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Lee County seeing an increase in mosquitos in the wake of Hurricane Ian

Posted at 7:45 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 19:45:01-04

FORT MYERS SHORES, Fla. — After Hurricane Ian, many of us are spending more time outside cleaning up debris or just getting out of the house to enjoy the nice weather we have been having. Unfortunately, our familiar friend, the mosquito, is coming back in full force now that the winds have calmed.

“After the storm, mosquitos really weren’t bad,” said Lee County Mosquito Control District Deputy Director Eric Jackson. “We were fortunate that we had cooler weather so that people could keep open their windows open with the air conditioning off, obviously with no power, So that was helpful for the first few days. Now, a week in, we are starting to see a lot of mosquitos popping up.”

Jackson says the winds from Ian not only knocked the mosquitos for a period, but Ian’s surge also flooded out the salt marshes, stunning the growth of some species.

“The salt marsh areas aren’t really too bad,” said Jackson. “They were completely flooded. So the mosquitos have been completely blow out. But now that we have a lot standing water out there are these mosquitos that lay their eggs right at the surface of the water and those are the ones that are real problem, because those are capable of carrying disease.”

Luckily, there hasn’t been any mosquitos diseases detected related this recent surge from Hurricane Ian. Jackson says they attacking this mosquito outbreak a little differently they have done at other times of year due to its scale.

“Our primary goal throughout the year is to get mosquitos before they become a biting adult, but when you have some many areas that you have to cover, we are really chasing after it with all these places that have popped up,” said Jackson.

With more places seeing mosquito outbreaks right now, the mosquito control district says you can do your part, by limiting amount of standing water around your home. That standing could host a breading ground for hundreds of mosquitos.

“Just do whatever you can to amount of water that is collected in that debris,” said Jackson. “Even small pots, like flower pots, or rain gutters that may have been pulled off. When you bring that to the curb, if there is a way to set it up so that it is collecting the least amount of water as possible that is helpful. Because those a perfect places for mosquitos to breed.”

Friday night, Lee Country Mosquitos Control District is flying three aircraft spraying adulticide across Estero, Fort Myers Shores, and North Fort Myers. Additionally, the will be ground spraying along Burnt Store in North Cape Coral. They plan to do additional spraying on Saturday in Buckingham, Estero, and North Fort Myers.