- Valdosta, Ga. - May 20, 2012 -
While the City of Valdosta’s aggressive mosquito spraying and larvicide program—coupled with the public’s efforts to eliminate standing water around their home and work properties—have proven successful in reducing mosquito populations in our area, the city urges citizens to fervently continue these collective efforts throughout the season for the health and safety of all citizens.
Several events take place during the warmer spring and summer months we know as the mosquito season. The additional rain provides breeding grounds for new mosquito populations, some mosquito species become more prevalent as seasons change and bird migratory patterns change. Ultimately, disease is always a threat that must be monitored and prevented.
For this reason, the city—along with Lowndes County and the South Health District—has maintained a joint mosquito surveillance program, since 2001. Working with Valdosta State University staff, mosquitoes are collected with strategically located traps throughout the city limits, and then tested. The program is the only one of its type in the region that provides data on vector and virus activity to local, state and national health agencies and helps public officials target control measures in a pro-active and cost effective manner before it becomes a public health problem.
Although few to none of the thousands of mosquitoes collected in these traps will ever test positive for a virus that can be dangerous to humans or animals, the city was notified this week that one mosquito in a trap of thousands collected did indeed test arbovirus positive.
The city has responded with immediate and intensive spraying in the area of the city where the infected mosquito was found, as well as areas of the city indentified as having a larger population of mosquitoes. Since the city can only spray in public areas and on public streets—which constitute less than 1% of the land area of the city—it is important for citizens to play an active role in prevention by removing standing water from around their homes and work places, and other tips listed below:
Dispose of items around your property that collect water—tires, containers, flower pots, etc. Breeding sites are not always obvious and may be areas of standing water in a bird bath or flower pot. However, these sites may be producing hundreds of new mosquitoes each day in your area.
Use larvicide where standing water cannot be removed. Free larvicide tablets are available to city residents at the City of Valdosta Public Works Department, at 1017 Myrtle Street, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito eating fish.
Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor spas, saunas and hot tubs; keep them covered when not in use.
Clean out clogged gutters.
Eliminate weeds, tall grass, as these also become mosquito breeding sites.
Use insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors. The CDC also recommends repellents that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or the chemical Picaridin.
Protect yourself with long pants, long-sleeved shirts and socks when you are outdoors during times that mosquitoes are most active.
Mosquitoes need standing water in which to grow, from egg to larva to pupa and finally to hatch into a full-grown mosquito. Thus, citizens are urged to continue to follow these tips to aid in mosquito control and the health and safety of all.
The city’s Public Works staff will continue to monitor mosquito activity throughout the city limits and maintain its aggressive spraying and larvicide efforts to control the mosquito population. For more information and tips, tune into Metro Valdosta Channel 17, visit the city’s website at www.valdostacity.com, or call the Public Information Office at (229) 259-3548. For information on mosquito born diseases, visit the Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov.