How Harvey’s high water can actually help fight mosquitoes

MADISONVILLE, La. -- When high water forces parishes in Louisiana to close roads, it's usually bad news.  But sometimes there is a silver lining.  And that's the case in Madisonville along Highway 1077 as it winds south of the city toward Lake Pontchartrain.

Workers with the St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District usually can't go far into wooded, swampy, or wetland areas to look for mosquito larvae.

But thanks to Tropical Storm Harvey, tides are expected to be about a foot higher than normal.  In areas, like the stretch of land along Hwy 1077 south of Madisonville, the higher tides can push water up to and over the road.  So mother nature brings the wooded, swampy, or wetland areas to the workers.

As Harvey left Texas and approached Louisiana, the mosquito team in St. Tammany began taking samples from the high water around the highway.

They dip a cup that is at the end of a long pole into the standing water.  Simply by observing, workers can get an idea of how concentrated the mosquito population is in any given area and with what kind of mosquitoes.

Workers say there are more than 60 kinds of mosquitoes and about 40 can be found at any given time in St. Tammany Parish.  But different kinds tend to be found in different areas of the parish.

The parish uses both airplanes and trucks to spray for mosquitoes.  By taking samples from areas that normally unreachable, workers can get a better idea of how to tweak the plan of attack.