Storm causes increase in mosquitoes

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Heavy rainfall from Hurricane Irene has increased the mosquito population in our area. The state department of health says flooding from the storm has filled places where the insects like to breed.

"If there's a lot of flood water that comes with the hurricane mosquitoes start hatching out from areas flooded," said State Public Health Entomologist, Dr. David Gaines.

To help combat the mosquito increase the state will conduct aerial sprays, starting Tuesday night, in Waverly, Stoney Creek and Wakefield. Areas selected were based on population density and conditions in the wake of the storm.

The pesky bugs have taken a  bite out of  Varina resident, Shawn Gregory.

"I've seen a lot more especially in my yard. Everything is just soak and wet from all the rain  puddles of water everywhere. I guess they been waiting to sprout," said Gregory.

Folks throughout the state are asked to be on alert and to do your part to take the sting out of the problem.

To reduce your chances of being bitten by a mosquito limit your outdoor activity and use repellent if your in a mosquito active area. Also, get rid of standing water from buckets or toys outside of your home. It will reduce your risk of a mosquito bite and disease transmission -- such as west nile virus.

"If you minimize the number of mosquito bites you get, you minimize the probability of being exposed to something," said Gaines.

As for Gregory, he's happy to hear the state is taking action.

"I think that's good they need to do something," he added.

The health department says it offered to conduct aerial sprays in other localities including  Chesterfield County, Henrico County and Richmond but those jurisdictions declined.

The department says the spray is a low volume application of insecticide that's not harmful to humans.

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