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Mosquitoes at their worst in years, say officials

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Posted: Sep 21, 2011 6:13 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Sep 21, 2011 6:13 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: mosquitoes, East Baton Rouge Parish, Tropical Storm Lee

BATON ROUGE-- How many mosquito bites are you covered in? If it's a lot more than usual, join the crowd. Mosquito Abatement in East Baton Rouge Parish estimates there are millions of bloodsuckers roaming the parish, thanks to Tropical Storm Lee.

The storm dumped water that's stuck around as perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, two types in particular: the Northern Floodwater Mosquito, which can fly up to 20 miles a day, and the "Head-Hunter" Mosquito, which earned its nickname from it's favorite place to feast: the face, neck, or head of prey. The mosquito eggs have had just enough time now to hatch, proof parish workers are catching in traps. This time of year, Randy Vaeth with Mosquito Abatement estimates traps would net about 20 mosquitoes a night; right now, he's catching between 500 and 700 a night.

Even the plane that flies four times a week spraying pesticides is covered in mosquito guts. Pilot Guy Faget told News 2 the windshield's nearly been covered in black several nights lately.

"I guess it's good to know whatever the spray's not killing, you're splattering on the front of the plane," Faget said with a laugh.

The battle continues on the ground, where Mosquito Abatement has been answering 200 calls a day. If you make a request, they'll check your property for standing water, then spray the yard with pesticides. A truck also sprays around the parish four nights a week.

Vaeth estimates you should see a drop in bloodsuckers in a week or two.

Until then, Laura Hinz of Companion Animal Alliance says you can protect your pets-- and yourself-- from mosquito bites by rubbing dryer sheets on your skin and clothes.

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