Salt Marsh Mosquito outbreak underway

Salt Marsh Mosquito outbreak underway

It's rare--a major mosquito outbreak in the winter. And mosquito control officials are having trouble getting rid of the pests.

The warm temperatures and rainfall caused the mosquito outbreak. Officials say the weather is not cooperating with their efforts to spray as they usually do in an outbreak.

The culprit is the salt marsh mosquito and usually Calcasieu Mosquito Control fights them by air and by land. Normally, crews would double their efforts to fight the thirsty blood suckers in an outbreak.  But Calcasieu Mosquito Control Director Scott Willis says the weather is working against them. For one thing, when temperatures drop to sixty degrees or less, it's a waste of time and money to spray.  "Our spray is a contact spray and needs to come in contact with the mosquitoes. Sometimes you can start out in the evening and as it gets later in the night it gets cool and the temperature drops and mosquito activity drops so your effectiveness drops off sometimes when it gets too cool in the evening. Our temperature, when it gets to be sixty or so we usually have to call it," said Willis.

If they spray when it's too windy, the insecticide will miss its target and it'll just be wasted. "With an airplane you're definitely not going to hit your target and with the trucks, you really want your spray to come out in drift and drift across the area that you're trying to treat and it just blows the treatment away and it's just not effective to try to spray when the wind is high," said Willis. He says in ten years their crews have only sprayed for mosquitos three nights in January, so the outbreak is extremely rare.

Willis says they'll spray as soon as they can. "If you're having a mosquito problem you're still welcome to call us and we do service requests and check around with our surveillance during the day. You just have to be patient during the day and as soon as we get warm weather and the temperature and weather conditions cooperate with us, we'll be out there spraying," said Willis.

Meanwhile, they urge people to take the same precautions they would during the summer.  If misery loves company, well officials say districts across the state are experiencing the same issues.

 And, when it comes to concerns such as West Nile virus, Willis says this isn't the season for it, so no worries there.

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