Monitor Township, MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (06/11/2019) - The race is on, to keep mosquitoes from taking flight.
The heavy rain we've received has mosquito control crews across Mid Michigan scrambling.
Tuesday night we caught up with one mosquito control veteran who says this is war.
For 71-year old Jim Hughes, this isn't just a job, it's a passion.
"Gives me a purpose to get out of bed," he said.
Hughes, who has been on the front lines for 17 years, says this week is a race against time.
"Trying to stay ahead of the game, which is an endless battle," he noted.
Tuesday night we caught up with Hughes and his crew mate Ahleah Yaworski as they were treating ditches filled with standing water and thousands of larvae.
They can only drive 10-miles-per hour while spraying. So Hughes shared this plea with fellow drivers:
"Slow down," he said."Give us a break so we can help you out."
The Larvae ingests a biological product called BTI that causes them to die before they mature.
Bay County Mosquito Control Manager Rebecca Brandt says the combination of heavy rain and warmer temperatures is not working in their favor:
"We want to treat the mosquito larvae that's starting to emerge in the standing water, before they become an adult mosquito," she said.
With a 7-to-10 day window, it's all hands on deck.
While rain events are not typically associated with disease activity, mosquito activity associated with West Nile Virus can occur May thru September.
Brandt says it you are outdoors at dusk or dawn, it's a good idea to wear long sleeves, long pants and socks, and to use a mosquito repellent with DEET.
The hope, of course, when it comes to nuisance mosquitoes, is Jim will be able to prevent the larvae from ever taking flight, a battle he takes seriously:
"I hope we come out on top," he remarked."We'll give you a 60/40 odds if it doesn't rain anymore."