Eliminating stagnant water can help reduce mosquitos

By Elizabeth Hill

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Your exposed skin is their restaurant, and they will fly distances of up to 10 miles to partake of the food.

Armed with vinegar and bug spray, residents of the neighborhood west of campus should be prepared to ward off pesky mosquitos. According to Randy Baird of Pima County Community Resources, this is the area with the majority of complaints.

Art history sophomore Kim Hauser said, "I've gotten bitten about 7,000 times." Hauser lives near North Euclid Avenue and East First Street.

Baird is the county's vector control sanitarian. His responsibility is looking for bugs that are conduits of disease transmission.

The eggs of the current swarm were probably laid in flood waters back in January and February, said Carl Olsen, associate curator of entomology. "The eggs stay viable for a long time waiting for a major rain," he said.

Baird said they need to find out why the mosquitoes are still around since the rains are virtually gone. "The biggest problem is finding the source. It could be anything as small as a plant pot to a drainage ditch," he said.

Baird said residents should check their yards and their neighbors' yards for standing water. If residents have a neighbor with an unmaintaned pool, they should call the health department.

He also said any accumulated water not being used should be dumped and the container turned upside down. Water being used must be changed every few days.

Joanne Garro, a communications freshman who lives 20 minutes away from campus, said she has no problems with mosquitoes. Her problems start when she arrives at school.

"I come home from school with bites all over my legs and arms," she said. "I've lived in Tucson for 10 years. I've never seen mosquitoes like this."

According to Olson, the cycle of mosquito life begins when the eggs are laid in flood water. They hatch into a wriggler that feeds and matures. The tissue of the juvenile mosquito then turns into an adult.

"This can happen in as little as five days," Olson said. "Then out comes these wonderful flies which we call mosquitos."

Then the "wonderful flies" mate, feed on humans, and develop eggs. If there is any standing water it is there for mosquito taking, and the cycle starts again.

Olson speculated on other possible causes of the problem like over-watering lawns and garbage accumulation.

Olson said standing water can also be in tree holes and old tires.

To combat the skeeter problem, Hauser said, "I bitch a lot, and use Lanacane."

Olson advised the unusual use of a usual household condiment vinegar. He said it smells but "ya don't itch."

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