This year’s unseasonably cool spring has left middle and north Georgia virtually mosquito free so far. But with the return of warmer nights that old familiar buzz won’t be far behind. When mosquitoes do finally make their comeback, there should be plenty of them, said Elmer Gray, an entomology research coordinator with University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Recent heavy rains have resulted in plenty of good habitat for mosquito larvae and may result in larger populations across Georgia. “Anything that can hold water is holding water and will be holding water for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’re above average for rainfall, and there is plenty of habitat for the nuisance mosquitoes. A lot of the rivers flooded, so the river bottoms have a lot of water in them.” Gray says any containers outside your home that’s holding water can be a habitat for mosquitoes.” So far, cool nighttime temperatures have slowed the development of the mosquito larvae in all those containers and river bottoms. As nighttime temperatures start to warm, however, they should quickly mature into the buzzing, biting bugs that vex spectators at Little League baseball games and backyard barbecuers. “We’re right here on the front door of it because the nighttime temperatures are about to get a lot warmer,” Gray said. The good news is that despite the impending increased mosquito population, Gray believes Georgia and the rest of the nation will not see the record-breaking number of West Nile Virus cases the country saw last year. Nation-wide drought in 2012 brought more of the birds that carry West Nile Virus in contact with the mosquitoes that transmit the flu-like illness to humans because there were fewer watering holes. The drought left plenty of near-empty, swampy storm drains that provided plenty of breeding habitat for the Southern House Mosquito — the species of mosquito most often linked to West Nile. That combined with a warm spring that gave mosquitoes a head start resulted in a long, dangerous and precedent-setting mosquito season. For the first time, all 48 contiguous states reported at least one case of the virus in 2012. In total, doctors reported seeing more than 5,300 cases of West Nile virus last summer and 243 of those patients died from the disease. “This year is the complete opposite,” Gray said. “It’s been a very cold spring over most of the country, and there has been little West Nile activity as of yet, which is a good thing.” Flood waters and full storm drains have helped wash many Southern House Mosquito larvae out of their breeding ground. This means their populations should be much smaller — possibly reducing the number of West Nile cases this year. However, nuisance mosquito species — one’s that do not carry disease — will be out in full force. While they’re not as dangerous, they are annoying. “Containers that hold water are perfect breeding habitats for nuisance mosquitoes like the Asian Tiger mosquito,” Gray said. “This is a daytime biting mosquito, the one that bothers us when you get home in the afternoon and are trying to enjoy a beverage and a barbecue.” Eliminating habitat, where possible, is the key to reducing populations and defending your summer afternoons. “You need to be diligent about getting outside and dumping all of those containers out because that’s the biggest source of habitat around our homes,” he said. “Here in Athens our biggest mosquito problems are the ones we breed ourselves.” Larvicidal briquettes, available at most home improvement stores, will kill mosquito larvae in retention ponds, fountains and other water features that homeowners can’t easily empty. Other ways of fighting the buzzing swarms include making sure window screens are in place and in good repair and stocking up on EPA-approved insect repellent. Gray recommends products containing DEET, the only EPA-approved repellent safe enough for toddlers and babies as young as two months of age. Parents should still read each product’s instructions before applying it to their children. Parents should apply the spray to their hands and then rub it on their children’s arms and legs. Small children have a habit of sticking their hands in their mouths, and if they apply themselves there’s a good chance they’ll ingest some of it,” Gray said. For more information about mosquito control, visit the UGA Extension publication website at www.caes.uga.edu/publications. and search for stinging and biting pests.
Update on the latest sports February 16, 2020 Suter made $568,300 last year. He asked in arbitration for a $1.25 million salary this year and the Brewers offered $825,000.The 30-year-old gets a $100,000 signing bonus payable within 60 days and salaries of $900,000 this year and $1.5 million in 2021. His 2021 salary can escalate by up to $250,000 based on innings this year: $50,000 each for 80, 100, 120, 140 and 160.In other baseball news:— Free agent pitcher Chad Bettis has signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees with an invitation to big league spring training. The 30-year-old right-hander was 1-6 with one save and a 6.08 ERA in 39 games, including three starts, for Colorado last season. He went on the injured list Aug. 14 with a left hip impingement and didn’t pitch the rest of the year. Bettis has pitched in parts of seven seasons in the majors, all for Colorado. He is 31-31 with one save and a 5.12 ERA in 164 games, 92 of them starts. Bettis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in November 2016 after going 14-8 in the Rockies’ rotation. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy and returned to the majors in August 2017.— St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas (MY’-koh-las) was scratched from his second bullpen session of the spring because of a flexor tendon issue. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said the Cardinals hope to have a more concrete time frame for Mikolas return to the mound in a day or two. Associated Press NHL-RED WINGS-PENGUINSHornqvist has 2 goals, assist and Pens top Red Wings 5-1PITTSBURGH (AP) — Patric Hornqvist had two goals and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-1.Hornqvist has 14 goals this season. Sidney Crosby scored his 11th of the season, Kris Letang added his 14th on the power play and Sam Lafferty also scored for Pittsburgh, which moved within one point of first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division.Crosby continued a four-game point streak on Sunday. He has six goals and 19 points in 12 games since returning from core muscle surgery on Jan. 14. MLB-NEWSSuter, Brewers avoid arbitration, reach 2-year, $2.5M dealUNDATED (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Brent Suter reached a two-year, $2.5 million deal Sunday that avoids an arbitration hearing that had been set for next week.Suter returned from Tommy John surgery last September and went 4-0 with a 0.49 ERA in nine relief appearances, helping the Brewers earn an NL wild-card spot.Suter had mostly been a starter the previous two seasons with Milwaukee before having elbow surgery in July 2018. He is expected to be used out of the bullpen this year. Quinton Rose scored 22 points and Nate Pierre-Louis had 16 for Temple.Temple and Villanova have been the standard bearers of the Philadelphia Big 5, the yearly city round-robin series that also includes La Salle, Penn and Saint Joseph’s. The Wildcats already had clinched at least a share of their 27th title with wins earlier this season over the other three Philadelphia rivals. They are now tied with Temple for most Big 5 titles.In other top-25 games Sunday:— Luka Garza scored 24 points and Ryan Kreiner added 10 points and No. 21 Iowa came back to beat the Minnesota Gophers 58-55. Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw attempt with a chance to tie the game with 3.8 seconds left and the Hawkeyes came away with a rare road win in the Big Ten. Iowa trailed by eight points with 5:25 remaining but finished the game on an 11-0 run. Oturu scored 15 points and Marcus Carr added 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Minnesota.LPGA-WOMEN’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN TORONTO (AP) — Former All-Star shortstop Tony Fernández has died after a long battle with kidney disease. He was 57.Fernández made five All-Star teams during his 17 seasons in the major leagues and helped the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1993 World Series. He won four straight Gold Gloves with the Blue Jays in the 1980s and holds club records for career hits and games played.A clutch hitter in five trips to the postseason, he had four separate stints with Toronto and played for six other teams. One of those was the New York Yankees, who replaced him at shortstop with a 21-year-old Derek Jeter in 1996. Fernández was slated to slide over to second base, but he broke his right elbow lunging for a ball late in spring training and missed the entire season.The next year, Fernández caught on at second with the Cleveland Indians and was instrumental in their 1997 American League pennant.His foundation says Fernández was taken off a life support system Sunday with his family present at a hospital in Weston, Florida. Fernández had been in a medically induced coma and had waited years for a kidney transplant. Matt Murray made 27 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won 11 of its past 15 games.Valtteri Filppula scored his fifth of the season for Detroit, which lost its fourth straight game. The Red Wings have been outscored 16-5 in their past four games and 59-23 in their past 16. Detroit has lost 14 of its past 16 games.T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULEVillanova beats TempleUNDATED (AP) — Collin Gillespie has scored a season-high 29 points to lead No. 15 Villanova to a 76-56 victory over Philadelphia rival Temple. Jermaine Samuels added 13 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 10 for Villanova, which won its seventh straight game over Temple while finishing 4-0 in the Big 5. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditNASCAR-DAYTONA 500Daytona 500 underway after rain delayDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Daytona 500 has begun after a rain delay. The start of the race was delayed by an unexpected rain shower that began moments after President Donald Trump and his motorcade finished a parade lap. Trump’s limousine nicknamed “the beast” exited Daytona International Speedway moments before the sky opened and soaked the track. Drivers returned to pit road.The start already had been pushed back 13 minutes to accommodate the president’s trip. Trump made a dramatic entrance hours earlier that set off a raucous celebration at the famed track. He gave the command for drivers to start their engines before taking a ceremonial lap.Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on the pole for “The Great American Race.”MLB-OBIT-TONY FERNANDEZFormer All-Star shortstop Tony Fernández dies Inbee Park wins Australian Open, ending 2-year title droughtADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Seven-time major champion Inbee Park saw a seven shot lead shrink to two shots Sunday before winning the Women’s Australian Open by three strokes to clinch her first LPGA title in almost two years.Park started her final round three shots in front of 19-year old South Korean compatriot Ayeon Cho. She bogeyed the ninth hole but still turned five shots ahead of the field and went out to a seven shot lead early on the back nine at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club. She walked off the 16th green only two shots ahead of American Amy Olsen but finished strongly to claim her 20th LPGA title.