For the first time in possibly 15 years, the Manatee Mosquito Control District performed a fly-over of Anna Maria Island in an effort to eradicate, or at least control, the annoying insects.
The mosquito population of the Island has increased dramatically in recent weeks, said Chris Lesser of the MMCD, because the insects have bred in the many locations of standing water from recent heavy rains.
“We hadn’t aerial sprayed Anna Maria Island for around 15 years, maybe 10,” Lesser said. “Normally, there’s not a problem on the Island,” he added, and spraying with trucks has been effective in the past for AMI mosquito control.
However, he said his office recently has received a number of complaints about the size and number of mosquitoes on Anna Maria Island. An investigation revealed the spray trucks would not be able to eliminate the problem and it was time for the helicopter to spray.
The district’s trucks can only go 20 mph, while the helicopter travels much faster, and can spray the entire Island in one evening, Lesser said.
The helicopter applied the control treatment over the Island June 21.
A chemical that is non-toxic to humans and pets was used by the helicopter when it sprayed the Island, Lesser added. The days of using a spray harmful to humans and animals are long gone, he noted.
Lesser said good weather was needed for the flight, although the helicopter doesn’t wait for perfect conditions.
He cautioned Island residents not to be alarmed by a low-flying, slow-moving helicopter over the Island in the future. It will be the district’s helicopter either making a test flight or spraying.
“It’s only us,” Lesser said.
Information on the district and its spray schedule can be found online at www.manateemosquito.com. Residents also may submit service requests for mosquito control on the website.
Why do we kill mosquitoes?
Mosquito control manages the population of mosquitoes to reduce their damage to human health, tourism and enjoyment. Mosquito control is a vital public-health practice throughout the world and especially in the tropics, where mosquitoes spread many diseases, such as malaria.
MMCD recommends reviewing outdoor areas to eliminate mosquito breeding opportunities and taking actions, including:
• Potted plants with pans underneath that hold water.
• Drainage ditches with vegetation in them.
• Standing water in low grassy areas, tire tracks and swales.
• Unused or poorly maintained pools.
• Bromeliads and other plants that hold water, including water-filled tree holes.
• Trash or stored spare parts, tires.
• Flat roofs that get lots of leaf litter.
• Natural or man-made ponds.
• Boats left unused for extended periods.
• Bird baths, barbecue grills, ash trays, and other small containers.
• Clear roof gutters plugged with leaves.
• Replace water in pet dishes.
• Cover rain barrels with house screening.