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Mosquitoes putting bite on Virgilina area

“You wouldn’t believe how we are living out here,” Virgilina Resident Doris Carter said referring to the mosquitoes that have plagued her property and surrounding areas.

“It’s no way you can put it all in words, what it looks like. It’s not fair to me or my neighbors that we have to live like this.”

For years, Carter, who resides on Buckshoal Road, said she has had problems with mosquitoes and this spring things have gotten worse.

Carter said the mosquitoes started to appear this year around April.

The mosquitoes have made it’s harder for her and her neighbors to engage in daily living activities like going to the mailbox, fishing at their pond, mowing the lawn, sitting on the front porch and cooking on the grill.

“It breaks my heart that my grandson doesn’t come and fish at this pond, but he can’t because the mosquitoes will eat him up,” Carter said.

Carter said her husband used to enjoy mowing his lawn, but now he says the job is miserable because of the mosquitoes.

She said he tends to get bitten four to six times a day, but she doesn’t get bitten as many times as he does because she doesn’t go outside as much.

Going to the car is even a hassle Carter said.

“You can’t even get in the car with out some getting in with you” Cater said. 

Just the other day she said she killed 15 mosquitoes in the car on her way to town and found seven more that had died in her car overnight. In addition to her car, the mosquitoes also invade her house. Carter said she has had to kill several mosquitoes in her house each day.

The Virgilina resident said she has tried everything to keep the mosquitoes away including using OFF when she goes outside, putting repellants in the pond, lighting candles, installing bug zappers and using an outdoor fogger that’s supposed to kill mosquitoes on contact, and nothing has worked.

There are so many mosquitoes that Carter said she has to empty the bug zapper every day.

Last year, Carter contacted the health department and they came out to assess the area. They admitted that Carter had a problem but said they would be unable to spray because of environmental issues.

She has also been in touch with Lottie Nunn, who is the board supervisor for that area.

“I just want a life and just to be able to go out without worrying about mosquitoes,” Carter said.

County Administrator Jim Halasz paid a visit to Carter’s home Wednesday morning to assess the problem. 

“I’m really happy that Mrs. Carter and some of the other folks called, because we don’t know there is a problem unless people call. If they don’t call there’s nothing we can do. We can at least start exploring some of our options now,” Halasz said.

He said because of the changes in environmental health laws there is a process they have to go through before any widespread spraying for the mosquitoes could be done.

He told the Carters that because these mosquitoes only live for a few months in order to spray they would have to go through a series of public hearings and get permits along with other measures. He said the mosquitoes would probably be dead before they could even get the spray on the ground because the process takes so long. Because spraying can cause health complications for people with breathing problems and kill other beneficial insects they have to weigh the affects of the spray on the environment.

Halasz said there have been a number of complaints for mosquitoes, and the health department as well as Nunn have also received a few complaints. He said the complaints are mainly coming from people living in the Southeastern portion of the county in the Aarons Creek, Virgilina and Hyco areas where the Hyco River, the Dan River and other rivers come together and form Bugg’s Island Lake.

The county administrator said the county is taking steps to find out what can be done about the mosquitoes.

“I spoke with the biologist from the army corps of engineers at Bugg’s Island Lake /Kerr Reservoir, I spoke with the public health entomologist in Richmond and of course with our local health department,” Halasz said.

When asked what was the cause of the mosquito invasion Halasz said, “The flood water hatch is a particular type of mosquito species and this mosquito species is a species that lays eggs on dry ground in low areas near rivers. The eggs will not hatch unless they’re immersed in water and they will stay for several years,” Halasz said.  “So if you have dry conditions for several years and those eggs that are laid just stay under the leaves and the dirt and then all of sudden two to three years later you get a flood half way in April or May, and you haven’t had any high water recently, all of those eggs that have accumulated for several years all hatch out.”

He said this species of mosquitoes will fly four to five miles looking for food, so spraying one’s yard may not be beneficial. 

Halasz said by the end of June or early July this species usually dies off, but other species are sill left behind.