The fact that we’ve had a dryer than usual summer has helped the state’s effort to minimize Zika cases. But now that we’re expecting a week worth of heavy rain, what does that mean for Zika control?
The staff at Palm Beach County Mosquito Control are putting in the overtime - crews now working 10 hour shifts to handle all the calls they've been getting.
The rain this week will increase their workload - but not necessarily the Zika threat.
Vivian Smith says Loxahatchee is no stranger to these pests.
“They're like the Florida mascot...the mosquitoes out here,” she says. “They're big, they're bad.”
Weeks like this serve as a re-introduction to them.
“It’s muggy and soggy, plus we've got the pond, we've got the swale that fills with water and everything...it doesn't help.”
We caught up with mosquito control's Chris Reisinger Monday outside of the Palm Beach Zoo.
He was installing mosquito traps to catch the Aedes aegypti mosquito - which carries the Zika virus.
When it comes to the rain we're receiving this week, he says it's a mixed bag.
First, the good:
“It's probably not going to contribute to a higher number of Aedes aegypti mosquitos," he says.
Chris says big rain events don't tend to bring increases in aegypti breeding.
The bad news, however...
“We’re probably going to get some nuisance type mosquitos out in the western communities - Jupiter Farms, the Acreage, Loxahatchee," he says.
He's encouraging everyone to dump standing water, so mosquitoes don't become even more of a nuisance - or worse.
Vivian says she knows the drill by now.
“We just gotta do what we need to do - put the spray on, empty the buckets of water, and that's the best you can do,” she says.
While the county doesn't plan on spraying again in the immediate future, the city of Palm Beach Gardens will conduct mosquito spraying starting Monday between dusk and midnight - weather permitting.
They will use a special chemical in that pesticide to target the aegypti mosquito.