Swampy old Florida is well acquainted with mosquitoes. But thanks to Hurricane Irma, the end of this year’s mosquito season has been particularly crazy, even by Florida’s standards.
As a testament of this itch-inducing predicament, a single mosquito trap in Florida caught more than 26,000 of the bugs in just 16 hours. Hernando County Mosquito Control released the image last week along with reports of mosquitoes "terrorizing residents throughout the county.”
“Just to give you a visual of what we're dealing with in the field...” the Hernando County Mosquito Control said in a Facebook post of the image.
“Typically this same time of the year we could expect a count downwards of 500. The pile you're looking at is roughly over 26,000 mosquitoes, comprised of 10 different species of mosquitoes – daytime and nighttime biters."
The trap was placed just north of Pasco county line between 3pm and 7am late last month and caught a huge variety of species, including some capable of transmitting diseases. The traps are for observational purposes, as opposed to active control, so hopefully the bundle of bloodsuckers will provide information about Florida's current mosquito problem.
The outpouring of irritating bugs comes off the bat of Hurricane Irma. While clean-up operations continue, this violent Category 4 storm left swathes of the state covered in warm standing water – the perfect place for mosquitoes to breed. There’s a similar situation going on in the south of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and many are expecting similar problems in Puerto Rico as disease-spreading mosquitoes could thrive in the island’s floodwaters.
Not only are these buzzing insects a real pain in the ass, they also carry at least nine different diseases including Zika, malaria, and West Nile virus. Florida authorities are busy spraying badly affected areas with a biological larvicide in the hopes of curtailing any spread of disease.
“Nightly spray missions are helping knock down the adult populations, but more importantly, our field techs are out daily treating standing water to prevent new adults from hatching off,” the Hernando County Mosquito Contro added. "Cover up as much as possible, and wear repellent to #fightthebite!"