Monday, July 17, 2006
Help Me Howard: Mosquitos
When the P.R. Folks tout Florida they always mention the sun, the fun, the beaches. They leave out another staple, the mosquitos. If you live in South Florida you know how bad they can be aking them worse -- standing water. But here is a question you may not know the answer to: Is it illegal to have standing, stagnant water in South Florida - which is a paradise for mosquitos? Here is the answer from Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN--Its that time of year again...
The flash of lightning, the boom of thunder, the pouring rain, followed by the slap to trap those buzzing mosquitos.
Javier Bilboat: "It's full of mosquito larvae and tadpoles. Yeah, it's pretty nasty."
Javier Bilboat doesnt have to go far to find stagnant water in his apartment complex.
Patrick Fraser: "How long has that water been there?"
Javier Bilboat: "At least since June at least. Probably before then."
The water gathers at an exit door that residents prop open, exposing a spot filled with tadpoles, algae and, of course, enough mosquito larvae to launch an attack on an entire building.
Javier Bilboat: "And a couple of days ago our house was full of mosquitos."
It takes one to two weeks for tadpoles to hatch.
A pump used to be here to get rid of the water but it was taken away months ago. Now when it rains, the water stays behind.
Javier Bilboat: "It's gotten up to this high here and it probably lasted a few days when it was like that."
A small puddle, but enough to launch a few mosquitos.
Javier Bilboat: "Yeah if it was me..yeah we kinda keep quiet about it."
But Javier is talking complaining because of this little two-year-old...
Javier Bilboat: "Her giggling and saying...ah..."
...who is very allergic to mosquitos.
"These hands were so swollen up she couldnt close them up and she was scratching so hard we ended up having to give her tylenol to take the swelling away."
Jada was bitten during the night, like many South Floridians. Her parents can''t believe the mosquitos got in their home.
They complained to the manager about the stagnant water.
Javier Bilboat: "The fact we have had to bring it up quite a few times and nothing has been done about it and its concerning."
They have tried pouring bleach in the water.
And now that they have learned Jada is very allergic to mosquitos, they can't wait for the rainy season to pass.
Javier Bilboat: "I wish they would take care of this problem permanently. I mean to where the floor is not green anymore, full of algae, there is no more tadpoles."
But in South Florida, is something like stagnant water illegal? To find out, Javier called Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "In a nutshell yes..a landlord cannot allow standing water that breeds mosquitos because it puts resident at risk..and this is happening in north miami...there...like in many other cities ...the landlord can go to jail for ignoring this law."
When I spoke to the complex manager she told me that mosquitos are unaviodable. That the building is near a canal and she believes thats where the problem originates.
She also told me her maintenance people get rid of the stagnant water on a regular basis.
When we mentioned that algae and tadpoles don't form overnight, she agreed to go look at the area.
The next day a pump was installed, the water was drained.
The mosquito problem disappeared..
Howard says if you live in an area where stagnant water is lingering, you don't have to put up with it.
Howard Finkelstein: "If its in a public areas like a storm drain..contact your counties mosquito control...if its a neighbor or a complex..contact the owner..if they ignore call city or county code enforcement."
Of course living in South Florida, Jada will have to deal with mosquitos. But at least the biting has lessened, with the pests right outside her door, wiped out.
Patrick fraser: "By the way if you are being bombarded by mosquitos check your storm drains. Many are what are called french drains. The water doesn't drain off, it just seeps into the ground and this time of year it can become a mosquito paradise. If so, call the county to come treat it."
Stung by a biting problem? Contact us, we'll buzz on over? Besides we need the work to keep our brains from becoming stagnant.
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