'Tis the un-season for a happy Collier mosquito force

"'Tis The Season" is everywhere. It is in the media, on store windows, on Christmas cards and wrapping paper. But for the personnel of the Collier Mosquito Control District (CMCD) "the season" is finally over. Mosquito season, that is, which for the folks at CMCD is the most important season of the year. This season started early, in mid-March, with high tides flooding the area's salt marshes and finally ended in November. Even though this season was long, with high mosquito populations, the Naples area remained free of mosquito-borne diseases. This cannot be said for the rest of Florida or the nation. As of Nov. 27, the CDC reported a nationwide total of 5,245 cases of West Nile virus, with 236 deaths. Florida has reported 63 cases with three deaths, while Texas, one of the hardest hit states, had 1,715 cases with 76 deaths. Duval County (Jacksonville) accounted for 28 of the Florida cases, with most of the rest located in the Panhandle. Mosquito-borne disease such as West Nile virus can be devastating to the victim and the victim's family. Preventing, or at least minimizing the impact of diseases such as West Nile virus is the primary goal of the CMCD. This year, with the help of the public using personal protection measures and a compassionate Mother Nature, the zero-disease goal was reached. With the 2012 season over, CMCD personnel begin preparing for the 2013 season. Major inspections are performed on the CMCD aircraft, with maintenance being performed where indicated, to insure that the aircraft are safe to operate and ready for the upcoming season. Likewise, vehicles and application equipment are inspected and prepared. Routine facilities maintenance projects, such as painting, are performed by CMCD staff, which reduces general maintenance costs for the district. Keeping CMCD staff up to date on the latest information and techniques is just as important as keeping the equipment in top condition. The winter is the time when personnel attend training programs and professional meetings to maintain their proficiency. Personnel also receive updates on new state and federal laws and regulations, new mosquito control equipment and techniques. Winter is also the time when district staff can review the performance of personnel, equipment and control techniques used during the season, initiate improvements for the coming mosquito season and incorporate these changes into the next operational budget. CMCD's offseason is also a good time for area residents and visitors alike to learn more about the CMCD and mosquito control in general. Individuals, as well as organized groups, are welcome to tour the facility, learn more about mosquitoes and how the CMCD goes about controlling them. Please call ahead to set up a time and date for your visit, just to make sure the right people will be available. The CMCD also makes presentations about the district to groups such as Kiwanis, Rotary, church groups, homeowners associations, Boy and Girl Scout troops and any other interested organization. To schedule a tour of the facility or arrange a presentation for your group contact Adrian Salinas at 239-436-1000 or email him: Adrian@cmcd.org. He will be more than happy to accommodate your request. Happy holidays and enjoy the season ? or is that the offseason?