Check bromeliads for mosquito breeding grounds

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jun 03, 2016

There hasn’t been a new case of the Zika virus in Palm Beach County in about five weeks, but not everyone is at ease. 

Experts are issuing a warning about a mosquito breeding ground you could be overlooking.

Sandy Kornheiser sees bromeliads all over her West Boca Raton neighborhood.

“They have a tank, or well, which collects water,” she said pointing to one plant outside her community.

She considers herself a green thumb, but she’s worried the general public doesn’t understand the potential risk bromeliads pose.

“Mosquitos are going to breed in them,” she said.

Specifically the mosquitos which transmit Zika; a virus linked to a birth defects in South and Central America and the Caribbean.

“It was very shocking to hear about the birth defects. That’s very different than the way we thought of mosquitos before,” Kornheiser said.

She’s disappointed there isn’t more information about bromeliads in common literature about mosquitos.

NewsChannel 5 asked the Delray Garden Center for advice on how to keep these mosquitos from breeding in your plants.

First, flush the plants with fresh water once a week.

“What you’re doing is you’re forcing out all the mosquito larva,” explained Bob Glynn, the owner of the garden center.

He said you can simply tip over potted plants to get the water out of a bromeliad’s well.

You can put a few drops of cooking oil, or fish oil in the tank of your bromeliad and that should be enough to keep your mosquitos away.

Chris Reisinger, the environmental analyst, with Palm Beach County Mosquito Control said the agency’s inspectors constantly check bromeliads for larva.

He removed all the bromeliads outside his home.

“Anything simple we can do is very worthwhile,” said Kornheiser.

She hopes a little awareness goes a long way in preventing the spread of Zika.