MOULTRIE -- The rain that has visited South Georgia almost daily since early summer has not only watered lawns and fields, it's created a mosquito heaven.

"We've probably had one of the wettest springs and early summers I've seen in a long time and, you know, mosquitoes love water," said Moultrie Beautification Department Director Wally Colwell.

To fight the pests, the beautification department has been spraying an insecticide similar to Durasband for three hours each evening, and Colwell said it's working.

"Surprisingly, we haven't had many complaints saying, 'The mosquitoes are killing me.'"

Cities usually spray every two weeks. Moultrie is spraying every week, but Colwell said in an interview with The Observer in April, double the insecticide will not hurt humans.

"We're doubling what we're putting out there, which is by no means harmful to humans. We're just doing it because of the West Nile virus," he said. With good reason.

Last year 4,161 Americans were infected with the virus. Of those thousands infected, 277 died, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site.

More recently, several incidents of Eastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito-borne disease more dangerous than West Nile, have been reported in horses across southern Georgia.

In addition to the spray, city employees are putting "biscuits" wherever they find stagnant water in an effort to kill mosquito eggs and larvae before they can grow into the pesky insect with the itchy bite.

Despite its best efforts, Colwell said there is only so much his department can do. The rest, he said, is up to citizens. Here are some tips:

Use mosquito repellent that has DEET in it. Anything over 24 percent DEET will repel mosquitoes for five hours. Applying repellent is "something strong every person can do," Colwell said. "If you're going to be outside around dusk or dawn, you ought to use it. I do."

Look around your property. "If you have any 5-gallon buckets or anything you're not using that holds water, that's what mosquitoes are looking for," advised Colwell. "Dump it out and turn it over."

Mosquito-proof your home. Check screened-in porches and window screens for holes.

So far, Colquitt Countians are heeding the advice.

Tom Kimble, co-manager at Moultrie's Wal-Mart Supercenter said devices like the "Mosquito Magnet" that draw the insect with carbon dioxide have customers buzzing.

Additionally, Kimble said, "bug zappers," citronella in all its forms and insect repellent are flying off the shelves.

Said Colwell: "We're out there doing all we can. Take some measures to help yourself."

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you