Mosquito Control Working to Prevent West Nile Virus

The state department of health wants to make sure people are taking the proper steps to protect themselves from mosquitos, which could spread the West Nile Virus.

Five people in Mississippi have already contracted the virus, including one in Jackson County. Another case is suspected in Pearl River County, but hasn't been confirmed.

At about six o'clock each weekday, mosquito control techs prepare for a long night of spraying.

"We'll come in and spray from I-110, to this entire area," Mosquito Control  Supervisor Jerry Sykes said.

Sykes is a foreman who supervises the group.  Skyes works behind the wheel.

Spraying takes place during the evening and at night hours because that's when mosquitos are at their worst and people are inside. Sykes controls the spraying machine from a panel on the front seat. Safety is first and foremost while on the job.

"Well what you have to do is stay at fifteen miles an hour, and while you are spraying you have to make sure that there isn't anybody on the street," Sykes said.

Mosquito control is responsible for every city in the county. Sykes says one dose can easy kill 80% of living mosquitos in a concentrated area. He adds that we haven't had any cases of the west Nile virus in Harrision county because he and his team are working hard.

The chemical that comes out of the back of this truck is called Scourge. It's a contact chemical, which lands on the mosquitos and kills them.

"It's strictly contact, once it hits them, it takes on drop, it takes a few minutes to kill them, but it will kill them," Sykes said.

Although it's deadly for mosquitos it will not harm wildlife or birds when used at proper rates.

"You can spray this around honey bees. It's the only chemical on the market today to spray on honey bees. Safe around honey bees, safe around anything. They're the easiest insect to kill," Sykes said.

You can help keep mosquitos from breeding by getting rid of any standing water around your home, and try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Health officials say if you've been bitten and have flu like symptoms, such as a headache or rash, go see your doctor and ask to be tested for the West Nile Virus.