do not transmit human diseases, but can transmit dog heart worm.
Q: Why can AMCD not spray in or near Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR)?
A: AMCD is required to follow various management plans required by state organizations to be able to apply either larvicide or adulticide to state owned and protected lands. In an agreement with the management plan set by GTMNERR, AMCD is only allowed to treat the larval form of mosquitoes by using BTi: ground application, within the boundaries of the preserve. This assures the protection of habitats essential to 48 protected animals and 8 protected plants in the reserve.
Q: Why can't I see the spray coming out of the truck anymore?
A: The spray you used to see during adult mosquito treatments was produced by diluting a pesticide with diesel fuel or mineral oil in a technique called thermal fogging. The mixture was heated producing a cloud of smoke. The oil acted as a carrier to help disperse the pesticide in the proper concentrations. Newer methods of spraying called ultra low volume or ULV have almost eliminated the need for the thermal applications and therefore no fog is seen during spray treatments. This newer method still provides effective control of mosquitoes, eliminates the adverse health and environmental effects of the oil, and is much more efficient.
Q: Why do I not see the fog trucks anymore?
A: We do most of our adulticiding (fogging) between sunset and 11pm. Our new machines are very quiet and typically do not disturb citizens. We also have Larvicide trucks covering the whole county during the daylight hours.
Q: Why does AMCD spray at night and early morning?
A: A majority of mosquito species are active at night (late afternoon) or early morning and targeting them during these hours reducing the impact we have on non-target species (honey bees, butterflies, ect.). Other benefits of fogging at night include: less people outside and lower temperatures.
Q: Does larvicide or adulticide affect non-target insects?
A: AMCD uses all larvicides and adulticides in accordance with pesticide labeling and during low non-target activity hours. These measures are taken to greatly reduce the chance of negatively impacting non-target species.
Q: What can I do if I do not want my house/property spray or fogged?
A: AMCD maintains a no-spray list. If you would like to be added to the list please call (904) 471-3107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.