Mosquitoes bug Suffolk

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crews from a number of different agencies spent Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning spraying insecticide from aircraft throughout Western Tidewater to deal with an increasing mosquito population.

The villages of Holland and Whaleyville, as well as the residential areas of downtown and north on both sides of the Nansemond River to the James River, were sprayed.

Hurricane Irene, which dumped 10 to 12 inches of rain throughout the city, is being blamed for the exponential increase. The torrential rains created numerous pools of standing water, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.


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A mosquito trap in the city recently captured more than 3,000 mosquitoes in just one night. Such a large number signals a rapid increase in the mosquito population, according to a press release from the city.

The trapped mosquitoes are being tested for diseases, including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

In addition to aerial spraying, the city also has been spraying from trucks and treating standing water to help reduce the mosquito populations.

“Mosquito populations can increase dramatically in the wake of a hurricane, and that could mean an increase in the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said Dr. Nancy Welch, Western Tidewater Health Director. “To combat this, parts of the Western Tidewater region will receive aerial spraying for mosquitoes.”

There have been no human cases of either disease recently, said Larry Hill, a spokesman from the Virginia Department of Health. The insecticide applications are a precaution.

The health department is asking residents to help combat the spread of the diseases and the mosquito population by removing standing water from around their homes.

Residents can help by:

  • Emptying buckets, drums, bottles, tin cans, wheelbarrows and potted plant trays;
  • Properly disposing of used tires;
  • Clearing roof gutters, downspouts and drainpipes;
  • Cleaning wading and swimming pools;
  • Draining water from tarps;
  • Placing Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, including ditches and low-lying areas.

Mosquito Dunks are used to kill mosquito larvae. They are available free to Suffolk residents over the age of 18 and are available at all local fire stations. You must have proof of residence and picture identification and sign the information sheet at the fire station.

Residents also can reduce their risk of being bitten by a mosquito by following these recommendations:

  • Remain indoors during times of greatest mosquito activity (one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn).
  • Wear loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
  • Use insect repellants containing DEET according to the label instructions.
  • Place oscillating fans outside to blow mosquitoes away from areas you will be occupying.

For more information, call 514-7609.