The mosquitoes are getting an early jump in Gulf County.

The mosquitoes are getting an early jump in Gulf County.

With heavy rains pounding the county to start spring and temperatures slowly on the rise, mosquitoes are seizing the opportunity to hatch anywhere and everywhere possible.

Donít panic just yet!

With cooler temperatures coming back this week, Gulf County residents will have time to fight the bugs before they can start their summer visit.

Last year, mosquitoes that hatched in the flood waters in Wewahitchka caused the Board of County Commissioners to declare a state of emergency for the north end of the county.

Mark Cothran, director of Mosquito Control for Gulf County urged residents to be proactive this season when it comes to doing their part to prevent the spread of the insects.

 ďArea residents should police their yard and look for any standing water in containers and dump it out,Ē Cothran said.

Each year, Cothran encourages those in the county to follow the three Dís of protection: Dress, Defend and Drain.

This early in the season, the emphasis is on draining.

Tires, a breeding mecca for the insects should be disposed of properly. Residents should drill holes in the bottoms of outdoor recycling or plastic trash containers.

They should keep gutters clear of debris, clean pet water dishes regularly, repair leaky outdoor faucets, turn over boats and canoes to prevent them from collecting water and empty any liquid that has collected in tarps.

As standing water along roads and in yards continues to evaporate and seep into the ground Cothran said that it would be up to residents to ensure that their properties werenít providing places for mosquitoes to hatch.

Traps around the county have been set which will allow Cothran and Mosquito Control to gauge numbers of the pests but due to incoming winds and lower temperatures throughout the weekend, crews have pushed back spraying until the end of next week.

There are more than 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world and currently 176 species are recognized in the United States. Mosquitoes can carry illnesses including West Nile virus and Malaria and preventing them from hatching is the best way to combat the pests.