POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Inside a Polk County mosquito lab, workers have the tedious task of identifying, counting, and separating the more than 40 species of the annoying bug.
Lately, the piles of mosquitoes are growing higher.
“Normally we expect, on a county-wide basis, about 500 mosquitoes per trap and right now we are at about 2,000 mosquitoes per trap,” said Mike Mahler, Manager of Mosquito Control.
Polk started seeing about four times the normal average after Tropical Storm Debby.
Mahler says the most common type of mosquito they’re seeing is not very aggressive, but it’s known to carry the West Nile Virus that caused outbreaks in many parts of the country.
The only reported case in Florida is in Duval County.
“Our primary focus is the prevention of mosquito born diseases. Worldwide, mosquitoes kill more people than all the wars combined,” Mahler said.
Mosquito control field crews spend the days searching for high concentrations of mosquito larvae in standing water or other problematic areas.
The crews then spray chemicals to kill the larvae.
At night, they also spray from trucks and a helicopter in the areas with the highest number of mosquitoes.
Mahler expects the spike in mosquitoes will continue until at least October.
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