Early Mosquito Season Spurs Bibb County Spraying

9:09 PM, Apr 8, 2012   |    comments
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Bibb county commissioners decided Tuesday to resume the spraying program that targets mosquitoes.

Because of budget constraints, they eliminated the service from this budget year, but county chief administrative officer Steve Layson said the commissioners saw the need to reverse that decision.

"People had called with concerns to staff as well as elected officials," said Layson, "the warmer weather we're having, I think people are experiencing mosquito bites earlier that they normally would than in a typical year so there came concerns. Some of the commissioners also had concerns not only just from phone calls but experience."

Layson said the spraying program costs $15,000 a month and commissioners allocated funds for the last two months of this fiscal year.

"The county is set up in 30 different sectors that we spray in and typically we'd do two a night," he said. "With us starting late, we'll probably have to do more than two a night."

Layson said the spraying should start in May, after the Environmental Protection Agency approves the program.  

He said that may help with people's complaints about the mosquitoes, but Macon biologist Jeff Burne says the main responsibility lies with individual households.

"One of the strategies people can use is to empty any containers they have in their yard of standing water," said Burne. "That alone, if everybody in Macon would do that, that would really cut down on the number of mosquitoes we have in town."

Burne said he has noticed a shift in mosquito season because of the mild winter weather that might increase the chances of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus, and also the eastern equine encephalitis virus.

"I think we're gonna be dealing with about the same numbers," he said, "maybe a little bit more than we're used to having, but I think what's getting people is they're just out a lot earlier."

Burne says the mosquito season lasts until around November.

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