The Florida Keys Mosquito Control is warning of a serious public health threat — namely the arrival of a new strain of mosquitos migrating from South America (Frito foolopictus) that is the size of a juvenile double-breasted cormorant and equally as dangerous.
“We are blaming this threat on Tallahassee,” said Commissioner Stephen Smith. “They think that because of budget cuts that we are not going to be prepared.”
Smith was the only member of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control available (or willing) to answer The Weekly’s questions. According to a source inside Mosquito Control headquarters, the other four Commissioners were busy installing Teflon screens on their lavish waterfront homes. According to the same source, their next order of business was to make masking tape “X”s on their car windows, although that’s generally regarded to be as ineffective a method of protection as extra-large condoms.
“We are attaching rockets to our helicopters that will resemble NERF dart guns, but much more lethal,” Commissioner Smith said.
The mosquitoes pose a clear and present danger to the Keys. Their eating habits alone will have a huge impact on the ecology of the islands, and certain activists are concerned the feral cat population could dwindle to less than 1 million. The Keys are also likely to suffer in terms of dollars and cents. But tourism experts plan to spin the giant mosquito problem by touting it as excellent, gourmet fare in the hands of talented local chefs.
(Coming this fall: The Inaugural Florida Keys Skeeter and Stone Crab Festival.)
Other residents concerned about the coming mosquito plague are making a run on local gun shops. Mark Senmartin of Cash Flow Guns has a number of armaments suitable for personal protection.
“Rule No. 1 in skeeter control is to confuse the enemy,” he says while brandishing a pump action rocket launcher capable of dispersing smoke bombs up to 2,500 feet.
The Havoc rocket launcher sells for $99.99. The large-gauge ammunition is sold separately, but Senmartin throws in a free Marathon “Hook” bracelet (available exclusively at Cash Flow) with the purchase of 12 or more.
“Rule No. 2 is you can never have too many smoke bombs,” he said
So far, the Monroe County Health Department has been silent on the coming threat to the public. Spokesperson Kristopher Titleist refused to go on record, saying only that when the news breaks, “It’s going to be bad. I’m talkin’ Dengue bad.”
However, it’s likely the Middle Keys Guidance Clinic will arrange for grief counselors to console the parents of young children carried off by the huge insects. It will probably also advise resort owners to drain pools and tell golf course operators to empty the water features.
“They’re going to be looking for big, big standing water,” said … a guy we know.
Keys officials have already contacted the British company Oxitec. It’s hoped the research firm could develop and release non-biting giant mosquitoes that have been genetically modified to pass along a birth defect that kill their progeny before they reach the age of consent.
Although developing wind patterns will play a role, it’s expected that the buzz-saw doublechipdippers (Frito foolopictus) will arrive over the Florida Keys by Monday, April 1.