A bad year for mosquitoes; a good year for the rest of us

Bill Nachman - Posted on Aug 18, 2010 - 03:20 PM

Mosquito counts this year have been so low that county crews only sprayed one night during the entire month of July, said Jim Diggs, Gloucester’s mosquito control director. And the paucity of mosquitoes continued into August, with crews spaying just three nights during the first 16 days of this month.

"It’s a great year for us and a bad year for mosquitoes," Diggs said. Crews have been out constantly in the control districts to conduct mosquito counts and inspect traps which have been in use. But most of the time there are not enough mosquitoes to warrant spraying, he said, or the weather—rain and brisk winds—might not allow for spraying from specially-mounted trucks.

In fact, Diggs said crews didn’t begin spraying until early June this year, which is later than usual.

Some of the rainfall this year was heavy, which helped wash away some of the mosquitoes, Diggs said. Also, larvicide placed in ditches has helped cut the mosquito numbers.

"People are doing their part," Diggs said of many property owners who have been helping get rid of standing water where mosquitoes breed. He said many residents are more aware of their role in mosquito control and are emptying water from old tires, pet bowls, bird baths and other places puddles for breeding can collect.

State law requires that mosquito counts justify spraying, Diggs said, so his crews cannot randomly go out to spray.

When mosquito counts warrant—and the weather cooperates—the crews try to spray as many as five nights a week, Diggs said.

Residents in the mosquito control districts pay an ad valorem tax for the service. Mosquito control districts are in Abingdon and York districts east of Route 17 and in these Gloucester Point District subdivisions: Powhatan Chimney, York River Pines, York Shores, Chiskiake Village and Dunlap Woods.