Drought shortens mosquito season, trims population

Although the exceptional drought conditions have worked against local farmers and lowered the water tables, they have helped trim the mosquito population, stifling the breeding season this spring.

"Our calls are running lower than normal for this time of year, so I think the drought probably still is having some impact our response or our calls coming into our office," said Larry Cook, the director of Dougherty County Public Works.

Donell Mathis, the environmental control manager at Dougherty County Public Works, said the lack of rainfall helped stave off mosquitoes until later in the season. He said they typically start breeding around April or May, but were unable to because of the unusually dry season.

Despite the drop in mosquitoes, public health officials are urging people to protect themselves with a repellant, preferably with deet. Carolyn Maschke, the Southwest Georgia District Public Health spokesperson, said there are drought-resistant mosquitoes that can breed in little water.

"It just takes a very small of amount of water for these critters to breed, so even if there's just a tiny bit of standing water, that's all it takes for them to breed, and their breeding cycle's very short," she said.

"The drought actually sort of kept them dormant, know that we've begun the rain they begin to hatch out, but not in large numbers," Mathis said.

Public works is continuing to spray every day, an effort to combat the mosquitoes that are feeding and may have the West Nile Virus.

Mosquitoes breed in either April or May and continue feeding until the cold weather kills them off in the fall.