More than just an itch

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I have heard some folks in the area joke that the state bird for the commonwealth of Virginia should be not the cardinal, but the mosquito.

Every summer it is the same story in Hampton Roads and in many other communities along the East Coast, having to spray down yourself and even your yard just to avoid the pests.

My recent trips outside to walk my dog have resulted in multiple mosquito bites after just a few minutes. Fortunately my dog is protected against heartworms, because I see the mosquitoes swarming around her as well.


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I think most people tend not to think past the annoying red welts. It is hard to think of anything else, when all you want to do is scratch those bumps, but mosquitoes can spread diseases.

Mosquitoes collected in Suffolk by the Mosquito Control Division have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus, according to a recent city report.

The city is increasing mosquito surveillance, treatment of standing water and evening spray applications for adult mosquitoes.

No human cases of the two serious diseases have been reported, but horses in Suffolk are commonly found with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, according to the city news release.

EEE infection in humans is very rare.

Mosquitoes that have tested positive for EEE have been found in the neighborhoods of Lake Kennedy, Suburban Woods, Regency Estates, Wonderland Forest, Rivercliff, Arbor Meadows, Dayle Acres, Pughsville, Bennett’s Harbor, Kilby Shores, Kempton Park, Pitchkettle Point, Princeview Point and Olde Mill Creek, as well as neighborhoods around Lamb Avenue, Hosier Road, Clay Hill Road, Leesville and Whaleyville.

Lake Kennedy mosquitoes also tested positive for West Nile Virus.

To decrease your chance of contracting the diseases, stay indoors during the times of greatest mosquito activity (one hour before dusk to one hour before dawn), wear loose, long and light-colored clothing when outdoors and use insect repellants containing DEET.

You can also eliminate mosquito-breeding areas by using these tips:

  • Empty water-holding containers, such as buckets, drums, tires, tin cans, wheelbarrows and potted plant trays.
  • Clear roof gutters, downspouts and corrugated black drainpipes of collected water.
  • Clean wading and swimming pools.
  • Drain water from tarps.
  • Place Mosquito Dunks in stagnant water areas around your home, including ditches and low-lying areas.

Mosquito Dunks are available at each fire station, city hall, Public Works administration and the East Suffolk Recreation Center.

For more information about Suffolk Mosquito Control, call 514-7609.