Mosquito numbers are considerably
better now than at the start of the season, which saw particularly high
rainfall, according to Mosquito Research and Control Unit Director Bill Petrie,
though he pointed out that resources are a concern.
“The department has had to adjust
operations to accommodate resources, but we are still managing to stay on top
of the situation,” he said.
The government has allocated the
mosquito unit $4,796,563 in its current budget, up slightly from $4,779,742 in
the previous financial year. However, the department used up much of its
resources tackling a rainy season, Mr. Petrie said. He added that the situation
could easily have been worse, but things were working out well, considering all
In addition to rainfall, rising
tides also contribute to the proliferation of the mosquitoes.
It may be too early to predict how
the rest of the year will turn out in terms of mosquito numbers, but MRCU
officials said October is traditionally the rainiest month. More larvae
sighting and spraying will occur to prepare for the advent of further rainfall
and more mosquitoes as a result.
MRCU continues to do research to
find out where to spray and lay pellets. Being precise is important, because if
they treat places where the mosquito numbers do not require it, the insects may
build up a resistance to the chemicals.
“We have to be very judicious about
where we concentrate our efforts and it is important that we do not overexpose
the mosquitoes to combative measures in a way as to make them immune,” he said.
With regard to the Aedes Aegypti
mosquito, which is capable of spreading dengue fever, Mr. Petrie said the unit
has teams dedicated to fighting that mosquito. They are led by his colleague,
Deputy Director Alan Wheeler, who said he was pleased with progress in this
area. The men pointed out that the results in this regard were particularly
encouraging, considering what was happening in the rest of the Caribbean region
and Florida, which has reported at least 13 cases of dengue fever this year.
Mr. Petrie reminded residents to
remain vigilant about their surroundings and make sure there is no water
settled in their yards or in drums. He said the Aedes Aegypti mosquito is not
found in the bushes, but is found where people dwell instead and as such it is
extremely important that everyone safeguard against unchecked breeding of the
There are roughly 35 different
species of mosquitoes in the Cayman Islands.