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Pools of water from Elsa could increase helicopter activity from Lee County Mosquito Control District

Helicopters and mosquito control
Posted at 7:57 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 10:45:47-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla.  — On Thursday, pools of water could be seen throughout Lee County after, tropical storm Elsa made her presence felt in SWFL.

The Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) told Fox 4 that even before Elsa, it was their busy season, meaning they were sending out helicopters on a daily basis to spray for mosquitoes.

During this time, Fox 4 had been receiving a lot of questions from people who were concerned that the helicopters flying around their homes could be linked to law enforcement.

Eric Jackson, Deputy Director LCMCD says this is because they use the same type of helicopters as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Jackson says since Elsa dumped a ton of water in Southwest Florida, it has created an interesting situation for the district.

They say while rising levels of water help eliminate nesting grounds for mosquitoes that lay eggs on dry land, it also gives the green light for more mosquitoes in our neighborhoods.

“We start dealing with what we call, “old water mosquitoes,” so mosquitoes that lay their eggs in water that has been there for a while and they will lay their eggs right on that water. Then we start focusing on those. That's also a problem later on because it's those mosquitoes that tend to transmit the diseases as well," said Jackson.

Jackson told Fox 4 one way you can separate them from the sheriff’s office is how they fly.

“They will see one of our helicopters flying at treetop level, flying over the treetops and then making a really sharp turn and then going back the same direction. What they are essentially doing is they are applying that material to that polygon that has been set up to treat,” he said.

Jackson says while they do use ground crews to help eliminate mosquitoes, helicopters allow them to target certain hot spots where the terrain in southwest Florida prevents people on foot from entering.

“You have a limited amount of time to get the mosquitoes. Our goal here is to get them as larvae. And that's really where those helicopters come into play. Is to get to all those remote areas where those mosquitoes are growing. So we are going to go out and do the inspection, with a helicopter, then we are going to treat with a helicopter, and then we are going to go back and do what we call back-checks with them,” said Jackson.

LCMCD updates its website daily for areas they plan to treat for mosquitoes. A link to their site can be found by clicking here.