By Tamas Mondovics

The good news is that according to local officials so far this mosquito season, there hasn’t been any case of mosquito-transmitted disease recorded in Hillsborough County.

That, however, by no means gives a green light for the County Public Works Department’s Mosquito and Aquatic Weed Control division to relax about the season, which has seen its share of rainy season precipitation.

Hillsborough County Mosquito and Aquatic Weed Control department manager, Carlos Fernandes, said that mosquito population follows the pattern of showing an increase in number of mosquitoes trapped, the increase in the number of Customer Service Requests and increase in the number of spray truck missions deployed.

In fact during May, the County received 301 customer service requests, and as of the end of June, the number of customer service requests reached more than 800.

“The main concern is to increase the number of acres treated for larviciding to avoid the mosquito larvae to become adult mosquito and be a potential vector of mosquito-transmitted diseases,” Fernandes said adding that the County currently operates a geographically well distributed network of CDC Mosquito traps totaling 78.

There are 15 sentinel chicken sites, as well as larval inspections from Mosquito Control field workers on foot, while the department employs the County’s helicopter for areas of difficult access.

Landing Rate Counting (LRC), which is the number of mosquitoes that will land on the body in one minute interval, are also recorded by field workers.

The County deployed 16 spray trucks in May and for the month of June a total of 17. Additionally, the County controlled mosquito larvae countywide with the application of biological treatment Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis) by hand pump sprayers and aerial applications.

Residents are encouraged to follow a number of safety measures issued by the Hillsborough County Health Department’s ‘Drain and Cover’ initiative, that includes covering the skin with appropriate clothing, use repellents, covering doors and windows with screens, drain standing water, empty and regularly clean bird baths, pet water bowls, as well as maintain the water balance (pool chemistry) of swimming pools.

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