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THAT BITES: Why it's hard to predict this summer's mosquito season in SWFL

The Lee County Mosquito Control District told Fox 4's Lehigh Acres Community Correspondent Ella Rhoades that unusual weather patterns made it hard to predict the summer's "mosquito season."
Posted at 12:12 AM, Apr 06, 2024

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. — It's a bug most Floridians hate to see or find out too late before it bites.

Locals who described Lee County mosquitos to me said things like "Stabbed by syringes," "It should be the state bird," "Relentless" and "You're living in a swamp."

Well, there's a lot of us living in "the swamp" and it's up to the the Lee County Mosquito Control District to help make life in the swamp better, "and" protect us from disease.

Communications Director Jenifer McBride says the unusual weather patterns make it hard to predict what the next few months of "mosquito weather" will be like.

"I would love to be a fortune teller and predict what this summer is going to bring, but it really depends on those rains that we typically see."

Jenifer McBride, Communications Director, Lee County Mosquito Control District

More than 50 mosquito species call Lee County home. The one you are likely to run into the most is the aedis aegypti.

Aedes aegypti mosquito rests on skin, photo on black
In this photo, an aedes aegypti mosquito rests on skin. It is an invasive species of mosquito from the Tropics that can carry Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya, or yellow fever, according to the Orange County, CA Mosquito and Vector Control District.

And McBride knows what she's talking about, because the Lee County Mosquito Control District is one of the largest mosquito control districts in the country.

Nick Lefkow is a drone pilot for the district and sprays a special pesticide on mosquito habitats. The data he gathers while out in the field and in the air helps the district know what areas need to be sprayed.

Love them or hate them it's their home too.

"A level of acceptance that we live in Florida goes a long ways. There will never come a time where you don't see mosquitos," Lefkow says.

The district says it's only the female mosquitoes that bite and not all are bad.

Lefkow says, "If it weren't for those mosquitoes there to protect beautiful pristine environments from species, like us, we might not see those beautiful scenes today."

The district says if your neighborhood sees a significant amount of mosquitoes, reach out. Find more information here.