Rains Keep Island Green, Mosquitoes Hatching

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The recent steady rains which have been lashing St. John are keeping the island pleasantly green — and keeping the mosquito population booming.

At least two mosquito hatches usually occur after a major rain, and even more hatches when there are more rains, according to Rafe Boulon, the V.I. National Park’s chief of resource management.

The first hatch usually occurs around 10 days after the rain. A second hatch — from the eggs of the first hatch — occurs around 10 days after the first hatch, Boulon explained.

With frequent rains, it is easy to see how the hatches could take place almost continuously.

Although this summer there have not been any reported cases of the painful and potentially deadly Dengue Fever — which is spread by day-biting mosquitoes — officials are still cautioning residents to reduce their exposure to the pesky insects.

Eliminate Stagnant Water
Eliminating standing water is the first precaution recommended, according to Boulon.

“The main thing is to make sure that you don’t have any stagnant water,” he said. “Even water dishes outside for pets can be mosquito breeding grounds. People should change their pet’s water dish frequently.”

Installing a small fish pond is another good measure in the battle against mosquitoes, Boulon continued.

“The fish pond is a standing body of water, so most of the mosquitoes will lay their eggs there,” he said. “But if you stock the pond with guppies or other types of fish, they will eat the larvae. It really does work.”

Boulon is speaking from experience.

“I installed a fish pond in my yard and it reduced my ambient mosquito levels by 75 percent,” he said.

The mosquito magnet is a new way to decrease the amount of mosquitoes in one’s yard. The contraption, which ranges in price, can eliminate mosquitoes across half-an-acre to an entire golf course, according to the Web site www.mosquitomagnet.com.

The magnet works by mimicking human breath — expelling carbon monoxide, which is what humans exhale and is what attracts mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects, according to the Web site www.mosquitomagnet.com.

The magnet works by mimicking human breath — expelling carbon monoxide, which is what humans exhale and is what attracts mosquitoes and other blood sucking insects, according to the Web site.

The mosquitoes are then sucked into a net, where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. The machine, which runs off propane, also works for sand fleas and biting flies.

If all else fails, there are always the old stand-by insect repellents and citronella candles. Incense and smudge pots can be effective mosquito deterrents as well.

The mosquitoes are then sucked into a net, where they dehydrate and die within 24 hours. The machine, which runs off propane, also works for sand fleas and biting flies.

If all else fails, there are always the old stand-by insect repellents and citronella candles. Incense and smudge pots can be effective mosquito deterrents as well.