Friday, February 12, 2016

UF/IFAS Information on Zika Virus

UF/IFAS has released some information on Zika Virus.  The mosquitos which carry Zika (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) are the same mosquitos which carry Yellow-Fever, Dengue, and Chikungunya.   Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are water dependent for their eggs but do not lay their eggs in standing water
o   These mosquitos are known as container mosquitos. They lay their eggs on a moist surface above the water line, the eggs dry out, and the larvae hatch when the water rises. This cycle (egg to adult mosquito) can be completed in a as little as a week. These mosquitos need very little water to reproduce. As such, it is important to be mindful of standing water around your landscape.  
o   Example habitat: Bird baths, saucers under potted plants, abandoned tires, clogged or partially clogged gutters, wheel barrows, litter such as soda cans or beer bottles, bromeliad plants (read more on this issue:, and more.
·  Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus tend to stay close to the area where they hatch. Eliminate habitat to reduce these species near your home or operating location
o   Eliminate habitat for container mosquitos: check and remove habitat at least once a week as these species can go from eggs to flying mosquitos in as little as a week.
o   Wear Protective Clothing
§  Long sleeves, long pants, socks and closed-toe shoes
o   Use mosquito repellents 
§  DEET-based repellants, in varying concentrations, are the most effective. Exercise caution when applying to children, DEET should be used sparingly on young children. More information on DEET:
§  The following methods have been found to be ineffective at repelling mosquitos by the Center for Disease Control: Repellant bracelets, bug zappers, consumption of certain foods like banana and garlic, bug-repellant patches, or devices that emit sound

The “Mosquitoes and Their Control” publication from UF/IFAS Extension,, is a great resource for overall mosquito population control. It includes information on the species in Florida and how to reduce their populations. 

As always, if you have questions, please contact UF/IFAS Extension Polk County at (863) 519-1041.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Florida-Friendly Friday

Florida-Friendly Friday: Bromeliads are an easy plant for your shady FFL yard. 

Changes to our websites

You may have noticed some changes to our Florida-Friendly Landscaping social media sites.  We have merged all the social media sites for our gardening programs at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County (Master Gardeners, Residential Horticulture and Florida-Friendly Landscaping) to better serve you!

You will now be able to log on to our Event Brite page and see ALL the gardening offerings at the Extension office and read blog updates from all the program areas.

Follow us @PolkGardening on most platforms.  Here's where you can find us:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tip Tuesday

It's February (where does the time go?) and here is your Tip Tuesday on what edibles can be planted now.