Leftover floodwaters to create potential mosquito issue in East Tennessee

Local News

The recent historic flooding in East Tennessee caused damage for hundreds of residents and business owners with flooded properties, items destroyed from water damage and more.

The water that hasn’t receded yet could create more problems for everyone: Mosquitoes.

Ronnie Nease, Environmental Health Director with Knox County Health Department, said the weather isn’t as warm as mosquitoes prefer, but it’s warm enough and East Tennessee has plenty of standing water thanks to recent flooding and still-standing floodwater.

Nease said crews already started checking areas they know are prone to standing water. Over the years, they’ve created a list of more than 200 zones to check.

He said homeowners need to check their properties for standing water from the floods as well.

“See if they have any wheel barrels, buckets, flower pots that’s been sitting empty over the winter that they haven’t utilized yet. They need to be sure to dump the water out of them,” Nease said.

He also said mosquitoes can lay eggs in the smallest amount of water, such as a bottle cap with water in it.

If someone came across an area with standing floodwater that hasn’t receded yet, they can call the health department at 865-215-5200 so crews can investigate.

If residents had a pool of standing water on their property, Nease said they can buy a Mosquito Dunk to place in it.

Crews will start trapping mosquitoes in May to look for any females carrying the West Nile Virus.

If the virus is found in mosquitoes, crews will spray it with a larvacide.

Nease said they don’t spray for all mosquitoes.

“We don’t spray for nuisance mosquitoes. We only spray for the mosquitoes that have the potential to spread the West Nile Virus,” Nease said.

He also said people shoudn’t skip any outdoor activities because of the possibility of more mosquitoes.

People should wear long-sleeve shirts, pants and bug repellent with DEET to prevent from getting bitten, Nease said.

For more information about mosquito prevention and how the county combats mosquito-transmitted diseases, visit the health department’s website here.

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