Drought is a mixed bag when it comes to mosquitos - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Drought is a mixed bag when it comes to mosquitos

May 31, 2007

Albany --  Dry weather has cut the mosquito population in some areas of south Georgia, but for the ones that survive if could be more dangerous if they bite you. Dry conditions could help mosquitoes spread the West Nile Virus.

In some portions of Albany residents say they've become a pest and could get worse with a cutback in spraying.

For the first time in two years, drainage ditches on Oakridge Drive, usually mosquito breeding grounds, are dry, so you'll see fewer spray trucks in your neighborhood.

"We're not spraying as much we're only spraying three nights opposed to five. We've just we've cut back," says Donnell Mathis of Dougherty Environmental Control.

While a lack of water may have cut the mosquito population in Dougherty County, what is out there could be more dangerous if it bites you. "This is a time when we know the West Nile Virus more prevalent during the dry season," Mathis said.

Those working yards in the county say they haven't been bothered.  "Normally we would be getting eaten up by now, but over here there's not very many at all," said Curtis McGee of Dougherty County.

Inside the city limits is another story. "Every time I go outside I have to put bug spray on. They just swarm right to me when I'm swinging outside with my dog, I can barely go outside," says Amelia Middlebrooks of Rawson Circle. 

Crews have cut the vegetation in those drainage ditches in an effort to eliminate one breeding area.

"They take the oxygen out from the weeds to hatch out, but not all species do that," Mathis says.

It's ultimately up to homeowners watering their laws not to let sprinklers fill bird baths or buckets that may create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

"I just make sure I have a lot of bug spray on and usually I'm okay," Middlebrooks said.

According to the CDC, there have been four confirmed cases of West Nile Virus so far this year in the United States. All four cases originated in Mississippi.

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