Temperatures are rising, spring is in the air and perhaps, mosquitoes are too.
Recent rains and flooding just a few weeks ago may lead to an increase in the number of the flying nuisances. Residents may have cause for additional concern this year, as the first case of the Zika virus in Kentucky was reported in March.
An infectious disease spread mainly by the blood-sucking insect’s bite, Zika usually manifests as a mild illness in most people. However, the condition is not so mild in the cases of pregnant women, whose children can suffer from microcephaly and other birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Thus far, no Zika cases have been reported in the Pennyrile Region, and local officials have yet to begin spraying to combat mosquito levels, largely due to the low level of citizens’ complaints.
Hopkinsville Public Works Director Mike Perry said the city’s spraying for mosquitoes is warranted by complaints, and as of Tuesday, they had received two calls.
After a call comes in, Perry explained, the department will send out McGee Pest Control to respond.
“They fog the whole area. And in the past, if you have standing water in the backyard or are close to a river, they’ll actually go back there and spray that too,” he said.
Should residents begin to notice an abundance of the pests in their area, they can call the department of public works at 270-890-0600 or report it on the city’s website, www.hopkinsvilleky.us.
As for how the number of complaints so far this year compares to the same time last year, Perry said it’s about the same.
“It’s hard to judge because every season is different,” he said. “We only had a few complaints at the beginning of (last) year up until about May 1.”
However, Perry expects that could change in the coming months.
“Once you start getting into June and July, you get more complaints because your temperature is rising and your mosquitoes are really starting to breed at that time,” said Perry.
He added there are things residents can do to help reduce the number of mosquitoes.
“I encourage people to make sure they don’t have anything laying outside that holds water in your yard like old tires or buckets. A lot of people don’t realize (it), but you can have just a little bird bath out there that’ll hold mosquitoes if the water isn’t cleaned out on a regular basis.”
Oak Grove City Planner and Public Works Director Misty Cutshall said the city just down the road does not have any plans to spray at this time.
“Traditionally, the City of Oak Grove hasn’t sprayed,” she said. “There have been occasions where the state or the county has sprayed, and that included the area of Oak Grove. But at this time there are no plans.”
Oak Grove residents can contact city hall at 270-439-4646 with any complaints about mosquitoes.
Kerry Fowler, director of Public Works in Cadiz, said the city does intend to spray this year on an “as needed basis” using their own equipment. If and when the need arises, city workers will spray an area from a truck. According to Fowler, the need hasn’t yet arrived.
“It’s still a little early,” said Fowler. “We’ve had no complaints yet.”
Cadiz residents can report mosquito issues to city hall at 270-522-8244.
Todd County Judge-Executive Daryl Greenfield said the state is usually responsible for mosquito spraying in his area.
“Usually, (we) get complaints and then we pass them on to them, and (state crews) set up a time to come and mist for them.”
Greenfield also noted concern over Zika prompted a few residents to call.
“We’ve had a couple calls about it, concerns because of the virus and things,” he said.
Todd County residents may report mosquito issues to the City of Elkton at 270-265-9877.
He added he had spoken with state officials, who he said expected to begin spraying for mosquitoes in a couple weeks.
Reach Jacob Thomas at 270-887-3240 or email@example.com.