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Mosquito control district sprays to keep pests from becoming issue near the coast

Helicopters will be buzzing above some people’s neighborhoods in Southwest Florida to fight off mosquitoes this week.

Collier Mosquito Control District was out spraying Tuesday over the Naples Airport and some coastal areas near Wiggins Pass and Pelican Bay.

“It got our attention,” said Linda Vicsik in Naples Park.

“They went by three or four times,’ said Steve Hoberg in Naples Park.

A low-flying helicopter soared above mangroves near Wiggins Pass on a mission to stop mosquitoes before they turns into a big problem near coastal areas

“We are putting out a granular material that dissolves in the water, and the mosquito larva eats it, and it eliminates them,” said Robin King with the control district.

The mosquito control district is treating areas such as Naples Park where Sandy Johnson says mosquitoes are known to bug neighbors. She does have her concerns about the spraying, however.

“It’s important to me because they bite me a lot, but I don’t like pesticides,” Johnson said. “It kills the bugs. What does it do to us?”

King says crews are dispersing a natural bacteria that is only deadly to mosquito hatchlings.

“It’s completely benign to humans, animals, pets, fish plants, water quality,” King said. “It’s something that we call our silver bullet.”

Mosquito control will be back in the helicopter starting 6 a.m. Wednesday to spray near Wiggins Pass State Park, Windstar, Bayview to Isles of Capri.

It’s mitigating an issue King says can get out of control quickly.

“The saltwater mosquito … they hatch, and something called a brude, it’s a cloud that lifts out of the mangroves, and they’ve been so thick, they’ve suffocated cattle in Collier County,” King said.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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