Water-Related News

Hillsborough County offering free fish to combat mosquito problems

Residents will drive home from the giveaway events with a bag of fish — but ones with a diet for mosquito larvae instead of fish flakes.

Hillsborough County Mosquito Management has added another tool in its kit to control the mosquito population this summer.

As the temperature heats up, and summer rains produce more standing water, the county is offering residents fleets of small fish to help combat the growing number of mosquitos we’ll be seeing.

The two-and-a-half-inch, guppy-like eastern mosquito fish is native to Florida and feeds on mosquito eggs and larvae. They start on their mosquito diet when they’re as small as 0.3 inches at birth.

In five more summer drive-thru events, residents can pick up a bag of 10 mosquito fish to take home. All that’s required is a photo ID showing proof of residence in Hillsborough County.

“We only give out 10 fish, but that's so we can give out a lot to every resident and help out as many residents as we can,” said Alexa Patrizio, Hillsborough County Mosquito Management project coordinator. “But they do reproduce so often that by the time that you get your fish home in a month, you should already have about 100 fish in there.”

An adult mosquito fish can eat up to 100 mosquito larvae each day, according to Patrizio, and provides an effective way to curtail mosquito growth without the use of insecticides.