Expect rise in mosquito population
April showers may bring May flowers, but May showers bring June mosquitoes.
That was the warning Glenn Stokes, owner and CEO of Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc., gave member of the Acadia Parish Police Jury during committee meetings Tuesday night.
Though the Mosquito Control Committee lacked a quorum — Jimmie Pellerin and A.J. Credeur were absent — Stokes was asked to report on the ongoing spray program in the parish.
“We are at the lowest population of mosquitoes for this time of year probably in the recorded history of Acadia Parish,” Stokes said. “But that’s about to change.”
Stokes explained that the record rainfall of the last two weeks will provide the water sources necessary for the population to increase.
“Expect the mosquito larvae to mature in about 7 to 10 days,” he said.
Stokes credited the police jury for the reduction in numbers of the pests.
“Two years ago the police jury directed us to increase surveillance and spraying,” he said. “The last several Mosquito Control Committees have directed us to aggressively reduce mosquito populations, which we are doing, as reflected in the totals.”
Stokes explained that the mosquito population is based upon the number of mosquitoes captured at light traps strategically placed throughout the parish.
In May 2011, a total of 10 light traps captured an estimated 6,173 mosquitoes. That number dropped to 6,113 in 2012 and to 1,184 last year, he said.
However, this year, with double the number of light traps, only 349 mosquitoes captured in May.
“We had the lowest number of spray requests for May from the public,” Stokes said. “Accordingly, even though the parish had us add three more spray trucks (for a total of 10), this year only 137.7 hours were sprayed. This compared to 152.6 spray hours in May 2011; 254.2 spray hours in May 2012; and 214.4 spray hours in May 2013.”
Also, Stokes added, there has thus far been no positive West Nile virus indicators reported in the parish.
“We have all surveillance techniques in full effect — light traps, gravid traps, egg traps and landing rates — and sentinel chickens were deployed last week,” he said, adding that the chickens were tested Monday and he expects to have the results in hand from the LSU Veterinary School by Friday.
In closing, Stokes reminded jurors that mosquito populations are weather driven.
“But, whatever the future weather patterns thrown at us, we are prepared to deal with it,” he said. “We have plenty of trucks — and backups if needed — and we are prepared to aerial spray if necessary.”