JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- In a down economy, business is booming for Nader's Pest Raiders. That's thanks to a spike in mosquito activity in northeast Florida brought on by Beryl and Debby's aftermath. It looks like conditions are only going to get worse as rain is in the forecast for Sunday and Monday.
“Anything that can hold water for more than about seven days is a source for mosquito activity. Anything larger than a bottle cap can create mosquito activity,” said Martin Hood with Nader’s Pest Raiders.
The biting bug brings a growing concern for West Nile virus. Health officials say the disease is on the rise around the country. This is the biggest spike since 2004, with at least 241 cases reported nationwide, including four deaths.
“It's been an epidemic spreading throughout the U.S. since 1999," said Hood.
With only one case of West Nile reported so far this year in Duval County, Hood says people are getting proactive about keeping the bugs at bay. “We really think that the consciousness of the public has helped suppress a large West Nile Virus population."
Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September, so it's still not clear how bad this year will be. In the meantime, Hood suggests keeping your property protected.
“So customers can do a lot by emptying buckets, keeping water basins minimum and any water they have standing on the property emptied as much as possible,” said Hood.