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Mosquito fight ramps up as West Nile arrives

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COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) -

New test results show West Nile virus is in our area. Facing the discovery of West Nile mosquitoes in St. Tammany, parish leaders have a plan they hope will help control the mosquito population.

Nine-year-old Silas Moore spends a lot of his summer days out on work sites with his grandfather. He said, “I have Off in the truck.” He's going to need it.

Combined with night traps for adult mosquitoes. the St.Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District actively hunts the tiny carnivores.

Caillouet said, “It's a year-round fight.” The hunters fire more rounds and their aim gets more strategic in hot weather when incubation from eggs to full grown adults goes from two to three weeks in the coldest months to six to seven days.

He said, “That's also West Nile season and we are looking for infection. It is our primary indicator that west Nile is in our population and may pose a risk to people.” A small risk, but one the office takes seriously and residents like Andres Reyes appreciate. He said, “Oh yeah that's a good thing. Sometimes we try to enjoy and spend time outside, but the mosquitos are impossible.” Keeping up with his yard work may also be helping in the fight. Reyes said, “Just try to clean the ditch.”

One of the first lines of defense is to get the baby mosquitos that grow in these ditches. One thing you can do to help is clear the vegetation so pesticides can get to the water where they live. Workers in trucks shoot out a granular larvaecide that settles into the water where the targeted creatures eat the bait killing them before they can grow into biting adults.   

Caillouet said, “The biggest problem for this particular species of mosquito is it likes to lay it's eggs and rear it's young in heavily organically polluted water.” That's not just rain water in those ditches, there is also outflow from septic tanks.

Experts say it's important to use proper maintenance and pump out your septic tank every three to five years. That will help to gets rid of some of the gunk those pesky critters love.

In addition to the standard clearing any standing water, using repellent and avoiding peak biting times the summer mosquito war ramps up. St. Tammany residents can call the parish's mosquito abatement office to request that their private property be inspected and treated.

Other parishes offer similar services.

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