Expect mosquito numbers to explode in the next week

While the parish is still technically experiencing a drought, some residents may already be getting tired of the near-constant small rainfalls over the past two weeks.

And one thing that will annoy residents even more is an expected hatching of millions of mosquitoes.

Steve Pavlovich with Mosquito Control Services said that the recent downpours are both good and bad news.

Increased rainfall has flushed out containers and ditches that hold stagnant water – a common breeding ground for the type of mosquitoes that usually carry disease. However, the pooling and puddling on the ground makes an excellent breeding ground for another type of mosquito that is much more aggressive.

So far, Pavlovich said he has not seen any significant increases in the parish’s mosquito population but he expects to see the numbers jump in about a week.

“They’re not to the numbers that would be a significant problem (now), but it’s been hard to get the trucks out to do spraying because of evening rains – we’re dodging the raindrops,” Pavlovich said. “The numbers are not terrible, but they have creeped up in a few areas. In other areas there is no difference yet but we do anticipate that over the next week the numbers will pop off.”

The areas that have had an increase in mosquito population this month are Boutte, Mimosa Park, Willowdale, north Ormond and a very small increase in Hahnville.

Pavlovich urges residents to police their yards and property after significant rainfall and to dump or flush out any containers or ditches that have filled with water.

“Anything that holds water can possibly be a mosquito breeding site,” he said.

Rene Schmit, LSU AgCenter County Agent, said that the rain has been good for area landscapes but the parish still is not getting as much rain as usual for late July.

“Even though the rains are occurring on a regular basis, a couple of inches here and there…we’re still below what our average would be for this time of year in terms of total soil moisture,” Schmit said.

Crops are already flourishing with the added water in the soil, but farmers are not out of the woods yet – near constant drizzles and rain storms are keeping them from their farming.

“The biggest problem we’re seeing with the rains returning…is that it’s beginning to restrict farmers’ ability to get into the field on a regular basis,” Schmit said. “But at the same time, crops are receiving much needed benefits from the moisture.”

He said that sugarcane is one example of a crop that was suffering from the drought conditions.

“Even though (the sugarcane) maintained its dark green canopy, the barrel size and height were well below what it should be at this time of year – that’s a result of the extreme dry period we’ve been experiencing,” Schmit said.

And even though the rainfall is below average for July, Schmit said that less water on the ground may not be a bad thing for plants because it will keep them from getting overly saturated.

For months Schmit has been looking forward to the area’s “monsoon season” in July and he is glad to see some relief to the dry conditions earlier this year.

“It’s a welcome relief and if people seem to be irritated with the rains we’re having, just think back a few months ago at how dry it was and how costly the water bills were to try to keep your plants and lawn healthy,” Schmit said.


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