New Richmond County program uses mosquitofish to help in abandoned pools

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News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Monday, July 22nd, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Tiny fish could be the answer to some of the county's biggest mosquito problems.

Mosquito fish fill Phinizy Swamp and now they also fill some abandoned swimming pools.

It's a new project with Richmond County Mosquito Control and the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy and it could save you a few bug bites this summer.

"This last week I received 9 calls. One by mail, several by phone, several by email about stagnant pools in their neighborhoods," said Fred Koehle with Richmond County Mosquito Control.

He says abandoned pools cause some of the largest mosquito problems in the county.

"A pool, normal pool lets say 18 by 36 in a season from the first of April to middle of October will produce about 3/4 a million mosquito's," he said.

So Richmond County mosquito control has found a new solution in these tiny fish.

"Mosquito fish are everywhere in Phinizy Swamp," said Dr. Oscar Flite.

Flite is the Vice President for Research at the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy at Phinizy Swamp. They've teamed up with Richmond County mosquito control for an experiment with mosquito fish placing them in abandoned pools to stop mosquito's from breeding there.

Last week they added about 30 mosquito fish to 4 pools in the county. In two weeks they're going to check back and see how the programs working.

"The test is going to run about 4 to 6 weeks," said Koehle. "We're pretty much sure what the results are gonna be, but we wanna make sure first before we go expanding this thing."

The mosquito fish will save both time and money.

"It's going to save us a lot of money because treating a pool three times a year it costs us about 150 bucks," explained Koehle.

"The guys spent about 5 minutes going out and catching more than a 150 mosquito fish so in terms of economics I think it works out pretty well," added Dr. Flite.

An easy fix and easy to get rid of when someone wants to swim.

"When a new homeowner moves in they dump the water out the fish go with it no big deal," said Koehle. "Nobody loses, everybody wins in this."

Well, everyone except the mosquitoes.

Once they complete the test, they plan to add mosquito fish to all of the abandoned pools. They don't have an exact number, but there could be hundreds of these pools around. They hope to have fish in most of them by labor day.

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