Mosquito fish

Mosquito's Worst Enemy is Free

Hillsborough County provides larvae-eating mosquito fish for residents during the summer

Tiny fish whose favorite meal is mosquito larvae are available at select community events in the summer months.

By eating hatchlings before they turn into adult mosquitoes, the fish help control insects that can carry West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and Zika. Mosquito Management is distributing gambusia affinis at no charge.

The 2½-inch fish are a native freshwater species. They are an effective, natural way to control mosquito larvae in backyard ponds, birdbaths, fountains, animal troughs, unused swimming pools, and other standing water. They require no feeding, and care is limited to protecting them from garden sprays, chlorine, or other chemicals used for cleaning. Mosquito fish do not lay eggs and need no special environment for breeding.

During the summer months while supplies last, residents, including those in unincorporated Hillsborough County, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, and at MacDill Air Force Base, must bring a photo ID showing their local address to receive fish.

Here are more tips to help control mosquitoes in your neighborhood.

The fish complement new high-tech mapping software that also emphasizes prevention over reaction. The program helps Mosquito Management identify breeding sites, enabling inspectors to eliminate larvae before it hatches into adult mosquitoes.