Originally created 09/08/01

Counties boost effort to fight mosquitoes



You can thank the June showers for the summer mosquito infestation.

"This has been a perfect year for mosquitoes - if there is such a thing," said Cheryl E. Turner, an environmental health specialist with Richmond County's Health Department. "Rain. Hot. Rain. Hot. Rain. Hot."

To get rid of the pests, Columbia County and Richmond County use insecticide pellets or briquettes to treat standing water and kill the larvae thriving there. Richmond County also uses a fleet of trucks to spray for mosquitoes.

Spraying is aimed at the adult mosquitoes and kills only the bugs within a certain range - but it goes a long way to assure the public, Ms. Turner said.

"Whenever they see us, they tell us how wonderful it is," she said.

Ms. Turner said the biggest thing residents can do to help is get rid of standing water.

"It only has to be the size of a quarter for mosquitoes to breed in it," she said.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water, and adults emerge within about a week. After that, mosquitoes usually stay within 500 yards of the water where their life cycle started.

In Columbia County, officials are looking at adding other methods of adult mosquito control, said Tim Holloway, the assistant manager of Columbia County's Roads and Bridges Department.

Construction and Maintenance Director Kevin Lear will present several options to commissioners later this year, Mr. Holloway said.

"You are going to have some on one side who want us to spray, and you'll have people on the other side who'll see a truck coming down the road fogging for mosquitoes and say we're polluting the environment," he said.

The bloodsuckers have been in the headlines since the West Nile virus began showing up in Georgia. So far, there has been one death - an Atlanta woman who was killed by the disease last month.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com.