ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Mosquitoes are everywhere this time of year. The summer months, especially June, July and August are the worst because it's the rainy season. Mosquitoes love it when it rains because they breed in standing water left behind after a storm. And the bad news is, experts say the biting bugs, that are known to spread all sorts of diseases, are getting bigger.
People like Edison Burney (right) are fighting back. He lives on a large ranch in St. Johns County near I-95 and 207. He uses the county to help out. And besides the taxes he and everyone else pay anyway, it's free.
"I ask them for advice and they have some good advice," said Burney. "You don't have to pay for the advice."
Patrick Kendrick is an inspector sprayer with St. Johns County and is one of the people who responds to service calls. And Kendrick knows mosquitoes. He points to a mosquito that landed on him and is able to identify it right away.
Kendrick says his job is three-fold. He looks to see if there is indeed a bug problem. He works to get rid of the insects and then he tries to teach homeowners ways to keep them from coming back.
We followed Kendrick for a day and saw him in action.
He found mosquitoes and larvae in ditches. Remember, standing water can be their best friend and your worst enemy. Mosquitoes only need a small amount of water to freed, in fact, they can grow in just one tablespoon.
So, Kendrick sprays chemicals in the water that can't easily be drained, but sometimes he takes a more primitive approach, with minnows (pictured, below). Fish eat the mosquito larvae and therefore can fix a lot of problems.
"One tire will bring enough mosquitoes for an entire neighborhood, so you have to be careful with tires," warned Kendrick.
Also, many people don't realize some plants can collect water and in turn breed bugs. Vermilliads are notorious for it.
While Kendrick and St. Johns County's mosquito control are among the most proactive, you can get the same kind of treatment in just about every county in our area.
While we didn't hear back from every single county we contacted, officials tell us Duval, Clay, Nassau, Columbia and parts of Baker and Flagler Counties offer similar services as St. Johns County, where property owners can call and request inspections. We're told Putnam County only sprays on county roads.
Nothing will get rid of mosquitoes altogether, but experts say the local programs can make your life outdoors a lot better.
Duval County: (904) 630-CITY (2489) or www.coj.net
St. Johns County: (904) 471-3107 or amcdsjc.org
Clay County: (904) 284-6335 or claycounty gov.com
Flagler County (available only in East Flagler): (386) 445-4135 or flaglermosquito.com
Columbia County: (386) 752-6050 or online at www.columbiacountyfla.com
Macclenny in Baker County: (904) 259-331 or online at cityofmacclenny.com
The Florida Department of Health recommends the 5 D's to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes:
- Dusk and Dawn -- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
- Dress -- Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
- DEET -- When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET are recommended. Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are other repellent options. DEET is available for FREE at many county health departments.
- Drainage -- Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
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