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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Drain and Cover to Prevent Mosquito Bites

August 24, 2018

The Florida Department of Health reminds residents and visitors that it is important to Drain and Cover to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Everyone can take simple precautions to protect themselves and their neighbors from mosquito-borne illnesses.

The risk of disease transmission through bites of infected mosquitoes to humans often increases during the warm, rainy months. To protect against mosquitoes, the department urges the public to “Drain and Cover:”

DRAIN standing water:

  • Drain water from garbage cans, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's 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.

COVER your skin with:

  • Clothing Tips - If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, cover up. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves.
  • Repellent Tips - Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label. Repellents with 10-30 percent DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effective.
  • Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.

COVER doors and windows with screens:

  • Keep mosquitoes out of your house. Repair broken screening on windows, doors, porches and patios.

Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites:

  • Clean out troughs and gutters;
  • Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain;
  • Turn over or remove empty plastic pots;
  • Pick up all beverage containers and cups;
  • Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water;
  • Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week;
  • Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week; and
  • Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

To learn more about the “Drain and Cover” method, watch this Florida Health video.