In warm weather, where there’s water, there are mosquitoes. Where there’s a drenching, like the one Hurricane Ian caused, there’ll be an invasion of mosquitoes. It’s been delayed by a week of cool nights. But with the return of hot days and warm nights, the pests are expected to swarm in force, and attack, if not countered.
To prevent that, the East Flagler Mosquito Control District, Flagler County Emergency Management and the state Agriculture Environmental Service, a division of the Department of Agriculture, are coordinating a ground and air spraying assault on most areas of the county, where ground water still stagnates in many places. The district’s trucks will start spraying this week.
Up to three planes sent by the state will fly and spray early next week, mostly at night. But you’ll hear them: they’ll fly below 500 feet, and will be noisy. They’ll be stationed at the Flagler County airport. The district could use its own helicopter, but planes can do the job faster and cover a broader area.
Instead of spraying 18,000 to 24,000 acres as in a normal period, the planes will extend the spraying to 180,000 acres, including agricultural areas to the west, Mark Positano, the East Flagler Mosquito Control District’s director, said today. “We’re going to have to treat a huge area to keep them from migrating where the human population is,” he said of mosquitos, as floodwater mosquitos can fly up to 10 miles in a night if the wind is right: they hop on to a wind current as onto a highway.
“Most species of mosquitoes are active from sunset to sunrise, and this is when Mosquito Control conducts spray operations,” Positano said. “Since the mosquitoes must be actively flying to come in contact with the sprayed pesticides, we cannot spray when conditions are too windy, it’s raining, and also when temperatures are too low for mosquitoes to be active.”
Mosquitoes are a blight in part because they’re very resilient and fertile. A female mosquito will lay up to 200 eggs. It’ll do so anywhere there’s standing water. The eggs, which look like tiny, cigar-shaped black turds, can survive for months until conditions are ripe for larvae to hatch–once the water level rises enough to cover the eggs. The 10 to 11 inches of rain during Ian’s passage lifted water levels across the county, potentially unleashing swarms ready to hatch for months. The thing will go through a larval then pupa stage before a mosquito emerges from the water, ready to hunt for blood.
Since most of the rain that flooded the interior of Flagler County fell on September 29, Positano is estimating a 14-day span between the trigger and the emergence of the mosquitos.
“Mosquito Control routinely treats by air using a helicopter and has done so for over thirty years. The state assistance through FEMA will allow for several planes to spray large parts of the County over a couple nights,” he said. But trucks will begin spraying at ground level starting this week. The spraying is done typically between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Last week the county’s Emergency Operations Center requested Mosquito District assistance with aerial reconnaissance of flooding on the west side of the county. County public works joined emergency management and Mosquito staff to find the low-lying areas between U.S. 1 and Daytona North flooded, along with several roads in Daytona North–all turned mosquito reeding grounds. The flight was documented in the following pictures by the district:
I am not looking forward to be sprayed over without my permission. Look out for decrease of other insects as well. Are there more environmentally friendly ways to do this? It’s seems a vicious circle in attempt to fight nature. I’m not against mosquitoe control but I am against spraying with planes. Where we live, there is no mosquito problem here. Spray the flooded areas only. Last time after one of those plane sprayings there was no butterflies in our yard.
Gail Walton says
I agree, please DO NOT SPRAY my area. I have worked hard to have a pollinator friendly yard. Spraying also kills the good insects which the birds eat. No bugs means no birds, dragon flies, bats, bees or butterflies.
Who can I contact to stop them spraying over my area?
I do understand that people don’t want a swarm of mosquitoes. Please no abusive replies. There are alternate means of protecting yourself.
1. Spray yourself with deet
2. Wear mosquitoe repellant clothing – available at Ex officio clothing
3. If sitting outdoors, use a fan. Mosquitoes are weak flyers.
4. Build a mosquito trap. Use a 5 gallon bucket, put hay or straw in the bottom and cover with water, put a mosquito dunk (harmless to wildlife) in the water and cover with hardware cloth that will allow mosquitoes in but not other wldlife. the mosquitoes will lay their eggs in the water, but the larvae will die.
Eileen Araujo says
1. Deet causes cancer
2.I am not buying a new wardrobe to go outside and water my plants.
3.I’d need a VERY BIG fan to chase away all the B-52 bomber size mosquitoes here.
4. I wish I had nothing better to do than build a house for your pet mosquitoes.
5.The only good mosquito is a dead mosquito….What they don’t spray in your yard, send them this way.
Skeeter Duke says
You’re so full of it. There’s zero evidence or supportive data to back up your paranoia, for a practice that has been done regularly for decades now.
By the way, ever thought to consider you don’t have a mosquito problem (or accompanying maleria) where you live because of practices such as this?
Most likely, the people complaining have not lived here long enough to have a voice in this matter. Mosquito control has been doing this for decades without known health issues. Go back to the Northeast and complain there. Again, people inject their beliefs into a part of the country they no nothing about. Conform, or leave. Good riddance already.
Applied at the correct dosage and droplet size, ultra low volume (ULV) spraying can kill large numbers of adult mosquitoes without killing most other insects. Look closely at a mosquito. They have very little mass (tiny) and relative to their size they have a large surface area. This makes them more susceptible to the fog sized insecticide droplets. At the time that the spraying will occur (night), insects such as butterflies are not active and thus much less likely to be killed. ULV spraying at approved levels will not have much effect on grasshoppers, cicadas, grubs, flies, bees or moth/butterfly larvae.
Eileen is mistaken, DEET has not been identified as a human carcinogen. It does not cause cancer. DEET was developed in 1944. Our military began using it in 1946 and it was approved for civilian use in 1957. However, DEET is slighty toxic and should be used as labeled and not on young children.
Just a reminder of how biting arthropods feed. When a mosquito bites, it first injects some saliva into the bite. The mosquito saliva contains an anesthesia agent so the victim doesn’t feel the bite. It also contains an anticoagulant so that the blood will not clot. If the mosquito is infected with a disease such as Dengue, West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis, etc., the disease organism may also be injected. Mosquitoes are dangerous. Each mosquito bite carries a very tiny, but very real risk of disease.
Considering all that I am not convinced that we need to be blasted with repellent using planes. It just covers too much of the unnecessary areas.
Please spray around Bulow Plantation area….and Old Kings Road south the mosquitoes are awful right now…. we usually have very few.
Thank you palm coast for spraying .I knew that when I moved here and am happy to pay for it I live on a canal and need the spray
Gail Walton says
Please do NOT spray on CR 5, rural Bunnell.
It seems some people are upset about having nowhere to hide as droplets of pesticide slowly blanket their homes and saturate the air we breath. Speaking of nowhere to hide, every single day and night we are subjected to a steady stream of piston driven Cessna aircraft burning LEADED aviation fuel over Palm Coast. Where does the lead go after it is sold and placed into these aircrafts being constantly flown over our community? Where does the lead go as students repeatedly fly over, circle or “stall” their aircraft and attempt to recover by throttling up over my home? Embry Riddle, where does the lead go? Ari Ben Aviation, where does the lead go? Christiansen Aviation, where does the lead go? Epic Flight Academy, where does the lead go? Phoenix East, where does the lead go? Teens in Flight, where does the lead go? Textron Aviation, where does the lead go? Sterling Flight Training, where does the lead go? Sunrise Aviation, where does the lead go? FAA, where does the lead go? EPA, where does the lead go? Congress, where does the lead go?