Dec 6, 2012 4:58 PM by Erin Steuber
Mosquitoes are not something you usually think about this time of year, but have recent rain and warm temperatures affected the pest population?
The West Nile outbreak this year was the largest in US history with 5,245 human cases, and 236 deaths. Of those, 382 cases were reported in Louisiana.
In Acadiana, five West Nile cases were reported. Two in Lafayette, one in Iberia Parish and another in St. Martin Parish.
So with the holiday season off to a warm start, will the West Nile Virus, and mosquitoes, continue to cause problems?
Jeremy Breaux of Lafayette brought his daughter to the park on this warm December day, but says despite the time of year, mosquitoes are still presenting a problem.
"We do have issues, and we do take precautions, especially with our little girl" said Breaux. "We put mosquito repellent on her to make sure she doesn't get any mosquito bites, because we surely don't want her to get West Nile."
Experts say the species of mosquito that carries West Nile, is less abundant this time of year. But with recent rain there could be an increase in flood-water mosquitoes, which are stronger fliers, more aggressive and typically bite during the day.
"There would have to be persistence in the warm temperatures," said Herff Jones, Director of Iberia Parish Mosquito Abatement. "We are expecting the same patter that we faced last year, which we had a very mild winter, and we did experience some mosquito activity pretty much throughout the year."
Crews are prepared to spray, but the weather conditions have to be right. Winds must be under 10 miles an hour, and temperatures must be above 50 degrees.
"They operate in warm temperatures. 95 degrees to 55 degrees is there flight activity temperatures, because temperatures of 50 degrees, or lower seriously curtails their flight activity," said Jones.
If you have problems with mosquitoes, contact your parish mosquito control group.