Pine Belt begins preparing for mosquitoes

WAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - Summertime in the south means sun, water and unfortunately mosquitoes, and cities in the Pine Belt have already started preparing.

The City of Waynesboro is helping their residents fight against a mosquito outbreak.

"We try to communicate that yearly to our citizens to let them know what they could do to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, as well as what we're doing to actively combat the problem," said Public Works Director Joseph Zaydel.

Zaydel said they will be out with their truck spraying the area during the hours of dusk or dawn three days a week, but he said their job is only half of the solution.

"You can't rely on the government to take care of everybody and everything," Zaydel said. "You've got to take responsibility for yourself and your family."

Spraying yourself with bug spray isn't the only way to protect yourself from mosquitoes. The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) also says that you should make sure to remove any water-holding containers and remember to empty wheelbarrows and also turn over any plastic pools.

"Look around their houses for bird baths," says Parks and Recreation Supervisor Larry Renkin. "Keep them dumped out. They'll get in old cars and stuff like that. Keep all that stuff emptied out."

Danny Meyers with Clarke Mosquito Control said female mosquitoes can lay up to 200 eggs, which can hatch within seven days.

"I mean it doesn't matter what you do, a female mosquito is still going to lay her eggs," Meyers said. "Once they take a bloodbath, what we call a bloodbath, they come in and bite you, fill up with blood, breed, and then lay eggs on top of the water."

According to Meyers, the machine is only meant to kill adult mosquitoes. He said the purpose is to regulate mosquito population

"What you're trying to do is break that cycle, because if West Nile starts, then it will keep carrying on and it will keep carrying that breed into that cycle and it'll come back and lay more," Meyers said. "If you're not spraying or have some kind of program going on, then you'll have a bad outbreak, and people will die."

Zaydel says that if you have a complaint about mosquitoes in your area, you can contact the City Water Department at 601-735- 3121.

According to the MSDH, more tips to protect your home from mosquitoes include:

- Removing all discarded tires. The MSDH says used tires have become the most common mosquito breeding sites in the country

- Remove all leaf debris.

- Close garbage can lids. Be sure water does not collect in the bottom of the can.

- Make sure roof gutters are drained properly

- Frequently change the water in bird baths.

- Clean vegetation and debris from the edge of ponds.

- Use landscaping to eliminate standing water that collects on your property.

- Remove outdoor pet food and water dished that are not being used.

- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs.

The MSDH also suggests staying indoors especially during the hours between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are at their peak. They also suggest wearing long-sleeved or long-legged clothing with socks to prevent bites.

Visit MSDH.ms.gov for more in-depth information on West Nile Virus and how to protect your home from mosquitoes.