The mosquitoes swarming Gasparilla Island post-Tropical Storm Debby are reminiscent of the ferocious blood-sucking attacks from years past.
It's always been a picnic for mosquitoes in Lee County where the subtropical climate and 56,000 acres of salt marsh allows for year-round reproduction. Scientists say finding more than 1 million mosquitoes in one Boca Grande yard is not uncommon.
Shelly Redovan, deputy director of LCNCD communications, said Boca Grande is sprayed by plane at routes ranging from the Boca Grande Pass and Boca Grande north.
But Redovan said even the recent rains haven't spurred an unbearable buildup of skeeters. Spraying for mosquitoes is not on a set schedule. Lee County sprays on an as-needed basis.
"We've been monitoring it and it hasn't reached the point where it calls for extra treatment," she said.
That is a judgment call. At the end of a rainy three-day spell Wednesday mosquitoes were swarming boaters around Boca Grande even as the county plane was spraying overhead.
The Lee County Mosquito Control District cut back the millage rate supporting mosquito spraying by 4.5 percent at its July 5 meeting. The LCMCD approved a tentative millage rate of 0.2300 for fiscal year Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. The lower rate will reduce skeeter-fighting funds by $600,000.
The rollback rate provided by the Lee County Tax Appraiser's office is 0.2408 mills.
Outside event organizers can call on the county for relief during the four to six weeks mosquito swarms last. It is against state regulations to spray for mosquitoes without scientific data to show it is justified but if the Lee County Mosquito Control District is notified three days or more in advance of the location, date, and time the event surveillance can be conducted to determine if treatment is justified. Call (239) 694-2174 to request treatment for a special event.