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Key Player MOSQUITO WHISPERER Retired U.S. Marine Robert LeBlanc handles the day-to-day operations of SWAT Mosquito Systems and shares how you can protect your family from those pesky buzzers all year round. T E X T BY E S T R E L L I TA S . S I B I L A P H OTO BY X I M E N A E TC H E R T Q: It’s not every day you meet a mosquito whisperer. How did you get started? A: “I’ve been in the industry for 15 years, working my way up from technician to branch manager before transitioning to the mosquito business. I now handle the day-to-day operations and maintain customer satisfaction at SWAT Mosquito Systems. One of my many goals is to keep our customers excited about our services. I’ve enjoyed every minute of my career thus far!” THE BUZZ Best Advice: “My father-in- law once told me that listening is very different from hearing and that’s helped me a lot in the workplace and in life.” Giving Back: “I’m involved with The Wounded Warrior Project to help veterans and those injured in combat.” Perfect Miami Day: “Going to the beach with my wife and two sons. Time goes by too fast not to spend it with the ones you love.” Q: Tell us everything we need to know about mosquitos. A: “In South Florida, the season varies from year to year based on a number of things like rain and how cold it gets, but typically the mosquito season spans from March until November. Mosquitoes are capable of laying up to 250 eggs at a time in still water, which will hatch in 7-15 days. During the off season, mosquitoes can lay dormant for up to one year. If standing water is eliminated weekly, many mosquitoes will be kept from breeding in the first place. It’s really important to clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used as they can become breeding grounds for mosquitos; a swimming pool that’s left unattended for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to infest an entire neighborhood!” 86 Q: What are some tips to keep the little blood-suckers under control? A: “Empty standing water from containers on your property once a week and drill holes in the bottom of trash containers left outdoors. Flooded roof gutters are easily overlooked but can produce hundreds of mosquitoes each season. Eliminating standing water is the first step in any anti-mosquito campaign.” Q: Why is your mosquito system the best in the market?! A: “SWAT Mosquito Systems create a mosquito prevention perimeter via a custom-built misting system. The system actually works as a barrier around your home to keep mosquitos away, and allowing you and your family and friends to enjoy all of your outside spaces like never before. Our systems are the best in the industry because of the amount of effort we put into our installations and servicing. We adjust our systems to the needs of each customer to ensure complete satisfaction — and we continually offer advice on simple steps to prevent infestations year-round.”