Richmond Co. crews fighting mosquitoes earlier because of heat

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email
Mosquitos

Due to a mild winter and spring, mosquitoes hatched about six to eight weeks early this year. (WRDW-TV / April 30, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, April 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A warmer-than-usual spring has mosquitoes hatching about six weeks early this year.

They're the peskiest of pests, and get ready, this year they're expected to be worse. Experts say in standing water the size of a quarter a female can lay up to 150 eggs.

"This trap holds stink water in the bottom," explained Frank Koehle, the operations manager for Richmond County's Mosquito Control.

Koehle and his crew are making their way around Augusta working to attract the bugs that are attracted to you.

"Female mosquitoes who are ready to lay eggs, they will be drawn to that trap," Koehle said.

They're responding to complaint after complaint, trapping and examining the bugs they catch.

"The purpose of that is to find out what kind of mosquitoes we have, how many we have, what treatments do we need to do," Koehle said. "Before we use to spray every street in the county but with the new EPA rules we just can't do that anymore."

And with 90-degree heat in April, Frank and his team expect this to be a rough summer.

"Mosquitoes have to have the same thing that a human has, it has to have food, water and oxygen. The first rains we had in the spring, they start hatching and they hatched out probably six to eight weeks early," Koehle said.

Mosquito Control starts treating county storm drains months before the heat cranks up.

"We start those in January so that we can have something in the storm drains prior to the rains coming so we're ready for them when they get here," Koehle said.

They're ready, and you can be, too. They say to take a good look around your home and yard and avoid standing water.

"If you have gutters on your house, they probably need to be cleaned out because that's a great habitat for them," Koehle said.

Mosquito Control is operated through the Department of Health. Most of the employees only work from April to October.

If the crew is called out to certain homes multiple times, they have the power to write tickets and bring a homeowner to court if the problem continues.

Columbia County also has a mosquito treatment plan. In 2010, they started the Mosquito Management Program to work on problem areas and reduce mosquitoes around your home. The team is made up of several different agencies.


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