Cold winter means slow start to mosquito season


Posted on April 24, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 10:28 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

METAIRIE, La. -- The cold freezes the metro area saw this winter are keeping the mosquitoes at bay --- at least for now. That is the word from local entomologists. However, steps are still being taken to curb the mosquito population across the metro area.

"This is the pump mechanism that controls the amount of spray," Steve Pavlovich said while looking over equipment at Mosquito Control Services.

At dusk is when mosquitoes like to play, and on Thursday night spraying crews with the Metairie-based business -- a contractor with Jefferson Parish -- were on the job.

Crews are tracking down and targeting problem areas like a stretch of pooling water along Airline Highway.

"They really like areas like this that are grassy and have the scum on the water," said one crew member taking water samples.

So far this year, entomologists like Pavlovich say the mosquito population hasn't been problematic and the cold winter is a likely factor.

"We have winters that are very warm and really start the mosquito season off a lot earlier than normal. This was more a normal winter time, and we're experiencing a normal mosquito population," said Pavlovich.

"This is what you're looking for, little mosquitoes, they're wiggling around," said Dr. Claudia Riegel with the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board.

In Orleans Parish, Riegel said tackling the mosquito population is a year-round battle.

"We don't actually stop because it doesn't get cold enough here to kill our mosquitoes," said Riegel.

The Control Board monitors around 100 mosquito traps checked several times a week across the city. It is also gearing up for a mosquito breeding season that will explode once summer temperatures hit.

"We've also gotten our equipment ready, calibrated, our airplane or spray trucks, and looked at everything. So we're ready to go," added Riegel.

Even though you might not be feeling the bite right now -- experts say now is the time to do your part.

"Making sure that their doors and windows and screens fit tightly. As well as policing their own yard for potential containers that can breed mosquitoes. Really anything as small as bottle cap of water," said Pavlovich.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says so far this year, no mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile or St. Louis Encephalitis. DHH says to date there have been no cases of those viruses in mosquitoes, humans or horses.