"It's already collected mosquitoes," says Dale Martin, an entomologist with the Beach Mosquito Control District. Grabbing the mosquito trap, he points to the mosquitoes inside. "Its already probably got like 50 mosquitoes in it."
Beach Mosquito Control District has set up traps in various locations across the Panama City beach area. Carbon dioxide lures the mosquitoes to nets where they become trapped. Earlier this week when Martin collected mosquitoes from the traps, he documented a little over 21,000 mosquitoes in a 12 hour period. Martin says that number is extremely above their average.
Between that collection and a case of West Nile found in one of their chickens, Beach Mosquito Control District increased efforts to spray for the pests. They used their helicopter both Tuesday and Wednesday to aerial spray for mosquitoes.
Martin says the persistent rainfall is to blame for this increase in mosquitoes. "June, I think we might have just caught 30,000 mosquitoes all month," says Martin.
Meanwhile the Beach Patrol Mosquito District can't urge residents enough to throw out any standing water outside their home. Any standing water combined with hot temperatures makes for a perfect breeding ground. "Say you have a bird bath outside," explains Cindy Mulla, who is a Research and Education Team Leader with Beach Mosquito Control District. "If the temperature of that bird bath is 80 degrees, and a mosquito lays her eggs on top of the water, those eggs will hatch in 15 minutes. And before you know it, in 7 to 8 days, you'll have a full adult mosquito looking for a blood meal." Mulla says recent rainfall is also helping eggs that were laid a year ago hatch now.
To help protect yourself, she encourages wearing a mosquito repellant. When applying repellant, she says it's important people realize it's similar to applying sunscreen. A repellant with a lower concentration of deet needs to be reapplied more often just like a sunscreen with a weaker SPF would. Since mosquitoes are always out at dusk and dawn, she urges parents to put mosquito repellant on their children who will be waiting at the bus stop. She says even applying the repellant to a child's clothing as opposed to their skin will help keep the blood thirsty insects away.