A little information about blood suckers

  • Published
  • By Ashanti White
  • 78th Medical Group
Spring is officially here and with it brings one of the biggest offenders known to man ... mosquitoes.

Many of the mosquito species are just nuisances and don't bite. The three main categories in Middle Georgia are Anopheles, Culex, and Aedus - sadly are all biters.

A fact about mosquitoes is that the female is the only one which bites, and without blood her eggs can't be fertilized. With cases of West Nile Virus increasing each year in Georgia - 13 in 2010, 22 in 2011, and 78 in 2012 - everyone should take precautions to minimize their exposure to mosquitoes.

Ways to minimize exposure are to unclog gutters, dispose of old tires in the yard and to empty outdoor flower pots regularly. Standing water creates a breeding ground for mosquitoes and should be eradicated if possible.

Between early evening and morning hours is when mosquitoes are mainly out, so be mindful of dress and where you choose to exercise outdoors. Long sleeved shirts, socks, long pants tucked into the socks, light colors, and wide-brimmed hats to protect the ears and neck are some examples of protective dress.

DEET is a repellent that can be used and is highly recommended.

From spring to fall, the base Public Health Flight sets mosquito traps at designated locations across the base. They count and identify the number of insects present to determine if spraying is needed in the immediate area.

Fogging is only done when there are 25 or more mosquitoes in the traps; any use of chemicals should be the last resort.

Although these little blood suckers can be annoying, they're vital to the environment as they aid in waste elimination, plant growth, and are a food source for fish and other aquatic animals.