July 15, 2009

Mosquitoes plaguing South Florida

Heavy rains in South Florida have resulted in one of the worst mosquito seasons in recent years, an insect expert says.

Joseph Marhefka, a mosquito control manager in Broward County, Fla., said heavy June and July storms resulted in increased mosquito populations that have prompted thousands of complaints from South Florida residents, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

''It's one of the worst seasons and busiest seasons I've seen in the last 10 years," Marhefka said.

The heavy rainfall helped create ideal conditions for mosquito larvae to develop in areas like Biscayne National Park's Elliott Key. Those mosquito populations then relocated to more populated areas, leaving residents of Miami-Dade and Broward counties searching for insect repellent.

In response, Miami-Dade authorities have sprayed insecticide on 176,000 acres of land, while 80,000 acres were sprayed in Broward County in June.

The Herald said the spraying kills adult mosquitoes but does nothing to mosquito larvae, which can grow in stagnant water typically found in palm fronds, bird baths or abandoned pools.