No Mo’Skeeters: Brookhaven contracts VDCI to combat the blood sucking pests

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2022

BROOKHAVEN — Mosquitoes are only one of several pests you will encounter in Mississippi’s summer. The blood suckers are a potential health risk and are an annoying bite.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Mosquitoes develop from an egg, larva, puppa and finally become an adult. A mosquito’s life cycle can last anywhere from four days to a month. People can control the blood sucking pests by killing them before they develop from a larva and once they reach the adult stage. 

Brookhaven Public Works Director Keith Lewis said the city contracts Vector Disease Control International for mosquito control. Scott Williams of VDCI’s Brookhaven Office oversees this war on skeeters. 

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His crew utilize trucks, sprays, planes and drones to target mosquitos. They work from April to November, he said. Trucks will go out and spray usually once a week depending on the weather, he said. 

“In the afternoon if it is too hot to spray from the sun beating on the asphalt, we have to wait until later in the evening,” Williams said. “Temperatures have to come down for the spray to be effective.” 

Drones are used to target big areas unreachable by workers on the ground or by trucks such as a swamp. VDCI’s drone has been used in Brookhaven once for a demo, he said.  Planes are used on occasion but the weather conditions have to be right. Williams said they plan to spray July 1, 2022 before the Fourth of July celebrations so people aren’t bit while grilling. 

Adult mosquitoes are killed by adulticides sprayed in the air. Larvae develop in standing water and have to be targeted by larvicides. These pesticides are a low concentration of permethrin based chemicals. This year, he is using Permanone to spray. 

“At our concentration, it is an extremely low concentration of pesticide. There is no danger to animals,” Williams said. “Honey Bees are at a low risk of being harmed. If you have honey bees let us know.”

He said one way they determine where to spray larvicide is by looking for stagnant water and using a larva scoop to determine how many larva are in the water. Wrigglers will stand out against the white background of these scoops, and while they are small, are visible to the naked eye. 

The general public can help fight mosquitoes by removing standing water in tires, ditches, toys and any other places that hold water. 

Another way VDCI combats mosquitoes is through mosquito traps. These traps have stagnant water as bait and when the mosquitoes get in they either die or are unable to fly out. 

Mosquitoes who are alive in the trap are taken to the VDCI shop and frozen for three or four hours. Williams said he will take samples of mosquitoes and send them to the Mississippi Department of Health for testing. 

“They are tested there for West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” he said.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, two cases of West Nile Virus have been detected in the state in 2022. 

Currently, VDCI is not contracted to work with Lincoln County but Williams said they would like to work out with the county. He said anyone who has concerns, questions or needs help with a mosquito problem should contact his office at 800-413-4445.