ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Mosquito control experts want residents to pay attention to wet debris that might be sitting at the curb.
Ascension Parish leaders said the mosquito population in the parish is getting out of control.
The attack on mosquitoes has gone from dusk to dawn to an all-out around the clock battle.
Mosquito control supervisor Shawn Sevario said, on average, he and his men typically inspect and treat 20 to 25 properties a day. Since the flood, he said, that number has jumped to at least 100.
"Sometimes we are working 12, 14 hours a day. We are having more calls now than we ever experienced before," Sevario said.
David Matassa, the director of Ascension Parish Mosquito Control, said he has ordered his crews to spray and treat ditches that are holding water, which since the flood, has meant most of them in the parish.
"Mosquitoes have eggs to hatch. Mosquitoes are everywhere," Matassa said.
The debris piles are filled with containers that hold water. Something as simple as Styrofoam or a garbage bag can hold water and become prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Experts said they are having a hard time getting to them.
"I see containers here holding water. There's a ditch next to it holding water. So this is all in one area and that's just one pile in one subdivision is going through the same problem," Sevario said.
With the help of a Tulane University specialist, the parish was able to trap and test mosquitoes for the Zika virus. While those results were negative, Matassa said the parish is getting ready to fight mosquitoes that could elevate health risks.
"The criteria would be extra spraying if we have to. We have contracts with aviation, which we spray in the air, and use a special product to eliminate that species the best we can," Matassa said.
The longer the flood debris sits at the curb, the tougher it gets. That is why parish leaders are urging residents to remove standing water as often as possible and call on them if they feel the mosquitoes have gotten out of hand.
If you live in Ascension Parish and want your property sprayed, call 621-9613.
The parish recently got a grant to drop minnows in area ditches to help eliminate mosquitoes. However, that program has been put on hold because the staging area for the project was flooded.