Mosquitoes Swarm Knox County; So Far No West Nile

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - Early mornings keep you busy on the roadways, but health experts say it's also one of most active times for mosquitoes and the Knox County Health Department says the blood-hungry bugs have increased ten fold in recent weeks.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has more on why.

Remember all that rain we kept asking for to help with the drought? Well, it came, at least a few storms, and they bought puddles of water. Exactly what mosquitoes need to breed.

Keep moving and you don't see them, But stop for just a second...

"There's one right in front of my face!" local resident Kirill Yekovlev said.

And the mosquitoes will getcha.

"Oh there's one!" local resident Jenny Sinclair said.

Jenny Sinclair and her husband just finished their two mile run in Sequoya Hills Park.

"I think mosquitoes are usually worse in the Spring. They're really terrible around here," Sinclair said.

But thanks to this spring's drought..

"Without water for them to breed and reproduce there's just not been a lot," said Ronnie Nease from the Knox County Health Department.

Until now.

"Our traps have indicated there's a tremendous rise in the number of adult mosquitoes," Nease said.

For the last four weeks, the Knox County Health Department has trapped around 30 of these guys a day. Now...

"Up to 300 mosquitoes in one night, 24 hours," Nease said.

That's a ten-fold increase. Thanks to the recent summer thunderstorms.

So far East Tennessee's been West Nile free. But...

"There's been some West Nile in West Tennessee and scattered through the state," Nease said.

The health department's sprayed for the bugs, and added larvicide to standing water. That's the breeding ground for mosquitoes.

If you're out for a run, or walking the dog, experts say the best way to protect yourself is with a can of bug repellent, but with so many choices, how do you know which spray is best for you?

"A lot of it would have to do with the preference you have, what your doctor would tell you," Nease said.

And when it comes to keeping your kids bite free.

"Definitely check with your pediatrician for the kind and the strength to use on them," Nease said.

Sinclair hopes next week's run will also end with no bites. Because battling the heat's hard enough.

About one in five people infected with West Nile get sick. Severe symptoms include neck stiffness, disorientation, and paralysis.

To keep the mosquitoes out of your yard,c heck for standing water in wheel barrels, kids toys, and flower pots. If water stays in those areas for around a week, you've got the perfect breeding place for mosquitoes.


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  • by truthseeker Location: knoxville on Aug 15, 2007 at 12:40 AM
    Instead of playing their little counting games and waiting on a case of West Nile to appear why is the city and county not doing something to eradicate the swarm of mosquitoes that seem to be everywhere? We are ate up with the varmints in West Hills and a call to the Health Dept. gets no results when a request is made for them to spray the neighborhood. There is always an excuse of some sort as to why it hasn't been done or can't be done. They always infer that you have standing water in your yard that is providing a breeding ground for the bugs. There is no standing water in our yard, can't say the same for the neighbors or the standing water in the detention ponds and clogged drainage ditches that the city and county building ordinances require of developers. I just know that everytime I step outside I am under attack by the critters. I would think that we pay enough taxes that something could be done before there is a case of West Nile virus

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