Environmental official says mosquitoes worst he has seen in county

Published 9:46 pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

“And now it is time for the mosquito report,” Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard announced at Monday’s Dallas County Commission meeting.

Larry Friday approached the front of the room to deliver his mosquito report just as he has for the last 20 years. As environmental services director, Friday has seen many generations of mosquitoes come and go in the area, but said this summer was the worst he had ever seen.

“Every summer for the last 20 years, we take samples and determine what species and genus of the mosquitoes we are dealing with,” Friday said. “We basically have in the Selma and Dallas County area, a breed called Flood Water Mosquitoes.”

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He explained in the meeting that the weather for the next week would be more than 80 degrees, keeping the mosquitoes at a happy temperature and so treatment of the insects would continue in the county.

“A general rule of thumb is that at 70 degrees and below the mosquitoes become lethargic and lazy, the female doesn’t feed. They just rest under decomposing vegetation,” he said. “We want a good cold winter to kill them if we can.”

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, pools or even puddles attract the mosquitoes to lay their eggs around the perimeter. They do this so when the rain comes and the flood waters 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.”

Because the mosquito population, according to Friday, commonly increases when the weather gets bad, there were more calls to his environmental service office than any years prior.

“I probably got 20 complaints a day for probably two to three weeks,” he said. “the commissioners would call in and say ‘Hey please come to so and so’s county road because they are just terrible out here.’”

The nine inches of rain on Labor Day weekend increased the mosquito population, as well as the bad weather blew in another breed of adult mosquito that began to feed immediately.