GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - While there may be a hard freeze, the mosquitoes are alive and well. And that means the work never ends for Harrison County Mosquito Control.
"They're still laying eggs," said director Gene Fayard. "The only difference is during the winter, they don't bite."
But bump up the temperature just a little, and look out.
"Dead winter - middle of winter, here in South Mississippi - if it's above 50 degrees, then you'll have a mosquito problem," Fayard said. "You'll get bit."
Right now, officials are doing their homework indoors with experimentation and observation. In the field, crews are literally dipping into the water to find larvae or pupae. When they find the critters, they spray a growth regulator.
Officials said that even during the cold winter months, it's important to keep old tires dry. If they're filled with water, it makes the perfect breeding spot for the mosquitoes most likely to carry Zika and West Nile. So, the tires get a healthy dose of chemical, as well.
And it leads to an early warning from Fayard to check now for mosquito havens, not later.
"Let's still check our property," he said. "Dump out buckets of water. Pick up tires anything that holds water. We need to tip them over because they'll still lay eggs as soon as temperatures get right."
Fayard said he is expecting a greater than normal mosquito population this spring.
"Lot of the rain, that's what effects the mosquito population most - wet times, wet areas, lots of flooding."
Traditional fogging will begin sometime in April.