Columbia County officials decided last week to bolster their public education efforts regarding mosquitoes.
Officials will include articles on mosquito-control efforts on the county Web site and in newsletters sent each month with water bills.
Following a complaint by an Evans resident about mosquitoes during a July 7 commission meeting, county officials turned a critical eye toward its mosquito-control efforts.
However, beyond additional public education endeavors, officials decided to stick with mosquito-control devices already in place.
Just two options exist for the county to control mosquito populations, Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker told commissioners during a Tuesday meeting. Those options are spraying and larvicide.
Columbia County distributes larvicide pellets, which Tucker said is more effective because they destroy mosquito larvae in its breeding areas. Sprays kill only adult mosquitoes in the path of the spray.
"I couldn't find expert opinion promoting spraying, except in coastal communities," Tucker said.
Also, larvicide pellets are cheaper.
Tucker said the county spends between $3,500 to $5,000 each year on pellets. It would require at least $150,000 to start up a spraying program and another $125,000 each year to maintain.
Linda Anderson, a Deerwood Estates resident who complained that her neighborhood was "inundated" by mosquitoes, used Charleston, S.C., as an example of a community with an effective mosquito-control program.
Charleston budgets $2.3 million each year to run a spraying program, Tucker said.
Part of the problem in Deerwood Estates and other communities is that many homes have areas of standing water favored by mosquitoes, Tucker said.
"Something (standing water) the size of a quarter can breed 150 mosquitos," she said.
Asking homeowners to seek out areas of standing water around their homes is one of the topics that would be discussed in education materials disseminated to the public.
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