SLIDELL, LA -- Mosquito Abatement of Saint Tammany Parish is hoping a new weapon will help reduce mosquitoes in the parish. It's a helicopter that workers say will allow them to target smaller areas and take a more precise approach to killing mosquitoes than the airplanes that they already use.
The parish is contracting with the Blackstar company to provide the expanded spraying service.
"It is our mission to protect the health and the quality of life of the residents of Saint Tammany Parish by minimizing the risk of mosquito transmitted diseases and by managing nuisance mosquitoes to a tolerable level," said Dr. Kevin Caillouet, the director of Mosquito Abatement of Saint Tammany Parish.
The helicopters are already a big part of the treatment plans in other states like Florida. Saint Tammany's has already flown some missions in marshes. More are scheduled for later in May.
Caillouet says the mail goal is to kill young mosquitoes before they can become biting adults. He says that mosquitoes can go from egg to adult in as little as seven days during the summer.
He also encourages neighbors to take precautions like staying indoors during peak mosquito activity hours, wearing long sleeves and pants as well as repellent, and making sure there's no standing water on their property.
Last year, 10 people in Saint Tammany contracted West Nile, and at least 87 people did across the state, according to Caillouet.