Mosquito control efforts underway in St. Lucie

Posted at 7:47 PM, Apr 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-06 19:47:58-04

While a third case of Zika was reported in Palm Beach County on Wedensday, there have still been no cases of Zika on the Treasure Coast.  But mosquito control operations aren't letting their guard down.

Tim Bankston and his daughter are looking for a good place to cast for bait fish in St. Lucie County. They know it’s also a good place for mosquitos.

“When they’re out, I wear long sleeve shirt and long sleeve pants, something that’s loose fitting and cool," said Bankston.

Nearby in the Bear Point Sanctuary, they’re pumping water into the mangroves. it’s a first line of defense against mosquitos.

“It's to eliminate egg laying areas for the mosquitos," said St. Lucie County Mosquito Control Manager Terrill Mincey.

Mincey says starting now and lasting until September, about 65 billion gallons of water will be fed into wetlands around the county to flood the soil where mosquitos breed.

“This gets us started.  This starts our season.”

Mincey says it’s important to note that this particular plan of attack only targets the coastal saltwater mosquito population.

In Lakewood Park, and other residential areas, the hunt is for mosquito larvae that could carry the Zika virus.

“They primarily are short flight mosquitos that usually look for containers around somebody’s house… a bird bath, kids toys." said Mincey.

A mosquito magnet is emptied and only a few mosquitos are found in one community park, but other bags show more. In recent years, the Treasure Coast has seen cases of dengue fever and chikungunya. Keeping on top of all mosquito borne illness will be a top priority this spring and summer.