06/14/06 — County already starting mosquito hunt

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County already starting mosquito hunt

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 14, 2006 1:49 PM

Sticky summer days mean mosquitos, and Goldsboro's expert, Ed Cianfarra, says many residents are giving them a place to breed.

So, clean out the back yard birdbath, or you are part of the problem.

"Mosquitos will lay eggs any place there's standing water," he said, adding "junk cars", birdbaths, old tires and puddles are places one might find them.

Cianfarra added residents and the city government have a responsibility to help control the mosquito population. After all, some might carry the West Nile virus.

"I worry about the safety of the kids out there," he said, adding youths are more likely to become seriously ill from the virus than adults. "As adults, our responsibility is to give our children every opportunity."

With that in mind, Cianfarra's team of "mosquito guys" hits every city street more than once a week during the summer months. But the spray only kills the adult mosquitos, he said.

"When we kill the adults, it prevents them from laying more eggs," Cianfarra added.

Still, once a mosquito lays an egg in standing water, that egg can survive for up to five years, he said -- even if the puddle dries up.

"Once those dry spots fill up with rain again, those eggs can hatch," Cianfarra said.

So, the crews attack the eggs before they have a chance to hatch. Each of Goldsboro's inspectors keeps larvacide tablets in the vehicles, Cianfarra said. If they see standing water, they simply pull over and drop one in.

"The tablets deform the eggs," he said. "So, if they do hatch, the mosquitos will be born deformed. They won't be able to fly."

Cianfarra added while these tactics help, they cannot totally eliminate the problem. Those back yard birdbaths, trays filled with water under potted plants, old tires and junk cars are usually on private property -- out of the inspectors' jurisdiction.

Nate Greene said mosquitos swarm behind his house during the summertime and admitted that there is often standing water near his garden.

"I can't grill out or mow the lawn without coming inside covered in bites," he said. "And these are big (mosquitos), not the tiny ones."

Cianfarra said people like Greene might be creating their own problems -- most mosquitos only fly within a quarter mile of where they were born.

It's up to everyone to keep an eye out for standing water and take precautions, he added.

"We're not all part of the problem," he said. "But we can all be a part of the solution."