LOWNDES COUNTY, GA (WALB) – As the weather warms up, mosquitoes are getting more active. Traps are put out to collect the mosquitoes and then taken to the Valdosta State University Mosquito Lab. There, the insects are separated and sent off for testing.
Every Monday and sometimes Tuesdays, Jody Finnissee who supervises the Lowndes County Mosquito Control Program, picks up these traps full of mosquitoes.
"We have four traps in Lowndes County. We have two traps down south and two traps up north," he said.
Finnissee then takes the nets to the Valdosta State University Mosquito Lab where they're emptied and separated.
"We sort them under the microscope based on just physical features, thorax, their patterns, scale patterns," said Laura Simmons of the VSU Mosquito Lab.
Female mosquitoes are the ones that bite and carry disease. "We then send certain species off, that are known vectors of diseases we test for, up to UGA and they do the disease testing there and send the results back here," said Simmons.
The mosquito lab collects more than 10,000 mosquitoes each year. In Lowndes County, there's about 36 species.
"Adulticide starts if during the trapping process, a mosquito tests positive for disease," said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County Spokesperson. "There is a really hard mitigation program that goes in at that point."
She says larvicide is key in controlling mosquitoes.
"It's a 150 day tablet you can put it in any standing water on your property that you cannot eliminate," said Dukes. "It's not harmful to pets or the ground or your drinking water."
All you have to do is show your proof of residency to the county public works department to get the tablets. The Lowndes County Mosquito Control Program is year-round.
The City of Valdosta also has larvicide tablets that can be picked up at the public works department on Myrtle Street.