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Mosquito population arriving early in St. Johns County

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Updated: 6/17/2013 10:52 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The rain and heat is causing mosquito season in St. Johns County to blossom ahead of schedule this year. According to the Anastasia Mosquito Control District, they're also bringing diseases.

Charlotte Baker, who runs a produce stand just off State Road 207, says it's hard to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

"They're out here all the time, all day and night, not just in the morning and in the evening," said Charlotte Baker of Picnics J&J.

The Anastasia Mosquito Control District tells Action News they've received several calls from homeowners requesting they do some spraying around their homes.

According to district education specialist Jodi Scott, the rise in the mosquito population is a month early.

"We've had a lot of rains and a lot of heat so far this summer and even into spring and into summer. The mosquito population follows that pattern of rain and heat," said Scott.

Just last week, the district caught 11,000 mosquitoes in traps throughout St. Johns County, that's up from about 3,000 this time last year. Researchers have confirmed reports of infection carrying bugs in our area.

"There have been sentinel chickens that have come down with equine encephalitis, but it could be a mosquito that completely targets birds, Still it's good to know the disease could be in our area," said Scott.

Crews were out collecting mangrove clippings to test a mosquito bait chemical. Scott says the hope is the insect will like the chemical better, which will kill them faster, instead of feeding on the mangrove flower's nectar.

In the meantime, Baker will be taking steps to protect herself.

"I have to stay covered because I don't do well with mosquito bites," said Baker.

According to Scott, all mosquitoes need to breed is an inch of water. The district advises people to drain any standing water around their homes to stop mosquitoes from multiplying, including kiddie pools that are left outside for too long.

The St. Johns County Department of Health tells Action News no human cases of equine encephalitis have been reported since it started keeping track in the early 1950s.
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