Mosquito population growing in some areas
BATON ROUGE - There's a record number of mosquitoes this time of year with standing water still around after the flood. East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control is out in force from the ground to the air.
While not every location in the parish is experiencing high numbers of mosquitoes, east of Zachary along Tucker road and the southeast portion of the parish are problem spots.
A species more commonly found in Florida is producing high numbers in the south part of the parish. Culex nigripalpus is a mosquito that takes advantage of water standing for more than 10 days. A trap along Fulwar Skipwith Road had 9,000 mosquitoes in it last week. When the same trap was visited Monday, it caught approximately 8,000 mosquitoes. That's after the area was treated on Sept. 7 by aerial spraying.
It's an area where Annette Sharp was mowing her law Monday evening, racing to finish before dusk.
"Dusk, we start getting them," she said. "We were trying to do something outside, you can't."
Sharp says it's not always like that in her neighborhood and has already called the city-parish to spray once. That was two weeks ago and now she's getting ready to call again.
"They're really bad," she said.
Randy Vaeth with EBRPMARC says the trucks are spraying at night six days a week. Aeriel spraying is also covering about 20,000 acres a week. The phone at mosquito abatement is constantly ringing with requests for inspection and treatment.
"We're averaging around 550 a week right now," he said.
A big concern in August and September is West Nile. Vaeth says earlier this month samples came back from the Broadmoor area testing positive for West Nile. Last week, another neuroinvasive human case was found in the Greenwell Springs area off Joor Road.
East Baton Rouge Parish has large populations of the southern house mosquito, which is a carrier for West Nile. It breeds in highly organic water, particularly septic effluent ditches. Zika is not a great concern in EBR at this time.
"We're not as concerned as they are in say, New Orleans or St. Tammany because we don't have any yellow fever mosquitoes, aedes aegypti, which is the primary vector," said Vaeth.
While abatement is constantly spraying for mosquitoes, there doesn't show much sign of slowing down until the weather cooperates.
"They continue to breed as long as there is some standing water," said Vaeth.
In the meantime, experts suggest avoiding activities outdoors in the early morning and early part of the evening, wear long sleeves and pants when possible and use insect repellent, 25 percent DEET is recommended.
If you're interested in mosquito abatement inspecting your home in EBR, call 356-3297 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. M-F.