Heavy rains may foster bumper crop of biting, summer mosquitoes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Recent heavy rains could cause a worse-than-usual outbreak of mosquitoes in the next week, according to entomologists and other who work with the insects.

&uot;Mosquito eggs lie dormant until the area where they are is flooded and they hatch,&uot; said Richard Goyer, an entomologist with Louisiana State University.

&uot;So about seven to 10 days after an area is flooded, you begin to see more of them, and then for two to three weeks you can expect a rash of them,&uot;&160;he said.

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While other areas of Concordia Parish do not spray for mosquitoes, Roy Reyes, Vidalia’s acting street and sanitation superintendent, said that department has already started spraying for mosquitoes twice a week.

&uot;We’ve had more (mosquitoes) than usual lately because of all the rain,&uot; Reyes said. &uot;Anywhere there are buckets and tires full of water, they breed.&uot;

Getting rid of standing water is one of the best ways to combat mosquitoes, according to the American Mosquito Control Association, which recommends that residents do the following:

— Dispose of old tires, unused wading pools or containers that collect water. Do not allow water to stand in flower pots or in pet dishes for more than two days.

— Clean debris from rain gutters and remove standing water on flat roofs.

— Change water in bird baths and wading pools at least once a week.

— Fill or drain low areas.

— Eliminate seepage from cisterns, cesspools, and septic tanks.

— Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs.

It is also recommended that people use insect repellents containing DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when possible and stay insides buildings with screened windows and doors at dusk.

Mosquitoes are always bad at Lake St. John this time of year, said Tom Bell of the Lake St. John Advisory Committee. &uot;You can’t sit outside when the sun goes down, that’s for sure,&uot;&160;Bell said with a laugh. For those who cannot resist the outdoors, Bell recommends citronella candles.