Moody's entomologists keep mosquitoes off

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Janiqua P. Robinson
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

Spring has arrived, bringing cool breezes on a warm day, cook-outs, picnics, campfires, late sunsets and of course, mosquitoes.

Here in South Georgia, there seems to be an overabundance of these pests and because of that, entomologists from the 23d Civil Engineer Squadron have begun to battle the insects.

Over the years various breeds of mosquitoes have been known carriers of dangerous viruses and, with the emergence of the Zika virus, a pre-emptive approach is necessary to protect ourselves from these transmitters.

“We have aggressive and proactive procedures in place to keep the mosquito population at bay,” said Bryon Kacprzyk, 23d CES pest control supervisor. “We put larvicide in standing water and fog around base with an adulticide that kills adult mosquitoes on contact.”

Moody’s entomologists are responsible for observing, identifying and controlling pests on the base, which can include anything from insects and wildlife to vegetation. When it comes to mosquitoes and reducing their population, it is important to recognize and eliminate conditions that make it possible for mosquitoes to thrive.

“We have to reduce the breeding sources for the mosquitoes,” said Kacprzyk. “Some precautions can include making sure there is no standing water outside houses or facilities.”

Standing water could be collected in storm drains, pet food bowls that are left outside and other yard items that have pockets that could collect water. Kacprzyk explained that mosquitoes exist only to breed and spend their larval and pupal stages in water, needing five to seven days to become adults.

Kacprzyk added that a particularly dangerous species of mosquito, identified as the Aedes, is a known carrier of the Dengue, Chikungunya, Yellow fever, and Zika viruses, and South Georgia is in its distribution range.

According to the CDC most people infected with the Zika virus won’t even know they have it because they won’t have symptoms, but the most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes).

According to Kacprzyk, only one in five people who contract the virus show symptoms, but taking proactive measures to decrease the chances of being bitten by an infected mosquito is very important.

“If you’re going into the woods, wear insect repellant,” said U.S. Airman 1st Class Deven Carey, 23d CES pest management apprentice. “[In my opinion] that’s the best protection and will keep mosquitoes off of you and stop them from transmitting viruses.”

Kacprzyk said there are liquids, lotions and sprays that contain N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide or DEET, which is a chemical used in mosquito repellent, and that it’s critical that residents take precautions to protect themselves and their homes from mosquitoes.

 “If it’s practical, stay inside air conditioned buildings with proper screening,” said Kacprzyk. “If not, apply a product that has DEET in it to exposed skin. Wear long sleeves and pants; ensure you’re walking around checking your homes and facilities window screens making sure they’re sealed tight and there are no holes.”

Moody’s entomologists are doing their part to make sure the base is safe to work on; it’s up to Team Moody to take the necessary measures to protect themselves.