ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It's about that time when those annoying little mosquitoes start to come out across Florida and attack people.
And with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Floridians can expect to see even more of the insects out and about this summer, officials say.
That's why FEMA has approved a $4.79 million grant to reimburse the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for mosquito control expenses after the September 2022 storm, the agency announced Monday afternoon in a news release.
Ian brought torrential storm surges and rain that resulted in standing water and flooding, which also created an immediate threat to the safety and health of the public and demanded emergency response and protective measures, FEMA says.
FDACS contracted for aerial mosquito control operations in Brevard, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties. FEMA says the federal cost share was 100 percent.
"FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state, tribal and local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, so communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies," the agency said in a statement.
To learn more on the latest of Florida's recovery from Ian, click here.
Back in April, the Florida Department of Health in Polk County issued an advisory warning residents that two horses in the Bartow area tested positive for a viral infection called Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), which spreads to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.
The best thing people can do to protect themselves from the virus or mosquito bites in general is to take precautions to limit their exposure to mosquitos.
You can do this by draining any water that may be sitting in trash cans, gutters, flower pots, pool covers, coolers or any other container that may collect rainwater.
The health department says it's also a good idea to get rid of any old tires, drums, bottles or broken appliances and to change water in pet bowls frequently.
Bug repellent can be worn along with shoes, socks, pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from getting bitten. Mosquito nets should be used to protect children younger than two months old.
If you use mosquito repellent, it's important to pay attention to what ingredients are safe for people of different ages. You can use the EPA's guide to find the repellent that's right for you.
10 Tampa Bay's Andrea Chu contributed to this report.