Control Personnel Expect Active Mosquito Season - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/07/05

Control Personnel Expect Active Mosquito Season

It's summertime, prime season for mosquitoes. The recent rain and hot, humid weather aren't helping either. And with concerns about mosquito-borne diseases like the West Nile virus, mosquito control experts are keeping busy.

Fortunately, only very few types of mosquitoes carry disease, and most people never even get sick. But the bad news is, your chance of getting bitten is higher, because mosquito control experts say we may see more mosquitoes than last year.

They call them pests for a reason. "They are a lot worse than where I used to live in Charlotte," said said Elizabeth Padgett, who now lives in Savannah. "They're so much worse than they are there."

"I haven't felt any yet, but I'm sure they're going to come out soon," said Savannah resident Cassandra Graham.

Those bloodthirsty flying nuisances are out in full force. "Every year is different," entomologist Susan Bruce told us. "Last year was actually a pretty quiet year as far as mosquito activity."

To combat the problem, Chatham County Mosquito Control is taking to the streets and to the air, five days a week. If you're like most people, you're too busy squashing them to notice, but there are 39 different types of mosquitoes in our area, and nearly 3,000 different species worldwide. Most will only give you a nasty, itchy bite. Only a few carry diseases like the West Nile virus or encephalitis, but it's those mosquito control experts target.

Chatham County does its flying when the bugs do theirs. "The type of mosquito we're most concerned with that can carry disease is most active at sunset, so the only way we can kill them is by them being airborne and treating at that same time," explained helicopter pilot Scott Yackel.

Mosquitoes are at their peak from the time the sun goes down at night to when it comes back up in the morning. If you are going to be out during those hours, wear long sleeves and long pants and use bug spray.

But spray alone won't keep more mosquitoes from hatching. That's why you'll want to empty containers that may fill with water in your yard. 

Chatham County Mosquito Control monitors for West Nile virus. Out of more than 3,000 sample pools that they've taken this year, so far none have tested positive for West Nile.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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