Rain dampens mosquito spraying routes - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Rain dampens mosquito spraying routes

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Rain is keeping mosquito techs from spraying for the summertime pests. Rain is keeping mosquito techs from spraying for the summertime pests.
FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

If it seems like there are more mosquitoes biting, it's not your imagination.

This month's above-average rains, followed by heat and humidity, are providing ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Recent rainfall is keeping the Florence mosquito tech from doing his job. Jeffrey Perry said this time last year; he was on his second round of fogging the city. This year, he hasn't even finished his first round – and it is all because of the weather.

Perry's job is to help control the mosquito population in Florence. The city is divided into 11 sections that he routinely monitors and fogs. City leaders said they know they can't kill all the mosquitoes, but they can help keep the numbers down.

When the rain stops, you'll find Perry in his city truck, fogging streets and neighborhoods and checking locations with standing water. The chemical treatment is key when it comes to fighting back against the summertime pests.

"Anytime you have a lot of water that's going to stand, there's going to be an increase in mosquitoes," Perry explained. "The only solution is treat the water that's standing still. Running water, you can't treat; they're not going to lay eggs in running water. In yards that are muddy, that's going to be a big problem."

A big problem facing sprayers this mosquito season is a new mosquito-transmitted illness called Chikungunya. Officials said the fever started in the Caribbean, and several cases have been reported among people who traveled there.

No cases of Chikungunya have been reported in Alabama, but health officials have seen cases in Tennessee, Indiana, Nebraska and Florida.

Officials said the illness has become widespread in the Caribbean. Travelers who have contacted the disease have symptoms including fever, joint and muscle pain, rash and joint swelling. 39 cases have been confirmed in this country so far.

Perry recommends homeowners follow a few simple steps to help keep the chances of mosquitoes breeding on their property low.

"Number one is keep the grass cut as low as possible," he said. "Number two, a lot of people have bird baths; change water in bird baths every 2-3 days. Flower pots... empty them out, turn them upside-down so water doesn't collect. Anything that's in your yard that collects water is where mosquitoes are going to be."

Health officials said dusk and early evening hours are prime time for mosquitoes to bite. They suggest staying inside if you can, or use a repellant with a high concentration of DEET.

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