PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — It’s National Mosquito Awareness Week and Beach Mosquito Control is passing the repellant and working to fight off mother nature’s vampires.
“We need to know how many mosquitos and what species are out there before we go do control measures,” said Beach Mosquito Control Director James Clauson.
By identifying mosquito species across the panhandle and testing pesticides, Clauson and his team are being proactive.
“Mosquitoes vector different diseases Aedes aegypti is the main vector for Zika, and yellow fever,” said Clauson. “Fortunately, we don’t have Aedes aegypti here, but we are always on the lookout for it. But we have its cousin Aedes albopictus and it has been shown to vector those diseases.”
In the lab, entomologists raise different types of mosquitoes so they understand how to stop the spread of diseases as best they can. In doing so they have a system.
“We have a program called map vision, where if someone has a mosquito concern they would call us up, and we will enter that information,” said Clauson. “As soon as we enter it, it pops up on the screen of the technicians while they are out in the field.”
Technicians just like Kyle Pridgen receive information and can respond to calls within an hour.
“An icon will pop up on there and it will give me your name and address and phone number,” Pridgen said.
Pridgen responds to calls throughout the day as well as checks on various standing water throughout their district.
“We want to try and get the mosquitos while they are still in the larva stage before they turn into adults,” he said. “Adults are way harder to control and that is when we will have to send a spray truck.”
With the increase in rainfall over the past few days, Pridgen said they may also go up in their helicopter to spray. Any mosquito eggs located in standing water have the ability to hatch into adults within 7 to ten days.
Since this week is Mosquito Awareness Week, the Beach Mosquito Control wants to help educate. You can visit them at Lowes in Panama City Beach Wednesday. As well as Thursday for their Movies and S’mores event, which starts at 6:30 p.m.