BY JAMES HARPER
Record rainfall in the Greater Daytona Beach area has Volusia County Council Member Josh Wagner worried about an infestation of mosquitoes.
Wagner, who represents Daytona Beach, said this week he will be organizing a workshop at the John H. Dickerson Center soon to provide information to residents so they can help “slow down the mosquito infestation.”
He said residents don’t realize bowls and other containers sitting on their properties filled with water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Wagner said he has asked Volusia Mosquito Control to do some extra spraying in the area to combat the growing problems. Residents can also request their neighbourhoods be sprayed. But the problem will only get worse if residents are not doing their share to lessen the problem.
National Weather Service in Melbourne said Tuesday that rainfall totals at DBIA are actually above normal since June 1st for the first time in three years.
In the last 80 days, 18.15 inches rain has fallen, nearly 2.5 inches above the norm (15.62).
The Daytona Beach International Airport (DBIA) has recorded 26.44 inches of rain to date this year.
Wagner said the annual mosquito invasion is under way, and Volusia County Mosquito Control is ramping up efforts to combat the problem stocking ponds with minnows and spraying with trucks and helicopters.
These efforts are successful in containing salt marsh and rainwater mosquitoes, but are less effective on the homegrown variety.
Many homeowners would be surprised to know they’re growing mosquitoes in items as small as toys and bottle caps left outside, said Jim McNelly, director of Volusia County’s Mosquito Control Division.
“We have two distinct types of mosquitoes in Volusia County – those that develop in salt marshes and rainwater, and those that grow in artificial containers,” McNelly said. “Both types are a problem because they bite and they can carry diseases.”
Salt marsh and rainwater mosquitoes become active at twilight and night, while container-bred mosquitoes take flight during the day and tend to be ankle-biters.
“About this time every year, we start getting calls from homeowners who say they’re being bitten on the ankles during the daytime,” McNelly said.
“When we send employees to their homes, we often find stagnant water, which is a prime breeding site for Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito. We’re also seeing a resurgence of an old foe, Aedes aegypti, in containers.”
Where they grow
These aggressive mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near water that can collect in a child’s toy truck, a dog’s water bowl, birdbaths, old tires, potted plants, corrugated pipes, clogged gutters, even the rim of a recycling bin if it’s turned upside-down. They also grow in bromeliads, the folds of tarps, and puddles caused by lawn over-watering.
Residents are asked to help fight the mosquito infestation by tipping and tossing empty pots and buckets; disposing of old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and broken appliances; replacing the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least once a week; removing leaves and other debris from troughs and gutters; picking up beverage containers and cups; avoiding over-watering the lawn; washing out bromeliads and other water-holding plants weekly; and covering or draining unused swimming pools.
To request mosquito service, visit volusia.org/mosquito or call 386-239-6516.