EBR Mosquito Abatement tests positive sample of mosquitoes carrying West Nile

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With rain expected over the next few days, something to keep in mind is the standing water that attracts mosquitoes.

East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control has been actively working to fight off the bugs. Officials said just in the last week, their office has received five times the number of calls it usually gets. They said it's due to the frequent rain events passing through the Capital region lately.

Mosquitoes take anywhere from four to 14 days to hatch off from an egg and turn into an adult mosquito. Randy Vaeth, assistant director of EBR Mosquito Abatement, explained there are about 47 different species of mosquitoes in the parish.

The two prevalent species showing up around here lately are the Flood Water and the Asian Tiger mosquitoes. Flood water mosquitoes are the result of rain and flooded areas. Asian Tiger mosquitoes breed in small containers like a bird bath or discarded beverage cans. Hundreds of those mosquitoes can breed at a time.

Recently, the agency has also collected samples of another species.

"For the third time this year we've actually collected some samples of Southern House mosquito," said Vaeth. "That's the one we're most concerned with, with regard the transmission of West Nile Virus. The third sample this year is from the Rose Lawn Cemetery, there in the center of town, that has tested positive for West Nile. Typically this time of year is when we see mosquitoes test positive. We even start to see human cases generally toward the end of June."

That's why EBR Mosquito Abatement is ramping up its efforts to apply chemical treatment in that area. It's also important to treat the area around your home, especially if you have dogs.

"The dog situation is important too because the Southern House mosquito that carries West Nile also carries the dog heartworm. It's very important to contact your veterinarian. Make sure your dog is on some preventive treatment because if you don't take care of it about 100 percent of the dogs will get heartworm if they're not treated because of the prevalence of that mosquito here in South Louisiana," Vaeth explained.

Some other preventative measures you can take to avoid getting bit by a mosquito:

  • wear repellent that has at least 25 percent DEET, or alternatives like IR3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • try to avoid going out during the early mornings and evenings because that's when mosquito activity is the greatest
  • when going outside, wear long sleeves and long pants

If you live in East Baton Rouge Parish and you want your yard treated, call the Mosquito Abatement Center at 356-3297. If you call before 1:30 p.m., crews can usually treat your property the next business day.

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