Swarms of one of the most notable summertime pests are tearing up parts of Collier County, officials said.
Salt marsh mosquitoes are laying a lot of eggs and swarming areas near Highway 41 and Rookery Bay. This type of mosquito is known for popping up randomly and traveling in droves.
Collier Mosquito Control District employees have set up traps to capture the bugs, and have caught about 25,000 in one trap over a two-day period. This swarm is the biggest the county has seen since 2016, but it isn’t unusual for salt marsh mosquitoes, experts said.
Each year is different and the species is rarely predictable. Sometimes, the salt marsh mosquitoes begin invading the county as early as April. Since the beginning of June, CMCD has treated the southern Highway 41 area three times to control the mosquitoes. Since April, materials to control mosquito larvae have been applied numerous times to coastal areas within the District’ coastal boundaries.
Mosquito control crews said jurisdiction issues prevent them from treating areas where the blood-suckers are coming from, like the 10,000 Islands and Rookery Bay areas.
Salt marsh mosquitoes lay their eggs in salty water and can travel 40 to 60 miles with help from the wind. They look like swarming clouds of millions of bugs when arise from the mangroves.
Although their bites may give you an itchy bump, the good news is that they are not known to spread disease to humans. However, they could infect your dog with heart worm.
“They are aggressive biters. People are going to know that they’re here,” Robin King, a spokesperson for the Collier Mosquito Control District, said. “Just in the past five days, the number of notices that we’ve received from the public complaining about mosquitos has more than tripled.”
The mosquitoes are expected to be gone by mid-July because rainwater helps wash out their eggs from local mangroves.