Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Newest foreclosure hero - mosquito fish

What to do with the swimming pools of the thousands of foreclosed homes that have become breeding grounds for mosquitos?

If you spray pesticide in them you have to come back every few weeks. Many communities have found a biological answer.
The Gambusia affinis is commonly known as female mosquito fish - gambusia affinis
the "mosquito fish" because of its healthy appetite for the larvae of the irritating and disease-spreading insects. Lately, the fish is being pressed into service in California, Arizona, Florida and other areas struggling with a soaring number of foreclosures.

The problem: swimming pools of abandoned homes have turned into mosquito breeding grounds.

"They are real heroes," says Josefa Cabada, a technician at the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District, a government agency. "I've never seen a mosquito in a pool with mosquito fish."

The mosquito fish is well suited for a prolonged housing slump. Hardy creatures with big appetites, they can survive in oxygen-depleted swimming pools for many months, eating up to 500 larvae a day and giving birth to 60 fry a month.

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