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Prepare for lots of mosquitoes in Palm Beach County

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 04:20:16-04

Watch out, mosquito season is about to kick off with a vengeance.

Palm Beach County Mosquito Control said all of the rain we've seen across South Florida has created the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the larvae are about to develop into biting adults.

Now is the time to dump any standing water you may have in your yard and bust out the mosquito spray collection.

We are T-minus one or two days away from a large number of mosquitoes hatching and biting us all.

Fred Metheny is working hard to clear his yard at his Lantana home.

"It was building up," he said as he raked up large leaves from underneath a tree.

He lives near a large easement, which has filled with water during recent rains and usually attracts lots of mosquitoes.

"When it rains hard, it floods out," he said.

So, he was happy to see Palm Beach County Mosquito Control pull onto his street to conduct some larvicide work.

"We feel safer that way," he said. "We have grandchildren that come and visit and we worry about them. Every day we shuttle them back into the house around 5 p.m. because we worry about the mosquitoes."

Crews are working overtime this week checking various points of standing water across the the area for larvae and larveciding problem areas to kill the mosquitoes before they develop into full grown adults.

"It'll be here soon," said environmental analyst Chris Reisinger. "Seems like we've got a lot of rain right at the beginning of the season than we did last year, so I'm thinking this first hatch out of mosquitoes might be worse than last year but honestly there's no way to tell until we start getting those adult mosquitoes in our traps, counting them and quantifying them."

Reisinger and his team uses a bacteria called BTI, or Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, to do the job.

"It's a natural way," said Reisinger. 'It's got no significant mammalian toxicity. I'd have no problem if my dog was drinking water out of this pond we just treated."

Near Metheny's home, mosquito control found a pool of stagnant water that needed to be treated with BTI. You could see thousands upon thousands of mosquito larvae swimming in the brown water.

"In every dip we're getting 50 to 100 larvae," said Reisinger. "There's a fair amount organic decaying material in here which will be food for the larvae as well as a fair amount of shade, lots of hiding places for the larvae. Plus, there's no fish in here which is one of the big things. A lot of the canals around here have fish in them so they're not going to be breeding any larvae."

Crews got right to work to treat the water and will continue the bug battle as the season heats up.

"All of these roadside ditches that have been dry for the last few months, are all flooded so they're putting out mosquitoes," said Reisinger.

Once they hatch, Metheny told me his family will be prepared.

"We're going to stock up on the mosquito spray and also keep an eye on the kids, mosquitoes are pretty sly," he said.

Mosquito Control is also working with the county health department to keep an eye on on Zika, Yellow Fever and other virus trends this year.

So far, no issues have been reported.

"If there is any threat of a disease in the county, we'll go out and check it out personally. We'll trap mosquitoes that could potentially have diseases, send them to the lab for DNA testing," said Reisinger. "We're definitely keeping an eye on it."

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