Mosquito battle escalating in EBR as some bugs test positive for West Nile
BATON ROUGE - There’s a growing problem buzzing its way into East Baton Rouge Parish. The area is being swarmed by mosquitoes, and to make matters worse, samples in five different locations have tested positive for West Nile.
To combat the problem, residents are requesting their homes be sprayed, but crews are having to work extra hard to keep up.
“We're working six days a week, ten hours a day. We've been short staffed until just recently, so it is a little tricky to service as many people who are calling without working those extra hours,” said Assistant Director of Mosquito Abatement and Control, Randy Vaeth.
“Just before dark, you can walk outside and see a swarm of them over your head,” said Edwin Vernon, who lives near the Baton Rouge Airport. Vernon says his neighborhood is a hot spot for the bugs.
“We have canals behind the homes and often there’s water running down them, for no apparent reason,” he said.
Water and shrubbery are a combination the inspectors are looking for. But, it’s not their only workload. Crews are also working hard spraying areas where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile. The Parish says those neighborhoods include Westminister Subdivision, Broadmoor Subdivision, the area west of Lee Magnet High School, Winbourne Avenue and Airline Highway.
"The species that are positive right now are the Southern house mosquitoes,” said Vaeth. “It's not one that will ruin the picnic but, as the name implies, it's going to get into your house."
That fear is driving more and more people to request spraying, keeping the inspectors busy.
“This is going to be an ongoing problem and they can only do so much really but, what can you do, it's mother nature,” said Vernon.
Anyone can call the Parish asking for their yard to be sprayed. The service is free. It’s paid for through a property tax.
Aside from spraying, Vaeth suggests emptying any standing water around households, and use bug spray when it’s too hot to wear sleeves.