Take Precautions For Mosquitoes After Storms

Jack L. Baldwin, Pollet, Dale K., Coolman, Denise

The rains brought on by hurricanes and tropical storms can lead to more mosquitoes.

That means Louisiana residents have even more reasons to protect themselves from mosquito bites and the diseases mosquitoes can carry if storms head our way, according to experts with the LSU AgCenter.

Dr. Dale Pollet, an LSU AgCenter entomologist, said the floodwater species of mosquitoes usually emerge in larger numbers about five to seven days after a major rain. That’s because floodwater mosquitoes lay eggs at the water’s edge and then those eggs hatch when water rises – as it does in ditches, ponds, puddles and other water bodies when it rains.

Because even more people may be outside working to prepare for storms or to repair or assess damage after a storm during hurricane season, LSU AgCenter entomologist Dr. Jack Baldwin cautions the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases may be even greater unless appropriate precautions are taken.

“People need to keep in mind that there still is a threat of West Nile virus in the state,” Baldwin said. “They shouldn’t forget about the use of repellents and other individual protection measures to avoid mosquito bites.”

While mosquito repellents and such measures as wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, where possible, are ways to protect against bites, the LSU AgCenter experts also say mosquito abatement districts generally take extra measures to prevent explosions in the mosquito population when storms come.

“When there are more mosquitoes hatching out, the state’s mosquito abatement districts are well aware of the problem,” Pollet said. “That’s when they begin spreading larvicides to kill the immature insects before they reach adulthood and begin flying.

“They also watch for adults and begin spraying adulticides when those come out, too,” he said.

LSU AgCenter experts offer the following tips for controlling mosquitoes and protecting yourself from mosquito bites:

  • Use a mosquito repellent each time you go outside.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, when possible, and avoid dark colors.
  • Avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn – when mosquitoes are more active.
  • Fight mosquitoes. Don’t allow water to stand – or treat standing water with approved insecticides to kill mosquito larvae.
  • Repair window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Use an insecticide to spray areas of thick vegetation in your landscape.
  • Remove debris from your yard.
  • Mow grass regularly and keep shrubbery trimmed.
  • Use pesticides safely and effectively. Read and carefully follow label directions on any insecticides or mosquito repellents you use.
  • Always choose a pesticide that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for your intended use.

For more details on mosquito control and other issues, visit the LSU AgCenter’s Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com.

9/1/2005 1:52:44 AM
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