Florida Prepares to Battle Tiny Foe

TITUSVILLE, Fla., May 7 (UPI) — One Florida county is gearing up for battle, officials say, and its tiny opponent — the mosquito — costs them $9 million a year and even affects tourism.

Brevard County is experiencing the advent of warmer weather and rain, which will bring the annoying insects into the environment in all their annoying glory, Florida Today reported Friday.

It’s too early to tell how bad the mosquitoes will be, Peter Taylor of the Brevard County Mosquito Control District says.

“The mosquito season changes from year to year,” he said. “Their activities are governed by temperature and humidity, and as the year goes into the summer they reproduce at faster rates. As it gets warmer, they actually go through their life cycling faster, and that’s the reason it picks up when it’s warmer.”

Officials say the county will spray about 1.2 million ground acres this year.

In addition to direct costs of battling the insects, authorities say, there are lost tourist dollars to consider.

A 1998 study showed regions with a high population of mosquitoes tend to have fewer tourists.

“It showed a relationship between the number of mosquitoes that were trapped and the tourist dollars that were taken in. And there’s definitely a relationship there,” Taylor says. “If it gets really bad, people are just not going to get out and enjoy and spend money.”

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