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Dade, Broward Wage War Against Pesky Skeeters

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(Source: AP)

(Source: AP)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Recent rains across South Florida have prompted a mini-invasion of pesky mosquitoes as receding flood waters allow long-dormant eggs to hatch.

Tobias Alvarez hates dealing with mosquitoes. Lately he said it has been nearly unbearable in his Southwest Ranches neighborhood.

“This place is always mosquito-infested.  Every time it rains, especially during the summer,” said Alvarez.  “You get mosquitoes as big as quarters and they just pierce through people’s clothes.”

In addition to trying to keep the skeeters off him, Alvarez also tries to keep them off his dog Rex.

“Every time I walk him, if there’s a mosquito infested area they bite him. I would try my best to either slap him or make sure they don’t get the chance to actually suck his blood,” said Alvarez.

He was happy to learn that the county’s Mosquito Control Department did some aerial spraying over Southwest Ranches and Davie early Wednesday morning.

They also conducted ground spraying of insecticide in ditches, swales and other wet sites in Dania Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, Davie and Fort Lauderdale.

Evaristo Miqueli, with mosquito control, goes to different neighborhoods and counts how many mosquitoes land on him to determine whether to spray. He enjoys his job.

“I feed on the mosquito, I have to let the mosquito feed on me a little bit too,” he said.

Not everyone, however, wants chemicals sprayed in their neighborhood even if it means cutting down on the mosquito population. Andrew Kamolvathin worries more about breathing in the fumigation chemicals while he exercises than dealing with the annoying bloodsuckers.

“I’d rather deal with them now and know they’re going to be gone in a couple weeks compared to now I have things affecting my area, my livestock, and the ecosystem,” said Kamolvathin.

Mosquito Control insists the chemical they spray is safe- though they recommend people with breathing problems remain indoors while they are spraying.

The reason we’re seeing more mosquitoes in the last few days is because of a class of the insects called “floodwater mosquitoes.” The females in this species lay eggs on dry or damp ground and the eggs lay dormant, sometimes for years, until the ground is flooded. When the water recedes, the eggs hatch.

“They are just widespread all over the county right now,” said Joe Marhefka with Mosquito Control.  “Last week we were probably receiving about 100 spray requests.  With the last rainfall, and over the weekend, and the hatching, we are probably upwards of 400 to 600 spray requests.”

Marhefka said the more rain we get, the more mosquitoes hatch.

“They come out and hatch out in great numbers,” said Marhefka.  “So they are going to be biting and nuisance pest for people outside.”

Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control is also spraying daily, especially in the southern end between Everglades and Biscayne National Parks, which are both major breeding grounds.

There are few things you can do to help minimize the number of itchy skeeter bites you’ll get simply by remembering the ‘five D’s’.

Dusk and Dawn: avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.

Dress: wear long, loose, light-colored clothing that covers the skin.

DEET: use mosquito repellants that contain DEET

Drainage: eliminate standing water around the home in places such as buckets, cans, old tires, and plant containers.

Broward residents can request service online by visiting broward.org and clicking “mosquito services” under Online Services. Requests can also be made by calling 954-765-4062.

Miami-Dade residents with questions about the aerial spraying, or complaints about mosquitoes, can call the County’s Answer Center at 3-1-1.

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