Mosquito problem not going away

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

Officials say spraying has increased, but conditions have made situation worse


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – The mosquito problem in St. John Parish is the worst it has ever been, some residents are complaining, but Mosquito Control Inc. is hoping their additional spraying coupled with the approaching cooler weather will alleviate the problem.

Although the mosquitoes are still heavy at a time of year when they are normally not there is some good news to take away from the situation, according to Wayne Machado, general manager of the parish hired firm Mosquito Inc. Machado said that tests conducted on mosquito and blood samples over the last month have shown no signs of encephalitis or the dreaded West Nile virus.

The sign of no disease in samples collected is encouraging, Machado said, but his company is still dealing with a vast number of salt water marsh mosquitoes who’s numbers haven’t seemed to dwindle at all, according to District 6 Councilman Ronnie Smith.

Smith brought the subject to the attention of the council at the September 26 meeting that Machado also attended in an effort to explain why the mosquitoes have been so bothersome this year compared to previous years.

Machado said the latest outbreak can be attributed to heavy rains over the past couple weeks, but his workers have been spraying some of the more densely populated areas as they receive the complaints, even having trucks spray during daytime hours, something Mosquito Inc. normally does not do.

&#8220This is a problem that’s not just rooted in St. John Parish,” Machado said. &#8220It’s happening in Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Jefferson parishes. Anywhere there is salt marsh, there is going to be a problem with mosquitoes.”

Machado said that hasn’t stopped Mosquito Inc. from increasing the amount of spraying done, but treatment can only do so much, regardless of how frequently it is done, and the lack of cold weather this season only serves to hinder the problem.

Smith said the mosquitoes are out in such force in his neighborhood in LaPlace that swarms gather outside his front door at night.

&#8220It’s not that they (Mosquito Control) haven’t been spraying, it’s just a bad situation,” Smith said. &#8220I’ve never seen this many mosquitoes.”

Smith said he noticed the mosquitoes have been appearing from the grass, and recalled a recent situation outside his home in which his daughter and other students were waiting for their school bus in the grass outside his home and he had to actually move the kids to the sidewalk because such a large group of mosquitoes were forming near them.

Councilman at Large Cleveland Farlough empathizes with Smith, saying constituents in his district are also calling daily about the pesky critters, prompting him to set up time with Machado so the two can speak about the situation and what, if anything can be done.

&#8220You walk outside around here and those mosquitoes will tear you up,” Farlough said. &#8220It’s a bad situation. As bad as I’ve ever seen it.”