THE LSU AgCenter recently announced continuing efforts to help with mosquito abatement in Louisiana and to increase public awareness concerning mosquito-borne diseases. “We are joining forces with the Department of Health and Hospitals in the ‘Fight the Bite’ campaign to lend our scientific expertise and outreach educational network,” said Paul Coreil, vice chancellor for Extension in the LSU AgCenter.

One part of this involvement is a new “Skeeter Buster” 4-H program. Under that program, during the first 4-H meeting of the school year, youth will be taught ways to tell their friends and families about mosquitoes and the potential dangers. “Sometimes adults learn better from children,” Coreil said. “We have a long history with our 4-H program in spreading educational information.”

The LSU AgCenter also is mobilizing faculty located in parish Extension offices to assist with mosquito abatement in parishes where such programs don't exist and where there are documented cases of human disease caused by mosquitoes.

“Our county agents and other field faculty already have been involved in many ways in educational programs about mosquitoes and potential diseases,” said David Boethel, associate vice chancellor for research at the LSU AgCenter. “We appreciate their tireless efforts on behalf of this threat to our state.”

Boethel also expressed appreciation to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), which is lending 10 of its trucks used in the boll weevil eradication program to help with spraying for mosquito control.

Both LDAF and the LSU AgCenter have entomologists on staff with expertise in mosquito control. The AgCenter also has a medical entomologist, Dr. Michael Perich, who is a leading authority on diseases caused by mosquitoes.

Perich has been traveling the state assisting parish officials with their questions about mosquitoes and prevention and control measures. He also has been working with the media to spread the word about mosquito-borne illness.