Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glynn Rethinking Mosquito Controls

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glynn Rethinking Mosquito Controls

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- Glynn County's mosquito control program is one of the best in Georgia, according to a Georgia Southern University entomology professor.

But some county commissioners wonder if the $800,000 program is effective enough and are considering cutting it from the commission's budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year.

"I would suggest that folks think very carefully," warned Georgia Southern professor Daniel Hagan. "There are so many diseases carried by mosquitoes."

Hagan has studied entomology for 20 years, including extensive research on biting flies and midges in Glynn County. He calls Glynn's program the second best in Georgia behind only Chatham County's $1.5 million program.

Still, county officials want a review of the program to determine whether it's effective or a waste of money.

"Obviously parts of what we do are not working the way we want it to," Commissioner Fred Tullos said.

Commissioner Jeff Chapman said he's not sure he wants to cut money for mosquito control.

"The full-meal deal may not be necessary," Chapman said. ". . . It not's all about cutting. It may be about improving."

Hagan contends that the program is effective enough to continue, especially considering diseases that can be carried by mosquitoes.

There was a time, he said, when people in coastal areas died of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases and it could happen again.

"Three million people die each year from malaria," carried by mosquitoes, he said. "These aren't mortars and land mines. These are tiny mosquitoes."

Some of the mosquitoes common to coastal Georgia can carry the diseases, he said.

"All we've got to do is have someone come in here with the disease and get bitten and we've got problems," he said.

Many people are justifiably concerned about the health effects of mosquito control chemicals, Hagan said, but the risks are diminishing as safer methods are discovered and as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency orders some chemicals off the market.

Olan Chancey, head of Glynn County Mosquito Control, said the chemical most widely used in the spray trucks is a combination of permethrin and piperonyl butoxide.

Laboratory tests have shown that permethrin has virtually no toxicity from inhalation and is easily broken down by the liver and excreted from the body. Its effects on mosquitoes is enhanced by piperonyl butoxide, a chemical agent used to enhance the killing power of insecticides. …

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