Mosquito Population On The Increase
Wednesday marked the first full day of summer. Whether your summer plans involve time in the water, in the woods, or your own backyard, they should also involve mosquito repellent. “Of course we have mosquitoes every year, but wet weather encourages mosquito reproduction quite a bit,” said Scott Stewart, an Entomologist at the University of Tennessee Extension. “So anywhere that you have standing water or you’ve had a lot of rainfall, the likelihood of having mosquitoes is higher.” But the concern goes beyond the itchy bumps the bites can leave. Tennessee is the 10th state this year showing positive tests for the West Nile Virus. “West Nile is here in Tennessee,” said UT Extension Regional Director Ben West. “We’ve had it in Tennessee for some time. Some years, it’s worse than others. And this is a year it seems there have been several cases around the state.” However, those cases are only in horses and birds. “Bird populations are really where the West Nile Virus is hosted,” said West. “And so sometimes people will call this time of year when they see dead birds around their yard. And if they do, when they see a dead bird around their yard, they should call their local health department.” But if you want to take a preventative measure, the Health and Sanitation Department in Jackson provides a mosquito larvicide, free of charge. The pellets kill insect larva in standing bodies of water before they hatch. “We have encouraged the public to take their own precautions because there’s not a lot that the city can do, other than to offer the larvicide,” said Jackson Health and Sanitation Department Director Kathleen Huneycutt. In addition to the larvicide, officials encourage residents to use DEET insect repellent, avoid wooded or wet areas around dusk and dawn, and try to eliminate standing water near the home.