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Mosquito Fish at Work

By Winda Back

January 26, 2017

Workiing with Mosquito Fish

According to the Florida Statute 386.041; The Department of Health is authorized to investigate any condition determined to constitute a sanitary nuisance and they may take action to abate the said condition.  (Anything that is capable of breeding mosquitoes is a sanitary nuisance). 

Initially, we were putting mosquito “dunks” into abandoned green pools (can get at Home Depot).  This process requires that a “Public Health Applicator Licensee” (which EH currently only has one employee with this certification) to go out to each pool once a month to re-apply these dunks.   The Environmental Health Community Initiative Zoonosis team (lead by Kari Lara-Murabito) started a “mosquito fish project.”  On September 13, 2016 the Zoonosis team deployed the first 50 fish into a local green pool.  Signs were also posted on site to inform the public that mosquito fish are hard at work on the property.  Members of the Zoonosis team have returned to the first location to verify the green pool is now free of mosquito larvae and the mosquito fish have also reproduced in the green pool which ensures that the project is a success.

Some info about the fish: Gambusia is the genus of mosquito fish.   They are fairly small (0.5” to 3”).  They eat invertebrates, invertebrate larvae, algae, and even baby mosquito fish.  Turtles, frogs, and snakes are predators to the mosquito fish.  They are live bearers, meaning they do not lay eggs.  Mosquito fish can live about 1-2 years.  Mosquito fish can be used as a mosquito biological control agent in untreated (abandoned) swimming pools as well as artificial ponds, ditches, and swales.  

Mosquito Fish at Work