Mild winter has local mosquitoes buzzing
by Lindsay Field
May 05, 2013 12:33 AM | 1722 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Arrow Exterminator’s Service Professional Dave Lofquist exits trees in the back yard of an east Cobb neighborhood Friday afternoon after spraying the plants and yard for adult mosquitoes for a local customer.
Arrow Exterminator’s Service Professional Dave Lofquist exits trees in the back yard of an east Cobb neighborhood Friday afternoon after spraying the plants and yard for adult mosquitoes for a local customer.
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MARIETTA — The mild, wet winter followed by a rainy spring has set the table for a perfect storm of another sort this summer — mosquito breeding.

In many areas, the infestations have already started.

“A mild winter means we don’t see the typical reduction in pest populations,” said Shay Runion, a national pest expert with Arrow Exterminators. “Combine that with wet weather and an early start to the reproduction process, and it’s the perfect recipe for a huge population.”

Eric Gabe, who manages east Cobb’s Arrow service center off Johnson Ferry Road, said mosquitoes are such a problem in this area because of the long summers, short frost seasons, humidity and the amount of rain in winter and spring.

“We also have lots of standing water. … Mosquitoes will lay the eggs in any standing water,” he said.

It typically takes between seven and 10 days for a mosquito to hatch out of the egg phase.

There are ways to reduce the problem and for Gabe and his company, it’s about treating a homeowner’s yard — something they’ve been doing at Arrow for about eight years.

“It can drastically reduce the mosquito population around the home, so that you can enjoy your backyard,” he said. “They are a nuisance and also disease-carrying insects, so treatment can help protect the public.”

His business will come out to a home, inspect it for low-lying areas where water might stand and mosquitoes breed, and apply small droplets of a mosquito preventative to specific areas around the yard.

“We get the application around the perimeter, and it usually takes about 30 minutes to dry,” he said. “We do small droplets to better manage where it goes. The quicker it dries, the more effective it is, and there is no runoff, so it is environmentally better.”

Gabe said the treatment, which they recommend using between March and October, lasts between 28 and 30 days, and the price varies based on the size of the yard.

“It’s one of our fastest growing services because it’s a repeat business and is so effective,” he said. “You can see such a big result after one or two days of us being there.”

Suze Jones, who lives in east Cobb off Paper Mill Road, said she gets her yard treated for mosquitoes every year.

“My husband is an avid gardener, and he especially gets eaten alive, to where he has welts on his hands, so we absolutely love the mosquito treatment,” she said.

They spend lots of time outside in their garden and often play host to parties, so the treatment has become a life saver at times.

“We always make sure we do it right before we have people over,” she said.

Jones said they’ve been lucky enough to see results typically within a day, but she and her husband are cautious to make sure they don’t have standing water around their home.

“It’s a huge difference between having the treatment and being able to enjoy the outside,” she said.

Other ways to control mosquito population

If you aren’t able to get your yard treated, Cobb & Douglas Public Health recommends using multiple other ways to prevent mosquito infestations.

• Try using an insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient;

• Wear long sleeves and pants when mosquitoes are most active at dusk or dawn or consider staying indoors at these times;

• Put screens on windows or doors to keep insects out and empty out any areas around the home that hold water. A crevice as small as a bottle cap can hold enough water to nurture mosquito eggs.

“Last year the nation experienced the highest rate of West Nile virus since 2003, and we do not yet know how bad it will be this year,” said Rachel Franklin, and epidemiologist with Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

“It is imperative, as we are coming into mosquito season again, that persons please take a few moments to protect themselves and their family’s health by preventing exposure to mosquito bites.”

If you are bitten by a mosquito and need to relieve the itch or reduce the risk of infection, wash the area with soap and water, apply calamine lotion or anti-itch cream, put an ice pack on the bite or try taking an over-the-counter antihistamine
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