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City Has New Tool To Fight Mosquitoes

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The squadrons of mosquitoes that normally fill the summer air will be facing a formidable enemy this year, a new mosquito sprayer.

Aldermen approved purchase of the $7500 Model 800 unit at their regular monthly meeting on June 3. The new sprayer replaces a decades old unit that was purchased used for $50.

However, just spraying is not enough. Street Department Supervisor Mike Scroggins, who has attended seminars on mosquito control, said that a combination of spraying and public education is needed to effectively  address the problem.

Spraying eliminates adult mosquitoes while reducing breeding areas gets rid of the eggs, larvae, and pupae.

Here are some recommendations for homeowners that will help reduce breeding areas:

• Pick up and haul away all trash piles, broken down washing machines, junk cars, bottles and cans, and related items from around houses.

• Avoid having open water areas or containers around the house such as puddles, open water tanks, damaged water pipes, tires, etc. that might breed mosquitoes.

• Fill tree holes with mortar.

• Drill holes in the bottom of tire swings.

• Empty or change water in pet dishes, bird baths, horse troughs, etc. at least once a week.

• Keep roof gutters clean.

• Avoid accumulation of decaying material and garbage in and around the home.

• Cover water tanks.

• Support natural enemies of insects like birds, frogs, lizards, and fish.

• Fix any low spots in the yard that hold water for long-term control.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, at least 50 species of mosquitoes are found in Mississippi. The majority of these prefer to feed on animals other than humans and are rarely encountered.

Mosquitoes that do feed on humans can not only cause local skin irritation, but sometimes transmit diseases including the deadly West Nile virus.

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