Tallahassee, Florida - Get ready to grab your mosquito repellant.
Heavy thunderstorms forming in the southern Gulf of Mexico could soak Florida over the next week and create the perfect conditions for hatching millions of mosquito eggs.
The eggs can lie dormant for months or even years in a prolonged drought. But they'll start hatching with one heavy rainfall.
Florida is home to about 80 species of mosquitoes. About a third can carry diseases such as West Nile virus, encephalitis or malaria.
Mosquito control expert James Clauson says if we get a lot of rain in the next week, you can expect an explosion in the mosquito population.
"It's directly proportional to the amount of rain that falls to the number of mosquitoes. The mosquito larvae need the water to breed in so if you get a major rain event like a hurricane or a low that parks in an area over the state for any amount of time and drops several inches of rain you're going to have mosquitoes about ten days later."
Health officials are offering three tips to reduce your risk of mosquito bites and illnesses: drain standing water in your yard, cover your skin with clothes or repellant and make sure your doors and windows have screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
Clauson says Gov. Rick Scott vetoed money for mosquito-control research and that action marks the first time in decades that Florida's mosquito-control research will go on hiatus.
"Historically going back 30, 40, 50 years there's always been some state funding. Typically it's been in the last 10 to 20 years about $250,000 a year and that goes to research labs."
Clauson says the halt in mosquito-control research will hit rural areas harder since they have smaller budgets and fewer resources to combat Florida's swarm of bloodsuckers.
He hopes the state funding will get restored next year.