Mosquito bites and summer Florida weather go hand in hand. The humid wet environment is a breeding ground for all types of bugs. However, some Tampa residents are saying there is actually an increase in the blood-sucking insects in their neighborhoods.
South Tampa, South Brandon, Northern Riverview and Seminole Heights have all seen more mosquito complaints to Hillsborough County Mosquito Control in the last week. The county responded by sending mosquito spraying trucks through those areas.
FREE MOSQUITO-EATING FISH are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the lab,1408 24th St. S.E., in Ruskin. It's a combined effort of Extension and Hillsborough County Mosquito Control.
Sofia Ball, a toddler, became a meal for mosquitoes during the July 4th weekend.
“Then the next day, she woke up and it was all swollen,” said her mother, Jamie Ball. Her mother described the golf-sized bite that had swollen dramatically on her younger daughter’s face.
“She doesn’t ever really get bitten. And this year, she has them on the back of her legs, her face,” said Ball. She carries around bug repellent with her everywhere.
She is not alone as a concerned mother worried that mosquitoes will feast on her young kids.
Megan Collins was another mother at a local park trying to enjoy a day with her her son, Trace.
“It’s bad, like if we just try to sit outside,” said Collins.
Collins has also taken measures to ward off the mosquitoes as best she can.
“I just think people should take it open themselves to dump standing water, use bug spray and get mosquito zappers,” said Collins.
Hillsborough County mosquito director, Donnie Hayes, says concerned mothers are right. There has been a surge of mosquitoes this past summer in some neighborhoods.
He says that the Brandon and South Tampa areas have been the most heavily affected. According to the information he has gathered, there are 42,000 more mosquitoes than there were last year at this same time.
The mosquitoes thrive in damp wet areas, which is why even half an inch of water can bring a storm of them in.
“Just look for the standing water and tip and pour. Tip and pour is the easiest thing to do,” said Hayes. He recommends that residents check their home weekly for any accumulated water that they can just tip and pour.
And with an increase in mosquitoes, there has been an increase in calls to the Hillsborough County Mosquito Control.
“We need citizens to give us a call and let us know hey, what parts of the county are having a problem right now,” said Hayes.
There are also other ways to fight the blood-sucking creatures. The Hillsborough County mosquito control is breeding a native fish that county residents can come get for free. These fish are natural predators of mosquitoes. They also self-control their population, so overcrowding does not become an issue.
If you are concerned the mosquito population in your neighborhood has significantly increased, click here to submit an online form to Hillsborough County Mosquito Control. You can also call 813-635-5400.