Rough mosquito season ahead

Published 7:25pm Thursday, April 11, 2013

If Dallas County residents think it is itchy now, it could start to get worse. The mosquito population in the county was recorded as the worst season in 20 years according to Dallas County Environmental Services Director Larry Friday in 2012. Friday said in 2012 that a good, cold winter was needed to kill off mosquitoes in the region — but on Wednesday he said this past winter was one of the wettest he has seen.

“We are serviced and ready for action,” Friday said and explained that the season is wet, more standing water means more mosquitoes.

The main breed of mosquito that is indigenous to the area lay their eggs around water areas. Friday said any body of waters like rivers, lakes, ponds, or even bowls and blow up pools for children, attract the mosquitoes to lay their eggs around the perimeter.

They do this so when the rain comes and the floodwaters rise, Friday said, the eggs are then submerged and the mosquitoes begin to develop. The insects have four stages of development: eggs, larva, pupa and adult.

“So we spray adulticide and larvacide — which means we treat standing water to stop the development of the mosquitoes so this kills the larva and stops them,” Friday said.

“Then we spray an adulticide to kill the existing mosquitoes on the ground. We do this day in and day out in the county.”

April is the month each year when Friday and his team begins treating standing water if they cannot eliminate it and they spray all unincorporated areas of the county including Orrville and Valley Grande. The city of Selma has its own mosquito program.

Friday estimates that between now and the end of summer, the county spends close to $20,000 in treating the area against mosquitoes.

“The county puts in an all-out effort — they spare no horses,” Friday said about the line of defense against mosquitoes. “We obviously aren’t New Orleans where they have millions of dollars and helicopters and equipment to do more, but for the county and the budget we have to work with, the county commission does an outstanding job with the mosquito program here in Dallas County.”

Lumped together, Friday said, they probably spend close to $20,000 annually on manpower, wear and tear on equipment, pesticides and adulticides.

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