Okaloosa County sees increase in mosquito population following Hurricane Sally

Okaloosa County

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– A month after Hurricane Sally passed through the Panhandle area the impacts from the storm can still be felt.

Mosquito Control in Okaloosa county said they have seen a 1700 percent increase in the mosquito population in just the last few weeks.

Okaloosa County Mosquito Control Director, Scott Henson, said he is no stranger to the insect, and he and his team work hard to keep the population under control, but there is plenty more fighting to do.

“Hurricane Sally and the amount of rainfall we received left standing water over wide areas, plus the temperature ranges we have experienced since then have made it ideal for the hatching of several different species of mosquitoes,” Henson said.

While many just consider mosquitoes an annoying pest, Henson warned a particular species could be deadly, as it has the ability to spread diseases like West Nile Virus and Yellow Fever.

“The threat is greater with the presence of Culex Nigripalpus species, but we’re expecting some cooler temperatures in the next few days that might stop the hatch from getting worse than it is currently,” Henson said.

The mosquito control team is working to combat the massive increase in population by spraying adulticide treatments that targets the adult mosquito population.

Mosquito Control Division foreman Brian Shepheard said he’s seen the population increase firsthand.

“We had been trapping and identifying 300 to 400 mosquitoes each week. Now after Sally, we are trapping around 6,000 to 7,000 mosquitoes,” Shepheard said.

Shepheard said the Mosquito Control Division is already starting to see a decline in population.

“Just hang in there, we’re doing the best we can,” Shepheard said.

Shepheard said their trucks have computers in them that tell them which areas to spray. If you’re sensitive to insecticide and don’t want your home sprayed, you can contact Okaloosa County Mosquito Control at 850-651-7394.

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