invisible hit counter
Combatting mosquitoes proves costly for county
Glynn County is ramping up its annual war with mosquitoes, and officials want to make sure they have enough weapons and materials in their war chest.

Public Works Director Becky Rowell told the county commission she needs more money to fight the insects. Of the $299,964 budgeted for the fiscal year through June 30, only $97 remains.

She's asked for about $82,000 more.

The county finance committee approved the request that will go before the full commission for a vote at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Historic Courthouse, 701 G St.

Glynn County Commissioner Dale Provenzano, chairman of the finance committee, says the added amount is expected to last the county until fall.

"We've had a wetter year than we had anticipated, and as a result, our chemical usage is up, and we felt like we needed to get a handle on it," Provenzano said. "That's the one area that we don't want to try to save money on."

Rowell told the committee in a memo the additional cash will purchase 500 gallons of a topical chemical and two tons of an aerial spray that is administered either by truck or helicopter. Just one month's supply of the ground chemical and one application of the spray is left in the county's arsenal.

The biting insects can be a vector for potentially deadly diseases, like West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis.

West Nile claimed six lives in Georgia last year with 78 confirmed cases statewide. Three of those cases, none of which were fatal, were reported in the Coastal Health District, with one in Glynn County and two in Bryan County.

Thirteen West Nile cases were reported in the eight-county district in 2011. Victims included two elderly residents in Fairway Oaks in Glynn County who died from illnesses related to the virus.

County crews have a way to measure how many mosquitoes could be infected with the virus.

Last year, five pools tested positive for West Nile in the county. Pools in south Brunswick, Selden Park on U.S. 341, Fairway Oaks on U.S. 17, Old Jesup Road and Mallery Park on St. Simons Island returned positive results.

Entomologists are predicting a larger mosquito population this year, which will increase the chance of mosquito-transmitted diseases making their way to humans.

"Mosquitoes need water and we've got water," said Nancy Hinkle, professor of entomology at the University of Georgia.

Weather forecasters predict the Golden Isles will exceed the normal amount of rainfall by 8 inches by the end of May. That could make curbing mosquito populations a challenge, said Henry Lewandowski, South Atlantic director of the American Mosquito Control Association.

"If we get a low to moderate amount of rain, we can treat the breeding areas while the mosquitoes are still developing in their aquatic stages, but when we get successive days of rain, that (keeps us) from doing any more than amateur mosquito control," he said.

Health officials recommend people venturing outdoors apply an insect repellent with DEET and empty standing water around homes to prevent breeding.

* Reporter Nikki Wiley writes about government, business and other local topics. Contact her at nwiley@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 321.



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