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Fighting Mosquitoes, Okaloosa County

Well, it's here. Mosquito season. And with heavy rains leaving standing water across Okaloosa, you can expect to start seeing these cruising the county very soon.

Okaloosa County Mosquito Control monitors the insects' population across the county. Since rain totals have been record setting this year, standing water, where mosquitoes lay their eggs, has been plentiful. Because of that, the mosquito population has been higher than usual.

Scott Henson, the county's mosquito control director, said "When the water stands still, the eggs collect and the larvae and the pupae that come out of those eggs are able to grow into adult mosquitos. If it stands still, it doesn't have any effect on their growth. If the water's moving, typically the mosquitos can't breed and can't find a good place to breathe while they're growing into adult mosquitos."

Henson says the bugs are battled multiple ways. One is the spray trucks driving through areas heavily populated by the pests. This year, the county started spraying a month earlier than usual. They spray the entire county once a week. They'll also deploy Gambusia fish, called "mosquito fish," into ponds and lakes.

"These are the types of fish that eat larvae, and eat the eggs and all that kind of good stuff. So we try to take care of that before they're ever adult mosquitos."

Henson says so far, no disease carrying mosquito species have been found.

"We're lucky in a subtropical climate that we only have a small window of opportunity where all those factors, temperature, pressure, humidity, all of those come together to make it a prime breeding environment for those species."

The best way to fight mosquitoes is to make sure no standing water is available for them to lay eggs in.

Said Henson, "You've got to be very diligent in the things that have water in them, that you go out and empty those things and make sure that there's no standing water in them to enhance the breeding."

Now, it doesn't look like very much, but mosquito control says even a capful of standing water can breed hundreds of mosquitoes.