Local area governments have stepped up mosquito spraying to combat a large hatching of the blood-sucking bugs in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
Drought conditions had limited the number of mosquitoes in the area this summer, but cyclone-caused flooding in streams and rivers and an increased amount of standing water caused a resurgence of the irritating insects, said Tony Cahoon, the public works director for Carteret County.
“We had a good hatching after the storm, but we are getting the number under control with spraying,” he said, adding that the naturally short lifespan of mosquitoes and anticipated cooler weather will help reduce the number of the insects as well.
Onslow County Vector Control and Jacksonville Mosquito Control have also doubled efforts to eliminate the insects, officials said.
Vector Control, which partners with the N.C. Wildlife Service to control beaver populations and keep streams flowing, has concentrated on spraying for mosquitoes since the storm, workers said Friday.
Dry weather before the storm and the sudden downpour of rain from Irene created breeding grounds and dampened dormant eggs, Lenoir County Health Director Joey Huff said.
“Mosquito eggs can lie dormant for very long periods of time,” Huff said. “Once they become moist from rain or any other type of moisture, they hatch. It would take just a few days to turn into the adult mosquitoes. … We’re now seeing an abundance of mosquitoes that we did not have to experience prior to the hurricane.”
Residents can help diminish mosquito breeding grounds on their property with just a few simple actions, according to Onslow County Vector Control.
Get rid of any stagnant or standing water in buckets and flower pots. Regularly change water in bird baths and animal water bowls. Ditches should also be kept clear and free of debris so water can drain off as it is supposed to.
Vector Control also recommends residents use insect repellents, especially on children and the elderly, during any outdoor activity. Anyone who owns horses are encouraged to have them vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
It takes about one week for a mosquito to grow from egg to adult, according to Jacksonville Mosquito Control, which offers the following recommendations:
- Throw away old bottles and cans.
- Clean overgrown ponds and stock with fish.
- Screen or cover rain barrels.
- Clean leaf-clogged gutters.
- Repair leaky faucets.
- Throw away or destroy used tires.
- Recycle or throw away trash and unwanted items.
For more information or to schedule mosquito spraying contact Onslow County Vector Control at 910-455-0181, the City of Jacksonville Mosquito Control at 910 938-5333, or Carteret County Mosquito Control at 252-504-2107.
Freedom ENC staff writer Jane Moon contributed to this report. Contact Daily News Senior Reporter Lindell Kay at 910-219-8455 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his crime blog, “Off the Cuff,” at http://onslowcrime.encblogs.com.