Mosquitoes: More this Year than Last Year? | Environment

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Mosquitoes: More this Year than Last Year?
Environment, Health

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Peggy Munsey and her dog Gunner head out for their morning run each day, and every time, there's a pesky disruption.

"Yeah, they're very bad in this area," said Munsey.

The mosquitoes around her Clifton Road neighborhood in Jacksonville are unbearable and her neighbors agree it's the worst they've seen.

Jacksonville's Mosquito Control is tracking increasing calls for service on maps. In May, there were about 300 calls for service.  In June, that number doubled, and already in July, calls for service have exceeded 600.

"It's very irritating.  I was just talking to a neighbor yesterday and said, can you call the mosquito people because I've already called them twice," said Munsey.

Richard Smith, mosquito control superintendent, said he thinks the number of service requests will top 5,000. "That's a lot of service requests," he said.

Smith blames the dry spell, followed by the recent rain.

"It's been a long time since we've had mosquito infestations like we're experiencing now. We've had two or three dry years," he said.

So to fight them, between six and eight fog trucks are going out to spray neighborhoods twice a day. Normally it's four trucks, once a day.

Smith said, despite city budget cuts, the department is maintaining the same level of service for residents to keep mosquitoes under control.

"Mosquito control is a very sensitive to budget cuts, but because of careful planning, we have a sufficient supply of insecticide at this time to carry us through this season," he said.

That's great news for mosquito victims like Munsey who's had to resort to all kinds of methods to ward them off.

"I saw in a health magazine the other day that you can rub a little bit of vanilla extract on you," said Munsey. "I tried it and it does seem to work."

To protect yourself, avoid being outside at dusk and dawn, wear protective clothing if you have to work outside, and use an insect repellent that contains DEET.

Tips to prevent mosquito breeding on your property:

  • Eliminate any standing water around your home
  • Remove old tires, broken or unused toys from your yard
  • Keep lids on the garbage cans
  • Keep all gutters free of debris that could trap water
  • Replace water in any birdbaths at least twice a week
  • If you have mosquito problems in your neighborhood, call 630-CITY.
Environment, Health

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