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Okaloosa deals with an explosion in mosquito population since Hurricane Sally

Staff report

The Mosquito Control Division of Okaloosa County is battling an explosion in the mosquito population since Hurricane Sally.

“Hurricane Sally and the amount of rainfall we got spread out over a wide area,” said Public Works Project Manager Scott Henson, “plus the temperature ranges they have experienced since then have made it ideal for the hatching of several different species of mosquitoes."

Mosquito traps in the county have seen as much as a 1,700% increase in the number of mosquitoes caught, according to a press release from Okaloosa County officials.

Okaloosa County officials are asking people to stay inside if they see a mosquito spray truck passing through their neighborhood.

Three species of mosquitoes are most present in the county — the Ciliata, Atlanticus and Culex nigripalpus. 

“The threat is greater with the presence of nigripalpus ” Henson said of the mosquito, which is more likely to carry serious diseases. “We’re expecting some cooler weather in the next few days. That might stop the (mosquito population) from getting any worse than it is right now."

The Mosquito Control Division has moved its work hours from days to nights as the larvae mature into fully grown mosquitoes. The change gives workers a better chance at reducing the population — which is now older and out at night, the release said.

"Our mosquito control team is working hard to get the population under control and wanted to ask the public for help by requesting they go inside their homes when they see or hear a mosquito truck," said Christopher Saul, spokesman for Okaloosa County.