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Growers Say Bromeliads Not To Blame For Zika Outbreak

Randy OHC
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Until recently, Miami Beach Botanical Garden was home to more than 2,000 colorful bromeliads.

But officials ordered the city-owned garden to uproot the plants, which were identified as breeding grounds for mosquitoes with Zika. Miami Beach residents have been encouraged to follow suit in their own yards.

Gardeners and bromeliad growers are angry about that recommendation. They say the city should be demonstrating landscaping practices that make bromeliads less hospitable to mosquitoes instead of fueling Zika fears.

City officials say they're targeting mosquitoes to stop the spread of a virus that can cause severe brain-related birth defects when pregnant women become infected. All bromeliads have been pulled from medians and parks throughout Miami Beach.

Elsewhere in Miami-Dade County, officials recommend treating bromeliads with bacterial pesticides and regular hosings to flush out mosquito larvae.