Aircraft sprays Polk County for mosquitoes after uptick since Hurricane Ian

Mosquitos have been a big problem throughout Polk County since Hurricane Ian hit three weeks ago.

When county managers got back to the office after the storm passed, they had 700 requests for mosquito control, when they would typically have about 45, according to Polk County Mosquito Control.

Throughout the rainy season, the county has deployed its helicopter and have done ground spraying to control the bugs, but the hurricane made the problem so bad, the need for mosquito control exceeded the county’s abilities. 

READ: Florida sees rise in flesh-eating bacteria after Hurricane Ian

County managers asked the state for help, and they listened. The state contracted Vector Disease Control International (VDCI) to help control Polk County’s mosquito problem.

VDCI uses a plane that sprays public health pesticides registered by the Environmental Protection Agency specifically for mosquito control.

The plane can cover all of Polk County’s 12 zones, spanning about 200,000 acres in one night.

"That’s a lot of coverage of the county, and we’re very, very grateful and appreciative of that effort by the state," said Carl Boohene, the manager of Polk County Mosquito Control.

MORE: Hurricane Ian causes up to $1.56 billion in estimated losses to Florida agriculture industry

The aircraft took off at 8 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to fly until 5 a.m. on Thursday.

County managers urge people to do their part, by removing any trash or containers on their property that hold water/have standing water.