Students monitor mosquito activity - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Students monitor mosquito activity

July 8, 2005

Valdosta - You could call them mosquito monitors. "We count them, sort them, put them in pools, then send them off to the state to be tested," said Alan Carter.

These VSU students are paying close attention to mosquito activity in Lowndes County. They've set out traps at seven different locations. "We're running 40 to 45 traps total in the course of a week," said Dr. Mark Blackmore.

"One week we had close to 8500 mosquitos," said Carter.

The pests are taken from the field to the lab where they're sorted according to their species. "Every mosquito looks different, they have different colors, different scales, they even have hair under their arms, believe it or not," said Carter.

Then they're sent to the University of Georgia and tested for diseases. "The two things we're most concerned with here are Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus," said Blackmore.

So far this year, they've found two pools of mosquitos carrying E.E.E., but no cases of West Nile. Their surveillance is vital in letting city leaders know what areas they should concentrate on when spraying for the pests. "But that's not the final solution, everybody needs to take responsibility for not getting bitten by wearing insect repellent and avoiding peak times for mosquitos like dusk and dawn," said Blackmore.

The student's have noticed a decrease in the number of mosquitos in Lowndes County this month, but if we see much rain this weekend, the number will likely climb. So its important for people to get rid of standing water and take the proper steps to protect themselves from these disease carrying pests.

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