More rain means more mosquitoes for Volusia

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With rainy season in full swing, additional standing water provides ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“Surveillance data shows increasing populations of mosquitoes classified as floodwater,” said Volusia County Mosquito Control Director Suzanne Bartlett. “Floodwater mosquitoes result from eggs laid in the soil that have dried and are awaiting a rain event to hatch into mosquito larvae.”

Volusia County Mosquito Control is an integrated pest management program that includes an extensive surveillance program. Mosquito populations are tracked by species and location using mosquito traps, while sentinel chickens are used to monitor activity of mosquito transmitted viruses. The data collected is then used to develop a response plan specific to the area.

About the operations Larvicide operations are routinely conducted by field inspectors on the ground and also by air using a helicopter during the daytime hours. Larviciding targets mosquito larvae in the water before they emerge into biting adult mosquitoes.

When adult populations increase and risk of mosquito-borne illness is elevated, adulticide operations are planned to target flying mosquitoes.

These operations are done by truck, helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft after sunset or before sunrise when pollinators such as bees are not active. An online web map, available at Volusia.org/mosquito, shows planned and recently sprayed areas. This map is updated daily.

“Mosquito Control staff is working day and night to combat these pesky mosquitoes. Based upon recent widespread rainfall affecting the county, we are planning aerial adulticide operations,” Bartlett said. “We will have increased low flying helicopter operations over the next few weeks, as weather permits.”

Other steps

Mosquito Control encourages everyone to do what they can to help reduce mosquitoes by taking a walk around their home to look for any containers such as bird baths, potted plants, kiddie pools and yard ornaments that may be holding water.

Emptying this water at leastonce a week can break the mosquito life cycle. Areas where water cannot be drained may be a good spot for mosquito fish (Gambusia), which are provided at no cost to the public.

Another key step is to protect yourself and your family by using an EPA approved repellent. For more suggestions, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html

Additional information regarding Volusia County Mosquito Control operations and an online service request form can be found at Volusia.org/mosquito

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