SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re just a few weeks away from what mosquito experts in Chatham County say is a West Nile Virus season.
The past two years have been the second and third largest in terms of recorded cases of the virus in the county. It’s one of several diseases carried by mosquitoes in our area.
The work that the several dozen full-time workers do at Chatham County Mosquito Control basically makes it bearable to be outside during peak mosquito season. As the days get longer and hotter, mosquitoes will become more and more noticeable. That’s where the staff - equipped with helicopters to spray from the sky and traps to monitor mosquito populations on the ground - comes in.
“We count them, identify them to the species, and we keep track of population trends over time,” said Ture Carlson, Director, Chatham County Mosquito Control. “The numbers obviously dictate how we do our control."
Carlson says Chatham County Mosquito Control is constantly looking at improving their response efforts to any spike in mosquito population.
“Mosquito population is always driven by water. How much water is around and standing is going to dictate mosquito populations, so depending on how the weather goes for a season is going to really decide how the populations go,” he said.
This time of year, pop-up showers may leave standing water in pots, old tires, or any other receptacles in your yard, creating a mosquito breeding ground.
“It’s very important for people to get out to their back yards and dump their containers. If you can find water in a container in your yard, it’s potentially breeding mosquitoes.”
On Chatham County Mosquito Control’s website, they have a Skeeter Meter, illustrating nuisance level and disease threat, week to week. While the meter is low for both this week, Mosquito Control says the numbers of our area’s primary carrier of West Nile Virus are up in traps in the midtown and downtown areas of Savannah.
“West Nile is more of an urban, more into Savannah area,” Carlson said. “Last year, West Nile Virus was pretty widespread, and we didn’t really find much Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also called Triple E.”
Triple E is the other main disease carried by mosquitoes in our region.