With all the rains that have happened in the last few months mosquitoes are becoming a nuisance. Not only do they harass you with bites but they may also vector viruses. Most of the mosquitoes that will be populating the twilight hours are "flood mosquitoes." These are mosquitoes that lay eggs that stay dormant for months or years and when flooding occurs they hatch out and emerge to complete the cycle. Even though the area may be thick with mosquitoes, floodwater mosquitoes are generally not involved in transmission of West Nile virus. For a fact sheet that explains floodwater mosquito behavior, see: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in535
The U. S. is currently experiencing the worst West Nile outbreak since it was first detected in the U. S. in 1999. This outbreak is currently worst in Texas. Thankfully Florida has so far been spared from such an extensive epidemic. The immediate threat to Floridians will be the prodigious numbers of pest mosquitoes resulting from Issac’s rainfall that will make outdoor life in Florida far less enjoyable over the next few weeks.
Your State of Florida and local County Health Department provides advisories and alerts related to mosquito-borne illness. As part of the general public and possible employers we should pay attention to all mosquito-borne illness advisories and that it is always prudent in Florida to wear repellents when they are outdoors but particularly so when there are advisories of increased risk.
Here is a map of Florida and the warnings from the Department of Health of mosquito vectored viruses.
Remember that IFAS Extension has several fact sheets on mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. Here is a list of them if you are interested.
Dengue: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in699; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in719
Eastern Equine Encephalitis: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in179 ; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in180
Mosquito Repellents: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in419 ; Spanish Version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in476
St. Louis Encephalitis: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg337
West Nile: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in117; Spanish version at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in185
For more information on the mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses of concern in Florida, visit the FMEL’s Encephalitis Information System at http://eis.ifas.ufl.edu/ This can be viewed in English or Spanish.
Information provided by:C. Roxanne Connelly, PhD, Associate Professor,
Extension Specialist, Medical Entomology
Past President, Florida Mosquito Control Association
President-Elect, American Mosquito Control Association