Which Tampa Bay area county is in the middle of a massive mosquito outbreak?


SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – It seems everywhere you go in the Tampa Bay area these days, you’re faced with one pesky, persistent pest – a predator with a voracious appetite.

If you think you’re getting eaten alive as you sprint from your house to your car, it’s not your imagination. Mosquitoes are out in full force in a feeding frenzy to kick off the start of summer.

No doubt the battle with bugs has begun.RELATED: Surprising things that attract mosquitoes and how to protect yourself

One Tampa Bay area county in particular is facing a rampant mosquito outbreak, wreaking all kinds of havoc, affecting everything from working-out to work.

Just ask Sarasota Deputy Shandra Polynice.

Her days are spent fighting crime and fighting off mosquitoes. She joked, “I’ve got the sweet blood, they eat me up!” 

It just so happens Deputy Polynice is teaching an outdoor fitness class at Celery Fields this summer, so she knows exactly how bad the mosquitoes have been.

“It’s ridiculous, they bite you through your clothes. I have on spandex, but even though I have on long gear, they’re still stinging through the clothes.”

These mosquitoes aren’t playing around – they’re hungry and they’re hovering.

“They’re big, they’re terrible. Try to stay away from anywhere they are,” Deputy Polynice laughed.

Right now, Sarasota County is smack in the middle of mosquito madness and misery.

“Any time you get a lot of rain and the weather is warm, it’s the perfect storm,” said Matt Smith, director of Mosquito Control for Sarasota County.

Matt spent time with 8 on Your Side Wednesday afternoon, showing us one of the ways the county is helping out – providing free fish specifically engineered to eat mosquito larvae. People can put the fish in their ponds or fountains.RELATED: Tampa Bay area lands spot on ‘Top 50 Mosquito Cities’ list

There’s also another way to deal with the insect insanity, a product used by the county appropriately called “Mosquito Bits”  The product is inexpensive and organic. The “bits” are small kernel-like pieces that are  placed in your plants to keep the critters under control.

But, keep in mind – mosquitoes love this landscape.

“It is exactly what they want, it’s exactly what they’re getting, and they’re doing what they do, just to reproduce,” Matt adds.

Smith also tells 8 on your Side that the best weapon in the county’s arsenal to fight the mosquito war is feedback on this feeding frenzy. Mosquito Control needs the public to provide information on where the problem areas are. Sarasota County Mosquito Control has made it easy for the public to communicate with them. Mosquito Control has its own Facebook page for messages and feedback.

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook



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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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