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City, county work to combat Victoria's mosquito problem

By ALLISON MILES
Sept. 13, 2010 at 4:13 a.m.

The Victoria County Health Department is spraying the mosquito larvae in water and ditches. Although the recent rains were a welcome relief from the usual hot summer days, swarms of mosquitoes have residents literally running to and from their homes and cars to avoid the pesky insects.

Want to do your part to get rid of mosquitoes? Dump standing water in potted plants, buckets and other containers.

If you have a bird bath, change the water every other day to avoid providing a mosquito breeding area.

Keep the lawn mowed.

Consider purchasing a yard fogger.

Use mosquito repellents with DEET to ward off bites and, if outdoors, consider burning citronella candles.

Sources: Doug Cochran, director of Parks and Recreation and Cindy Shilinga, mosquito control supervisor for the Victoria County Health Department.

Masses of mosquitoes cut Jessica Crofutt's trip to Riverside Park short.

"It's outrageous," the Dublin resident said as her friends piled into her car. "I hit a swarm of them yesterday and they just covered the windshield of my car."

Recent rains brought mosquitoes out in buzzing, biting throngs, but the city and county are trying to help.

The area entities knew the insect problem was coming and planned ahead, said Doug Cochran, director of Parks and Recreation.

The city began by treating areas with chemicals that kill larvae, he said, and on Friday started spraying for adults along bodies of water on city rights of way.

The sprays knock mosquitoes out within 15 minutes, but don't remain in the environment long after, he said, explaining the city will go over areas as regulations allow.

Some areas simply aren't accessible, however, and can't be sprayed. But people are doing what they can, Cochran said.

"It's all over town," he said. "We live here, too, and we don't like mosquitoes any more than anybody else does."

The Victoria County Health Department began spraying larva in water in ditches Friday and, on Sunday, began adult spraying, said Cindy Shilinga, the health department's mosquito control supervisor.

Spraying is actually the least effective way to control mosquitoes, she said, but it helps relieve the problem.

"They're going to pretty much die on their own," she said, adding it could take a week or two. "The life cycle takes its own effect."

More mosquitoes are in Victoria's future, Shilinga said, explaining another hatch will likely take place mid-week.

"It's not over," she said.

Self-proclaimed nature lover Amber Horadam said mosquitoes put a damper on her day Monday. Horadam avoids spray-on repellents because of sensitive skin and, instead, shooed away errant bugs when necessary.

The good news - for her, at least - is mosquitoes tend to favor her boyfriend, Mike Keiffer.

"They pretty much leave me alone," she said.

As for Keiffer, it's uncomfortable when mosquitoes get so bad, but there isn't much people can do about it, he said with a shrug. He opts to wear jeans, socks and shoes to keep the insects from biting.

Of course, there are other ways to take one's mind off of the itching, he said, gesturing toward a can of Bud Light.

"A couple of these and you just don't feel it as much," he said with a chuckle.

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