Does it seem like there are more mosquitoes this summer than normal?
To find out why it seems so, WMNF interviewed Pinellas County Mosquito Control education outreach specialist Alissa Berro.
SK: What can you tell us about the mosquito season this year? Are there more mosquitos in Pinellas County and in the region than a normal?
“So, that’s one of the really interesting things about this year. We have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of service requests we get. And usually, that’s tied to really high mosquito populations or something else happening, such as when Zika hit Florida.
“However, this year, we have really average numbers of mosquitoes. And, even in some months, such as June, we actually had below average numbers of mosquitoes. Part of that was because, as you all know, we didn’t really get that rain that we typically get earlier in the season. It stayed relatively dry until recently. So, the breeding habitat that’s typically around the county that increases with all those rains, it just really wasn’t there.
“But, we were still seeing a lot of complaints about mosquitoes. The unique thing about this year is that with those mosquito complaints, what we saw, is that the majority of those are tied to container breeders, which are the mosquitoes that are actually adapted to live around people. And, they are the ones that live in your backyard, and in clogged gutters, and any other kind of container around your yard.”
SK: Part of the reason that you might be getting more calls is simply because more people are at home, or they’re spending time near their houses, outdoors, because of COVID-19.
“Exactly. That’s one of the unique things that we’ve seen this year. We really think that a lot of these complaints are stemming from those mosquitoes that are there. They may have been there, all along. But, one thing that’s happening is, because people are working from home, maybe their kids are staying home this summer instead of going to camp, people are spending a lot more time at home and outdoors in their backyard. And, they’re starting to see a lot of these mosquitoes.”
SK: Well, since we’re talking about COVID-19, I think we know the answer to this, but I might as well get you on the record talking about it. Can mosquitoes transmit the Coronavirus?
“That’s a great question. And, that’s one that we want to always address and make sure everybody knows that we’re not worried about mosquitoes transmitting COVID-19. They don’t transmit COVID-19 or that virus. So, at least, we don’t have to worry about mosquitoes in that respect.”
Watch more of this interview:
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