MIAMI (CBS4) – With an early start to the rainy season, mosquitoes have wasted no time making themselves at home in South Florida.
“Mosquitoes usually start getting bad around July, around the Fourth of July weekend,” said Manuel Garcia with Miami-Dade Mosquito Control. “This year it started a month early.”
That means, whether you’re at the park or by the pool, you could be a mosquito’s next meal.
At Tropical Park, basketball players complained about the pesky insects Monday around dusk.
“On my neck, on my legs, I’ve been eaten alive,” Stephen Giraldo said. “There’s been a lot lately. Especially since its summer and it’s been raining a lot. They’re everywhere.”
His friend Luiz Pelaez agreed. Both said the problem was worse in the Kendall area.
“I got bit a bunch of times trying to help my boy’s mom,” Pelaez explained.
Miami-Dade Mosquito Control trucks are armed and ready to deal with the latest wave of pests.
“We’ve gotten a substantial amount of calls in the last couple of weeks in regards to mosquitoes,” department chief Manuel Garcia said.
The department was fielding about 300 calls a day complaining about mosquitoes before it launched an aerial attack earlier this month.
“The mission we accomplished was about 77,000 acres of area that we covered, which is approximately 120 square miles,” Garcia said. He added a mission of that size costs the county about $126,000.
You can take action on a smaller scale, too. Experts suggest starting in your own backyard.
“You can spray it as much as you like,” said Brent Ball of SWAT Mosquito Systems. He’s talking about a Pyrethrum-based spray, developed from chrysanthemum flowers. “It’s non-polutant and non-toxic.”
The SWAT system is a mix of several strategically placed spray nozzles and a remote control.
“It just allows you to enjoy your backyard without having to rely on the county or the sprays and citronella,” Ball said.
Even with repellents, mosquitoes are still drawn to the carbon dioxide in your breath. Ball says some of us are just more appetizing than others.
“Some researchers say that O-Positive people attract it more, but they’re also attracted to lactic acid in sweat and the heat of your body,” Ball explained.
You can protect yourself by staying indoors during dusk and dawn. Wear light clothes that provide full coverage, drain standing water, and use sprays containing DEET.
If you’d like to report a high quantity of mosquitoes in your area, call 311.