Palm Beach County is having to spray for mosquitoes in late December – an unprecedented event triggered by the wet and warm weather.
And not just December, spraying will likely occur on Christmas Day.
The little bloodsuckers are proliferating with the abnormally high rain totals and warm temperatures we’ve had this December. Complaints are flooding mosquito headquarters.
“We’ve had such a strange year with wind and weather,” said Gary Goode, environmental program manager with the Palm Beach County Mosquito Control Division. “We sprayed late last week, but we’re still seeing rain and water on the ground.”
South Florida Water Management District shows Palm Beach County receiving 6.2 inches of rain so far this month. That’s 4.15 inches above the normal for December.
Miami-Dade County is nearly 10 inches above normal, while Broward County is up 5.43 inches.
At the same time, temperatures are running nearly 10 degrees above normal. That promotes more activity among the mosquitoes. Overnight temperatures have hovered in the mid-70s when they are typically in the 50s this time of year.
“We need a hard frost to kill them all off,” Goode said about the mosquitoes. “But it it’s at least cooler, they’ll hunker down and stay in the bushes.”
Hampering efforts to get rid of the pests are windy conditions that mosquito patrol folks don’t normally deal with when they’re spraying in the summer months.
Last week, Goode had hoped to spray about 225,000 acres out west, but didn’t make it all the way through. On Tuesday, Goode tried to do more spraying, but then it started raining.
“We are at the mercy of the weather,” Goode said.