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City amps up mosquito control
Breeding identification, source reduction part of Hinesvilles new program
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The city of Hinesville currently is developing a new mosquito control program that will include improved methods of trapping and tracking mosquitoes.

City officials promise the upgraded program will be more effective, adding that Hinesville now is working with the Georgia Department of Public Health to improve its program and is collaborating with Liberty County Mosquito Control for better coverage.

“The old program simply relied on pesticide spray to reduce mosquitoes when female counts became high. The new program will include more breeding identification and source reduction,” Hinesville Public Relations Manager Krystal Britton said. There also will be increased testing for viruses such as West Nile, Britton confirmed.

Although the city and county are teaming up on mosquito control, each government still will conduct independent procedures, according to the public relations manager. Then the city and county will coordinate and share information in an effort to provide more mosquito control coverage, she said.

The new program also will incorporate public education to teach residents to recognize and get rid of mosquito breeding sources on their properties, according to Britton.

Dr. Rosmarie Kelly, an entomologist with the Georgia Department of Health, has been working with the city to switch out New Jersey Light traps for newer CDC traps, in addition to teaching city personnel to identify different mosquito species.

Kenna Graham, a CH2M Hill employee and the city’s licensed pesticide applicator, said Monday that Kelly is showing him the proper way to install the new traps.

Graham added that he has been going out on complaint calls with Liberty County Mosquito Control Director Jack Vereen.

“He has 30 years experience in the field,” he said.

“What benefits the residents is the most important thing,” Vereen said. “Kenna is relatively new to mosquito control. Even though he passed the requirements for the (pesticide application) testing, he really didn’t have a grassroots handle on mosquito control. So he contacted me and I contacted (Liberty County Manager Joey Brown). I said, ‘We really should work with him and get him to do what we’re doing.’”

Vereen and Graham assess residents’ complaints and examine the complaint area to determine where mosquitoes may be breeding, Graham explained.

Hinesville Mosquito Control Program project director Gregg Higgins said that by identifying and eliminating mosquito breeding sources, the city can spray less pesticide. The city bought four new traps, Higgins said.

“With new traps there is some expense,” he said. “But then you don’t have to spray as often. It’s more ‘green.’”

“We purchased the CDC version of the trap. It’s portable so you can move it around at will and we do,” Vereen said.

“The CDC traps use batteries and dry ice or (carbon dioxide) as a mosquito attractant,” Kelly said.

Gravid traps, which are used by the county, draw mosquitoes with “smelly water,” Vereen said.

“Culex mosquitoes are attracted to this,” Vereen said. “The culex mosquitoes get drawn up into the fan of the trap and are captured,” he said. “We come along the next day and identify them. We sort them out and send them out to the lab at the University of Georgia for testing. All of us do this, including Chatham County.”

Vereen stressed that none of the mosquitoes collected in Liberty County have tested positive for encephalitis.

Vereen said the county conducts mosquito control in Gum Branch, Riceboro, Midway, Allenhurst and Walthourville as well as unincorporated Liberty County.

Graham said the city also provides mosquito control services in Flemington.

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