Fighting mosquitos and the Zika virus with the mosquito fish

- They're called mosquito fish, and it's the Orange County Health Department's newest tool to fight mosquitoes and the Zika virus.

Kari Lara-Murabito, the Sanitary Nuisance Coordinator, with the Department of Health in Orange County said "...We're using to eat mosquito larvae."

The fish eat at least 100 mosquito larvae a day, and that's what each Eastern Mosquito fish can eat.

Lara-Murabito explained "Without the larvae, you can't have the mosquitoes."

The little bugs can be in almost anything with standing water-- especially unmaintained pools.

Lara-Murabito said "We used to put mosquito larvacide in the pool. However, that mosquito larvacide, you had to put in the pool once a month."

As far as they know, they're Florida's first health department to put the fish in Orange County pools and ponds to do the dirty work.

They first got the idea to use the fish late last year, to combat mosquitos that could also carry the Zika virus.

"Without those two species of mosquito, then we can reduce the threat of Zika." Lara-Murabito explained.

The fish are actually saving taxpayers money each time they're used.

"We're not spending the money for the larvacide," Lara-Murabito explained "We're not paying the salary of that employee to go out to the swimming pool."

They've already got a few hundred fish, which are native to Florida, swimming in several area pools.

"It's very cool." Lara-Murabito explained. "It's very exciting."

Where do you get these fish? The health department said you can't buy the fish in stores, but if you live in Orange County, just give them a call, and they'll work on getting the fish to you for free.

You can reach Florida Health Orange County by calling 407-858-1497.

Their mailing address is 1001 Executive Center Drive, Suite 200, Orlando, Florida 32803.

For a detailed list of Health Department locations, click here http://orange.floridahealth.gov/locations/index.html
 

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