Living: Attack of the Kinnaskeeter
By JOY CRIST
got to respect Hatteras and Ocracoke islanders.
bad at them like, say, a Jurassic Park-esque environment complete with
giant insect infestation, and they’ll come back with something
fabulously and inappropriately funny to say about it.
local conversations this past week include the following:
first. I thought everyone I was passing [in my car] was waving at me…
they weren’t. They were just swatting the mosquitoes away.”
“I went to
covered in Deep Woods Off. Luckily, it was same perfume all the other
ladies were wearing.”
keeping score at home, this is plague number 2, right after floods. I
just hope God decides to do locusts next, because I’m pretty sure they
upside of the
Kinnaskeeter Uprising is that we all have something in common, and
something to talk about. The downside is, of course -- and please
excuses the horrible pun -- mosquitoes suck.
jogging all over the place waving your arms like you’re on fire, and
frantically rolling the car windows up and down in failed attempts to
drive out the “skeeters.”
carry on a conversation with someone in the Food Lion parking lot while
wondering “Should I slap that mosquito off of her face? Will she be
grateful or think that she just said something offensive? And worse,
will she slap me back?”
And I miss
outside in the yard -- mowing, weeding, and cleaning up the
ever-present leftover storm debris from Hurricane Irene. Okay, that one
I don’t miss.
would be nice
to get back to our regularly scheduled fall, where the beaches are
gorgeous, the weather is warm with just a hint of a sharp breeze, and
you don’t lose pints of blood on a daily basis.
practical way to deal with the mosquito situation?
I have a
Plan A, and my strategy breaks down into 3 parts:
are supposedly attracted to humans when they exhale, invest in a diving
mosquitoes I’ve killed right where they are in my house, car, and on my
clothes to serve as a warning to others.
the tires of
the mosquito-spraying truck the next time it drives by my house.
So if you
see a crazy
lady wandering around Avon in scuba gear covered with dead mosquitoes
and wielding a knife, no need to run in the other direction or call the
authorities. It’s just me.
But if Plan
for some reason, (and I don’t see how it possibly could), Dare County
has stepped in and provided us with a Plan B.
of Dare County Public Works Office, and Carl Walker, the county
“mosquito guy,” have been busy at work implementing a wide range of
attack strategies to get the mosquito issue under control.
this weekend is the aerial spraying of the island, which is set to
begin this evening at 6:30 p.m. and continuing until 2:30 a.m. Because
they are not allowed to spray on federal land, the spraying will be
concentrated within the village borders. If the weather does not permit
the spraying this evening, it will be Saturday or Sunday evening, Oct.
1 and 2.
This is the
time this has been done this year, and the first spraying, which took
place before the recent weeks of rain encouraged a new hatching, was
was several weeks after the hurricane, which dumped about seven inches
of rain on parts of Dare County.
And after a
and summer of drought conditions, we had more rain in persistent heavy
storms for the past two weeks. At Hatteras, there have been 14.23
inches of rain this month, which leaves us eight inches above normal
for the month and about four inches above normal for the year.
time we did
this (spraying), there were hardly any mosquitoes until we had another
hatch,” says Mann, “And this is the optimal time to do it again,
because they’re hatching right now.”
planned to spray last night or tonight.
As it turns
mosquito egg can last for years, even through a winter freeze, so
getting them early is key.
probably shouldn’t run around outside with your mouth open during the
spraying, the overall affects are minimal at most, officials say.
[application] is being sprayed at three quarters of an ounce per acre,
and 80 percent never even hits the ground,” says Mann.
actively killing larva in ditches, with various liquids and pellets
comprised of corn and fungicide that is shot into the water in GPS
identified areas where the mosquito population is high.
everywhere, unfortunately,” says Mann, “but we can get the hot spots
and treat them, as well as ditches. It’s overwhelming right now living
“mosquito traps,” which are baited with dry ice and can catch thousands
of mosquitoes on one in a short time.
night, we had
one trap in South Nags Head and one trap in Manns Harbor, and they
trapped 24,000 mosquitoes in a 12-hour period,” Mann says.
mosquito-spraying trucks will make regular runs around Hatteras Island
again next week -- assuming they are able to escape my neighborhood
with their tires intact -- and will continue to do so until the
As for home
Mann and Walker recommend finding any water-filled containers in your
yard and dumping them immediately to keep mosquitoes from
bottle tops, tires -- anything that has standing water in it -- stand
it over and get the water out of it,” says Mann.
methods as effective as a scuba diving suit and a pelt of mosquito
but the Public Works Department will continue to fight the mosquitoes
until they are no longer able to fight back.
And in the
it’s a safe bet that even as frustrating as the mosquito onslaught is,
Hatteras and Ocracoke islanders will still somehow be able to grin and
Avon, also known as Kinnakeet, where her yard has been a mosquito
nursery ever since the storm surge from Hurricane Irene. If
see her, please slap the mosquito on her face. She will