Protecting the Public’s Health by Patrick Linn, MS, MSHAPI Executive Director, Collier Mosquito Control District

The southern reaches of Florida – including Collier County – provide an environment that is extremely inviting for people, evidenced by the daily arrival of new residents. Southwest Florida’s subtropical climate is also inviting for mosquitoes: year-round. In fact, more than 40 species of mosquitoes call Collier home. A handful of these species can and do carry (“vector”) disease. The daily arrival of new human inhabitants is – unbeknownst to many – creating an ever increasing challenge to protect public health and comfort.

Recall that a mosquito begins its life in water, wiggling its way along for about a week before it emerges as a buzzing, flying adult. Consider, then, Collier County’s geography. There exists an ample amount of both salt and freshwater, providing nirvana for those year-round mosquitoes. Meanwhile, to accommodate the increasing demand for housing, county leaders are projecting new developments and communities.

Therein lies the District’s “growing” challenge. Collier County’s borders enclose 2,300 square miles of water, swamp, and dry land. The District’s current boundaries comprise only 401 square miles (see map). Most of the predicted population growth is projected to expand well beyond current District borders. It’s a long-standing notion that life in Collier County would not be so pleasant if it weren’t for air conditioning and mosquito control. Protecting residents’ health – current and future – is the driving force behind our mission; thus, we are continuously customizing our Integrated Mosquito Management program to satisfy environmental needs while ensuring health and comfort.

The process of expanding the District’s boundaries isn’t taken lightly. The District’s Board of Commissioners has created a well defined set of circumstances and policy for growth, when necessary. With a rapidly growing community requiring the protection and services provided by the District, the expansion process begins with a forecast, and concludes during a state legislative session. As we move forward, we will be collaborating with our community’s leadership to ensure full transparency for the public.

This includes educating and engaging with landowners, managers, and agencies to reach consensus, define plans, and secure a mutually beneficial future. Want to know more about the District’s control methods, technologies, or where the current boundaries are located?

We welcome your questions and are available to chat. Our office is still adhering to our COVID-19 guidelines and remains closed to the public, but we’re happy to receive phone  calls or to address HOA or community groups. Call us at 239-436-1000.

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