District treating for mosquitoes throughout Lee
As the Southwest Florida area heads into the rainy summer months, area residents may notice things getting a bit “buggy.”
The Lee County Mosquito Control District has begun mosquito treatments throughout the region, as officials say a rise in population starts in the early summer months.
“Season typically starts in May or early June with the first high tides, but our subtropical weather allows for mosquitoes year-round,” Eric Jackson, spokesperson for the LCMCD, said.
In recent weeks, areas on Sanibel and Captiva have been treated, along with areas in Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres and Pine Island.
On June 18, the west end of West Gulf Drive east to Casa Ybel Road, including Rabbit Road and Tarpon Bay Road, and west of Periwinkle Way on Sanibel was treated, as well as from Blind Pass southeast to Belding Drive. For Captiva, South Seas Plantation South to Blind Pass was treated.
On June 17, the east end of Sanibel from the Sanibel Lighthouse west to Dixie Beach Boulevard and the west end of Middle Gulf Drive at Casa Ybel Road was treated for mosquitoes by the district.
Areas of Sanibel also received treatments on June 12 and May 29.
The LCMCD serves areas based on service requests.
“Any time a citizen feels like they are having mosquito problems, they can call the district and request service or submit a service request online. There is no cost for service requests,” Jackson said.
On Sanibel and Captiva, the district uses an adulticide for its normal treatment operations. He explained that adult mosquitoes are treated with Permethrin, which is dispersed via trucks.
The LCMCD also uses chickens as a tool to monitor for viruses mosquitos may carry.
“The sentinel chicken program serves as a valuable surveillance tool to monitor for mosquito-borne viruses,” Jackson said. “The district maintains sentinel chicken flocks across the county, as well as an additional supply of birds kept at the district.”
He noted that there are sites on Sanibel.
“The sentinel chickens serve as a sampling tool to monitor for the active transmission of diseases within the wild bird population,” Jackson said. “This form of proactive disease monitoring is conducted by testing samples of chicken blood on a bi-weekly bases. The district tests all samples in house, as well as sends an additional sample to the state laboratory for confirmation and official record keeping. If a sample is confirmed as positive the nearby area will be scheduled for treatment to suppress further disease transmission.”
Why is the program effective?
“Chickens are very effective at testing positive for West Nile virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus if they have been infected,” he said. “It’s a great indicator and helps us protect public health”
The LCMCD has been serving Lee County for over 60 years. Acres of salt marsh and wetlands create prolific breeding habitats for mosquitoes – which are monitored by the district. Employees are trained and certified in Public Health Pest Control.
Residents experiencing a high number of mosquitoes at their residence can submit an online service request at www.lcmcd.com or they can contact the district at 239-694-2174.
Scheduled night-time treatments are announced on the district’s website and Twitter page.
For more information or updates on treatments, visit the Lee County Mosquito Control District at www.lcmcd.org or follow the district on Twitter @leecomosquito.
Tiffany Repecki contributed to this article (firstname.lastname@example.org).