CRESTVIEW — Okaloosa residents with standing water on their property may want to get live fish from the county if they are inundated with mosquitoes.

Okaloosa County Mosquito Control provides gambusia fish free of charge to people who contact the county Public Works Department. The fish can eat several hundred larvae a day, according to PondDigger.com.

"It's pretty much done as a normal work order," Dan Debord, North Okaloosa Mosquito Control employee, said. "We bring fish out to their private property and have them sign a release."

After that, the fish can fend for themselves. "People can feed them to boost their numbers, but it's really not necessary," Debord said. "They are a slightly aggressive fish, but as far as problems, there haven't been any."

"People can feed them to boost their numbers, but it's really not necessary," Debord said. "They are a slightly aggressive fish, but as far as problems, there haven't been any."

The county has stocks of the fish in holding ponds and feeds them catfish food as necessary.

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When the county gets a call from a resident, they net some gambusia and put it in a 5-gallon bucket for transport and delivery, according to Debord.

During dry periods, the mosquito fish in certain areas die out. For people with acres of space that dry up in hot weather, the fish come in handy. When the rain fills those spaces back up, without the gambusia, the site would be overwhelmed with mosquitoes.

"They help us out a lot," Debord, a Crestview resident, said.

Debord delivered a few of the fish to the Crestview library the first week of May, along with an information board describing their benefits.

They will be available for viewing at the Crestview library for about a month.

The library planned to give away the fish in little baggies during an upcoming program about them, "but they don't survive without oxygen," Reference Librarian Sandra Dreaden said.

Area residents may have the fish delivered by calling the county Public Works department, 689-5772. Hours are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The department is closed Fridays.