Beach Mosquito Control District tackles pests from chopper

News
The Zika virus is spread through the bite of mosquitos.
 
The Beach Mosquito Control District is on the front-lines of the fight against the disease.
 
That front-line happens to be in the skies above Bay County, in a OH-58 Bell Ranger Helicopter.
 
Pilot Brad Gunn believes the aerial attacks are working.
 
“The numbers go up we’ll get much more aggressive, but the numbers haven’t come up,” said Gunn.
 
Gunn’s job is to spray for mosquitos in those place that his colleagues can’t reach on the ground.
 
“Now the trucks and the ground guys come to a point where they’ll go out there and take care of it but it gets so far into the wooded area that they’re not able to physically get to them. So that’s why we use this aircraft because I can get to all of them,” said Gunn. 
 
The district has been using helicopters for about 20 years.
 
The choppers cover areas of standing water North of Back Beach Road.
 
Gunn said he tackles a total of 25 areas at night-time, killing larvae before they becomes adult mosquitos. 
 
“It’s better to get them at that point because they’re in a contained environment versus when they’re flying and you got to deal with that,” said Gunn.
 
The District also sends larvae samples to Tallahassee to test for Zika. 
 
“We can get the approval from the state of Florida, if we need to. That’s why we send so many testing pools — they call them pools to the lab to see if there’s any indication, with our sister counties doing the same thing,” said Gunn.
 
Gunn also tracks the number of acres he covers and how much pesticide he sprays.
 
The Beach Mosquito Control District wants people to report possible problems.
 
The number to call is 850-233-5030.
 
 

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