Vector Control cuts felt with more mosquito bites - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vector Control cuts felt with more mosquito bites

Mitsu Papayoanou Mitsu Papayoanou

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - The heavy rain is gone but all that water left behind is producing another problem more mosquitoes.  And now there are fewer state workers to help control the pests. 

Mosquitoes continue to bite and annoy people all over the state but with budget cuts many of the workers that fought the problem have been laid off or transferred leaving the war on mosquitoes one sided.

Typically about a week after heavy rains is when the bulk of mosquitoes set out on their biting spree.  That's also about the time homeowners call the state for help.  In the past state vector control workers sprayed areas with a thin film to suffocate mosquito larva and prevent them from hatching.  But that practice is nearly extinct.  Now there are only four workers in the Vector Control branch on Oahu and one to two for each of the neighbor islands and they don't make house calls.

"They used to come every three months or so someone would come to cut down foliage or do some spraying or to test the waters but we haven't seen anybody now," said Mitsu Papayoanou, Kailua resident.

People in mosquito prone areas are feeling the effects saying this year is much worse than normal.

"It's been absolutely horrendous. I am the mosquito ninja I catch them all day.  There are too many especially with the baby so it's a way big problem this year," said Kate Dishongh, Kaneohe resident.

"After a rain you can see a cloud of mosquitoes in the grassy area and lately inside of the house like if we don't keep the doors closed the baby and me we get pretty bad," said Bertha Scammon, Ewa resident.

The concern is disease.  West Nile has never been found in Hawaii.  Dengue fever is relatively controlled.

Mitsu Papayoanou wants it to stay that way since her son caught dengue fever.

"He contracted dengue fever in Singapore and they're very careful over there. They do a lot of spraying but he still contracted it and he was hospitalized so I'm really aware of dengue fever and I don't want anyone I know to contract it," said Papayoanou.

While the state is swamped with a $700 million budget hole public safety is a priority.  People hope Vector Control gets some help.

"It's a pretty important program I mean mosquitoes are annoying and disease carrying little pests so I'm a pretty big fan of any program to get rid of mosquitoes," said Derek Scammon, Ewa resident.

With fewer government workers fighting mosquitoes the state says it's more important for residents to do their part.  Remove standing water from things like gutters, plants and pots.  Use bug spray, especially ones with the ingredient Deet.  Also try to wear light colors. Apparently mosquitoes are more attracted to dark colors.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly