Crews control mosquitoes after inclement weather impacts Chatham County

This photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) shows a feeding female Anopheles stephensi mosquito crouching forward and downward on her forelegs on a human skin surface, in the process of obtaining its blood meal through its sharp, needle-like labrum, which it had inserted into its human host. California researchers hatch malaria-resistant mosquitoes and use a groundbreaking technology to ensure the insects pass on the protective gene as they reproduce. It has implications far beyond fighting malaria. (James Gathany/CDC via AP)

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Whether it’s by air or on the ground, Chatham County Mosquito Control is on a mission to eliminate most of the mosquitoes.

They’re also tracking specific ones to stop them from possibly spreading viruses.

“Pretty much we know where all the breeding sites are and we usually can hit them before they become adults,” Jeff Heusel, the director at Chatham County Mosquito Control, said.

This effort is to lower the chance of a virus invading our area. They monitor for three different types of viruses in the Coastal Empire including west nile, zika and chikungunya.

“We have a number of mosquito traps out that we monitor the mosquito populations and we also test the mosquitoes with the presence of a virus,” Heusel said.

The last virus in Chatham County was the eastern equine encephalitis this past year and three years ago the west nile virus.

Experts said there is a slim chance of those returning and they want to take the right precautions.

“The chances of those getting into this county are probably not that great, but we do have a mosquito here that has a capability or transmitting it,” Heusel said.

Right now, they’re focused on what they call nuisance mosquitoes.

“They’ll check different areas to see where we have either larva mosquitoes breeding or the adults,” Heusel said.

And with recent rain totals mosquito control is working diligently so you aren’t affected.

“When we have rainfall we know when it happens,” Heusel said. “We know we’ve got a window of opportunity in which to treat. Normally during the summer like this you’re talking about 7 to 10 days in which to find the larvae and treat them before they become adults.”

And when it doesn’t rain they’re still monitoring the insects whether they’re trapping them for a disease or not.

“We have indications in our traps that we put out that if we’ve got a high population of mosquitoes in one area we’ll go ahead and start spraying,” Heusel said.

Chatham County Mosquito Control sprays on an “as-needed” basis, but officials said they rely on you to notify them if there’s a major mosquito problem in your neighborhood by calling (912) 790-2540.

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