Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - St. Lucie Recognizes National Mosquito Control Awareness WeekThe St. Lucie County Mosquito Control District will join hundreds of other counties in recognizing the 16th Annual National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, running June 24 – 30. Established by the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), Mosquito Control Awareness Week is designed to educate the general public about the significance of mosquito districts in their daily lives and the important Public Health service provided by mosquito control workers throughout the United States and worldwide.
“This has been a challenging mosquito season due to the fact that we did not have a cold winter, with its normal number of cold fronts, which caused additional breeding following every full and new moon set of high tides,” explained Jim David, director of St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control and Coastal Management Department.
The lack of winter storm-fronts left the marshes in the County’s coastal mosquito impoundments high and dry for two weeks at a time, and allowed the full and new moon tides to flood them biweekly, a timetable that favored intense, repeated mosquito breeding due to it being perfect timing for the development of the mosquito eggs (6-10 day maturation rate). The County’s Mosquito Control staff fought off these repeated tidal broods on the barrier islands, that started on April 20 and ended May 25 with repeated and constant daily larvicide and/or adulticide operations, and finally, by closing and pumping the impoundments.
The St. Lucie County's Mosquito Control District, founded in 1926 through an Act of the Florida Legislature, manages more than 4,300 acres of coastal salt marshes, using water control practices that mimic natural tidal inundation processes during managed and unmanaged periods. This process, known as "Rotational Impoundment Management," is accomplished by pumping more than 65 billion gallons of water annually into the wetlands to help reduce 90 percent of the coastal wetlands' mosquito population without the need to use chemicals; to control exotic plants; and to provide nursery habitat for marine fish and other species of marine life. These coastal wetlands have been converted to preserves/parks and are opened to the public for passive recreation, including: hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and bird watching.
During the summer months, regular chemical treatments follow careful monitoring of mosquito populations when wind speeds and other weather conditions permit, since both high tides and rainfall can produce plenty of the pests. Disease monitoring is also performed, in association with the Department of Health, State Bureau of Laboratories in Tampa. It is very important that residents educate themselves to recognize the key role they also play in supporting effective mosquito control activities. Residents should be proactive in reducing mosquito populations in their yards, eliminate standing water every two to three days, use repellent out-of-doors, and wear long sleeves and long pants when enjoying our wonderful outdoors in the evenings.
The AMCA, an international organization of nearly 2,000 public health professionals, has been dedicated to preserving the public's health and well-being through safe, environmentally sound mosquito control programs since 1926. For more information about St. Lucie County’s Mosquito Control and Coastal Management Department visit: http://www.stlucieco.gov/mosquito.