JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - You can already start seeing swarms of mosquitoes and gnats as temperatures warm up, and employees at Mosquito Control Services in Jefferson Parish are keeping a close eye on them.
"We have traps throughout the parish, and we're constantly surveying those up to three times a week, and typically we'll bring back all the mosquitoes, the biologists will count them. We can kind of get a good indication about what's going on," biologist Sam Stines said.
He said the previous winter, they started spraying around Christmas, but this past winter was cold enough to delay hatching.
"We were kind of excited about the freeze that we had. It's been a while since we had such a hard freeze, and what we've seen from that is some of the mosquitoes that overwinter as an adult aren't showing up in the traps, and typically those are the ones that can carry disease," Stines said.
However, their eggs survived.
"Places like woodlands and swamps where tidal influx could come in or rains can collect, we're starting to see those mosquitoes hatch out in higher numbers, so we are seeing higher populations of mosquitoes right now," Stines said.
Stines said in response, they are sending out more trucks and spraying bacteria in woodland and marsh areas.
"They are attracted to tires, so one thing that we're looking for are tires on the side of the road, or tires that are left out. They collect water and detritus, and that makes a perfect breeding ground not only for the mosquito that can potentially carry Zika, but also for the ones that carry West Nile and other diseases," Stines said.
In a few months, mosquitoes will be at their peak.
"March will be full trucks out there - 10 to 15 trucks a night addressing the mosquito situation," Stines said.
Stines said so far, they haven't found any diseased mosquitoes.
He adds that now is a good time to empty containers of standing water around the house to prevent breeding.