They can make the outdoors miserable in the summer and are virtually impossible to escape. And it's now that time of year again when we enter mosquito season here in Acadiana. But will this year's mosquito season be worse than last year?
It's possible according to Glenn Stokes, who runs Mosquito Control Contractors, Inc.
"When the French came to Louisiana, the Jesuit priest said that mosquitos were one of the worst things in the new world," said Stokes.
And today, they're known as one of the most annoying insects humans can encounter. With over 150 species, the war on the blood-sucking mosquito is far from over. Stokes, the mosquito expert, says the local mosquito count is down 36% from this time last year, however, breeding could just be delayed.
"It's just weather related and rainfall. We've had a heck of a lot of rainfall and the cool temperatures are the only thing keeping them down," said Stokes.
Stokes says one of the most important things people can do, is eliminate standing water, which is a mosquito's breeding ground. And while escaping the skin-welting itch is no easy feat, Stokes says it's helpful to remember the "5 D's": drainage, Deet, dusk, dawn, and dress.
And mosquito control is not cheap. It can cost millions of dollars to treat a certain area, especially if diseases like West Nile are found.
Last year, Lafayette had two confirmed human West Nile cases, but Dallas, Texas saw the most. And this year, Stokes says Dallas may rank number one again, which is causing his company to be extra vigilant in their testing.
"We're ramping up spraying now and watching mosquito numbers," said Stokes. "We're trapping them by various means and sending them to LSU for confirmation."