Central Florida’s rainy winter brought a welcome respite from the long-term drought, but it also stirred up the mosquitos.
According to Jim McNelly, Volusia County’s mosquito control director, standing water in salt marshes, puddles and ditches are providing lively breeding grounds for the pesky insects.
Employees already are treating mosquito larvae in salt marshes, rainwater, catch basins and abandoned tire piles throughout Volusia County’s Mosquito Control District, which is primarily east of I-95. They haven’t received any complaints about bites yet, but they expect to start hearing them in coming weeks as temperatures rise and people start wearing short sleeves.
Residents who have stagnant water in their yards or in outdoor containers are adding to the mosquito population, McNelly noted. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in or near water that can collect in bird baths, toys, clogged gutters, tires, pet bowls, potted plants and other containers.
McNelly offers these tips to prepare for mosquito season:
• Tip outdoor containers and toss items that collect water.
• Clean out eaves and gutters as part of spring cleaning.
• Drain water from boats and tarps.
• Change the water in birdbaths and pet dishes at least once a week.
• Drain the water from bromeliads and other plants that hold water.
• Repair tears and gaps in screens.
• Vaccinate horses against Eastern equine encephalitis and West Nile virus.
• Give monthly heartworm treatments to dogs.
County residents who live within the mosquito control district can request service online at www.volusia.org/mosquito or by calling 386-424-2920 in New Smyrna Beach or 386-239-6516 in Daytona Beach. Residents of Deltona, DeBary, Orange City, Lake Helen, DeLand and Pierson should call their cities.