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Lack of rain helping Mosquito Control

This photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Scientists believe the species originated in Africa, but came to the Americas on slave ships. It's continued to spread through shipping and airplanes.
This photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. Scientists believe the species originated in Africa, but came to the Americas on slave ships. It's continued to spread through shipping and airplanes. AP

Twelve days without rain following landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys has worked to the advantage of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District.

“We’re obviously doing a lot more adulticide missions than normal, but what’s fortunate is we’ve been dry since the storm,” said Beth Ranson, public information officer. “If we had rain, it would have made for more difficult conditions.”

She said workers have been spraying for adult mosquitoes consistently and there was a five-day period following the Sept. 10 storm that they did not spray.

“We should be fully back up with normal operations on Tuesday,” Ranson said, adding inspectors will be out and about checking properties for standing water.

Mosquitoes can breed in amounts of water as small as a bottle cap.

“Even if you can’t get to standing water, make it safe for inspectors to come on the property,” she said. “This will be a great time while people are cleaning up to dump any standing water.”

The possibility of a major hurricane was a concern for Mosquito Control Board commissioners prior to construction of a new Lower Keys operations building, which started going up in July. What has gone up so far was not damaged, Ranson said.

“The Big Coppitt building site only had landscaping damage. The district’s current three buildings had some minor damage but we’re still fully operational,” Ranson said, adding overall the district only lost two trucks as a result of the storm.

While budget planning was underway prior to the storm, two budget hearings will be rescheduled and the district has been given a 30-day extension for the fiscal year 2018 spending plan that would have been due Oct. 1.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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