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City asking for public aid in mosquito population control

Big problems can often come in small packages, and conditions are almost ripe for one of the biggest perennial pests in the Camellia City.

With summer on the horizon, the City of Greenville is asking for the public’s help to combat the mosquito population.

Though Captain Danny Bond with the Greenville Police Department said that the city is doing all it can to control the inevitable mosquito problem, it would take more than any one agency for such a daunting task.

“The city does spray as often as it can, but that spray is absolutely expensive,” Bond said. “The city is going to do all they can to help curb the mosquito population, but we’re asking the public to help.

“We’re starting with residents first by making them aware of what they may have around their home that would benefit the breeding of mosquitoes. It could be a hubcap that holds water, gutters inside the house, old tires and even a birdbath.  We’re just trying to be proactive about it.”

The city’s effort also extends to working alongside businesses, particularly those who deal in tires, to aid in the proper disposal of tires to curb the population.

Mosquitoes are well-known nuisances but, according to the latest data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, the threat that mosquitoes present could veer into deadly territory.

The increase of global travel has made once-rare mosquito-borne diseases much more common in the United States, such as Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and others.

Between the start of the new year and April 5, 58 investigations into Zika Virus incidents have yielded three actual cases.  Two additional investigations into West Nile Virus have also been conducted in Alabama.

Bond said that the biggest concern was that many residents are inadvertently raising mosquitoes in their own yard, thanks to improper disposal of unused water containers such as old buckets, cans, bottles or jars.

Leaky pipes and faucets, as well as clogged drains and gutters, also prove breeding grounds for the insects.

“Anything that holds water—even a bottle cap or a Gatorade cap has the potential to raise hundreds and hundreds of mosquitoes,” Bond said.  “So oftentimes it’s the little things that we don’t think about that create the largest problems.”

A city ordinance remains in effect that deems it “unlawful to have, keep, maintain, cause or permit, within the city any collection of standing or flowing water in which mosquitoes breed or are likely to breed, unless such collection of water is treated so as to effectively prevent such breeding.”

The items covered in the ordinance include ditches, pools, ponds, fountains, cisterns, barrels, buckets, defective roof gutters and other similar containers.

There are a number of preventative measures, however, such as turning wheelbarrows, tubs, children’s wading pools and boats upside-down or storing them under cover when not in use.

Additionally, keep weeds, vines and grass trimmed, since mosquitoes use shady areas as resting places during hot daylight hours.

It is also suggested to fill tree holes with sand or mortar to prevent the collection of water in them, and changing water in vases and pots holding flowers or cuttings twice a week.