Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mosquito swarm follows Debby, Hernando official warns

BROOKSVILLE — As if Tropical Storm Debby's torrential rains didn't bring enough misery this week, Hernando County residents must now brace for an aftermath they probably would rather avoid — a massive mosquito outbreak.

According to the county's mosquito control manager, Dr. Gunagye Hu, residents can expect an explosion of the winged bloodsuckers over the next week or so as larvae hatch in low-lying areas swollen from the more than 15 inches of rain that fell last weekend and early this week.

"We're going to see many more mosquitoes than we would this time of the year because we have standing water in places where we don't normally have it," Hu said Friday.

Fighting the mega-outbreak is likely to be a tough task due to budget constraints, said Jesse Goodwin, assistant director of environmental services for the county. The county has budgeted just $630,000 for mosquito control this year — less than a quarter of what neighboring Citrus County budgets annually.

Goodwin said the county has six trucks with foggers and four employees to run them, which will likely mean his department will have to hire temporary workers to help pick up the slack.

"I have no doubt that we'll be out spraying just about anytime of the day for the next few weeks," Goodwin said.

Hu said he is less worried about the county's rivers and lakes than he is about low-lying places that rarely have standing water and aren't likely to have natural enemies that eat mosquito larvae.

Among the areas of greatest concern are low-lying lands just east of U.S. 19 and north of Cortez Boulevard, along Citrus Way north of Centralia Road, areas surrounding Masaryktown and the boggy regions in and around the city of Brooksville.

Although July is normally the height of the West Nile virus season, Hu doesn't view the increase in the mosquito population as an added threat. So far, none of the county's sentinel chickens have tested positive for the virus, which can be spread to humans and cause inflammation of the brain.

Hu said that he and his staff plan to step up monitoring of the county's 26 mosquito traps and six sentinel chicken sites in coming weeks as the weather gets warmer.

Meanwhile, Hu suggests that residents take precautions against mosquito bites, particularly during the dusk and dawn hours, when the insects are most active.

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

Mosquito tips

The Five D's: Tips to reduce the risk of mosquito bites

Dawn and dusk: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are thirsty. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.

Dress: Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.

DEET: When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, use repellents containing DEET. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options.

Drain: Check around your home to rid the area of all standing water. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as a quarter-inch of water. Make sure pools and spas have continuous circulation and appropriate chlorination to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

Source: Hernando County Mosquito Control

Mosquito swarm follows Debby, Hernando official warns 06/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  2. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83


    Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian strongman and onetime American ally who was toppled from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion and who spent more than two decades imprisoned on drug dealing and conspiracy convictions, died late Monday. He was most likely 83.

    Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega waves to newsmen after a state council meeting, at the presidential palace in Panama City, where they announced the new president of the republic in 1989. Panama's ex-dictator Noriega died Monday, May 29, 2017, in a hospital in Panama City. He was 83. [Associated Press]
  3. Austin Mahone talks Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, his pop evolution and more


    Austin Mahone has vivid memories from his childhood visits to see his grandparents in Tampa Bay.

  4. Motorcyclist killed in Pinellas Park crash, prompting road closures


    A motorcyclist was killed early Tuesday morning when he left the roadway and possibly struck a parked vehicle in Pinellas Park.

  5. Meet the five finalists for St. Petersburg College president


    ST. PETERSBURG — In the last month, five finalists for the job of St. Petersburg College president have taken campus tours and answered questions from students, faculty and staff.

    The Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., Midtown Center of St. Petersburg College, opened in 2015, is considered a major accomplishment by outgoing SPC president William Law. [SOPHIA NAHLI  ALLISON  |   TIMES]