NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Ida's wind killed many adult mosquitoes, while the storm's water created a breeding ground for others.
Outside the levees in Orleans Parish, sitting water on marshland created the perfect breeding ground for floodwater mosquitoes.
"Anytime we have high tide, any flood water or storm surge that pushes in, we tend to get these huge surges of flood water mosquitoes," said Jennifer Breaux, who works as the Mosquito Surveillance Coordinator with the City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board.
They are seeing the same thing on the Northshore. The St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement measured a significant increase in floodwater mosquitoes since Ida. Two species, Aedes Atlanticus and Psorophora Ferox mosquitoes, have increased by nearly 300 percent compared to historical averages. They are found in heavily wooded areas and near rivers.
"Luckily, for the most part, these are not the ones were concerned about for disease this time of year, but they are a nuisance," Breaux said.
Those mosquitoes do not typically carry diseases like West Nile Virus. West Nile Virus has not been detected since Ida as the adult Southern House Mosquitoes that carry the virus were largely killed by the high winds.
"The populations are a little low. We anticipate that to happen after big wind events. They will probably come back up," Breaux said.
Mosquito control agencies are treating problem areas by ground and by air. They are asking people to help prevent mosquitoes from breeding near their homes too.
If you have a swimming pool, fountain, hot tub, or any other water source, clean it out and have it functioning if you can. If you can't due to being out of town or loss of power, contact your local mosquito control agency so they can treat it to prevent mosquitoes from making a home there.
Also, dump out any containers, buckets, or cups that may be sitting outside with rain water.
"Once a week, take a few minutes and walk around your yard and turn over those containers that may be holding water," Claudia Riegel, Director of the City of New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board, said.
Orleans Parish residents who need treatment at their pool or other water source that could create a mosquito breeding ground should call 311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Tammany Parish residents needing assistance can contact the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement office at (985) 643-5050.