Lyn Gabriel knows just how she likes her mosquitoes: dead.
I would prefer to have the mosquitoes killed instead of eating me, the Lizella resident said.
Gabriel is among those living in Bibb County who want the county to resume mosquito spraying. Tuesday county commissioners will consider reinstating the sprays, which were cut because of costs.
Its not yet clear how much money it would take to resume mosquito sprays. Bibb County spent $114,200 on mosquito spraying between July 2010 and June 2011, but budgeted $42,375 since then, with spraying wrapping up last fall as the remaining pesticide was used.
Elmer Gray, a University of Georgia public health extension specialist who researches mosquitoes, said warm spring weather has allowed mosquitoes to multiply faster, but the peak levels are still going to depend on rainfall.
Gray said mosquito spraying brings many benefits.
If you live in areas with heavy mosquito populations, youll consider that money well spent, he said.
Among Grays concerns are youth sports. Some Georgia mosquitoes carry eastern equine encephalitis, which is particularly serious for children.
That form of encephalitis is one of several nasty viruses sometimes carried by mosquitoes. Last July, Bibb County reported one case of La Crosse encephalitis. In 2009 and 2010, single cases of West Nile virus were reported in Bibb County. Three cases of West Nile virus were reported in 2007.
Gray said diseases are carried by different species of mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes breed more when there has been heavier rainfall, but the species of mosquito that hosts West Nile virus likes stagnant storm drains where fresh rainfall isnt flushing them away. The end result is disease can spread during wet and dry seasons.
Theyve got you coming or going, Gray said. Whether or not its raining, one of the mosquitoes is doing good.
But even when mosquitoes arent carrying dangerous diseases, theyre still annoying.
Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson, who helped cut funding last year, is asking commissioners Tuesday to consider reinstating the spraying. Residents have been calling him asking for the spraying.
We need to reconsider, Richardson said.
Richardson said the mosquitoes bring concerns about health and quality of life.
Its not clear yet how mosquito populations will fare this year. Gray said the idea that a cold winter kills mosquitoes is a myth.
Cold weather will delay their hatching, but theyve been around for over 100 million years, overwintered through warm winters and cold winters, and theyre very adept, he said.
Rain may determine how many mosquitoes breed. Rain has been scarce, according to records from the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. In the past six months, Macon received just 14.5 inches of rain, which is 8.6 inches less than normal. In the past month, it received less than a third of the normal rainfall.
Gray said if rain doesnt come, mosquito populations will drop, at least temporarily.
The populations will begin to decline, and itll just depend on what kind of moisture we have through the summer, he said.
Gabriel said she wants insects dead, soon.
I always listen for that mosquito spray truck to come by because the mosquitoes and ticks are so awful right now, she said. The spraying needs to continue.
In the meantime, shes using her preferred mosquito repellent.
Ive already pulled out the Avon Skin So Soft, she said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.