ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — For the first time in more than a decade, St. Johns County is launching an aerial attack on a growing mosquito problem.
Since Hurricane Matthew, the Anastasia Mosquito Control District said there has been an outbreak of mosquitoes.
Usually, there are about 50 service calls a week to the district to go out and spray. But since Monday, it has been getting at least 1,000 calls a day for service.
The district's Christopher Bibbs said they have been working around the clock spraying areas.
“And for it not to be working, that's definitely a clear sign we have a problem," Bibbs said.
Kristen Cariss said she has noticed an influx in mosquitoes.
"They’re absolutely awful out here. We sprayed ourselves with stuff today and we're still getting eaten up," Cariss said.
Bibbs said the hot spots are anything west of the Intracoastal.
However, they won’t be able to spray over areas that are protected or have preserved land, such as the historic district of downtown St. Augustine and Moses Creek Preserve.
"Most of the county is having bad issues and a lot of it is coming from flooded tributaries coming off the St. Johns River," Bibbs said.
Bibbs said the insecticide that will be used is Naled.
"We have to weigh and balance this. Do you use something that's potentially safer, but not actually protecting them from the mosquito or you do something that's tried and true?" Bibbs said.
Not everyone living in those areas are pleased about Naled being used.
"We don't want any ill effects for our dogs or for our kids," said Nocatee resident Lisa Walters.
Hurricane Matthew left a lot of standing water, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And more mosquitoes means some people we talked to are concerned about the Zika virus.
There have been more than 1,000 cases of the virus in Florida, but Bibbs said these floodwater mosquitoes are not likely to carry Zika.
"Fortunately that is one of the things we are not super concerned with," Bibbs said.
People are encouraged stay inside and bring in their pets as the aerial spraying is taking place Wednesday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
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