Horse waste and hay perfect for mosquito studies

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Forsyth County vector control workers are using an interesting mixture to attract mosquitoes to local traps, horse manure, hay and water.

The smelly concoction apparently acts as perfect bait for certain species of mosquitoes known to carry viruses like West Nile.

"We let it sit out and kinda ferment for a few days, and what the odors does is attract the species that we need," explained Ryan Harrison.

Harrison has been with vector control for fifteen years. He and his crew have worked around the clock to catch mosquitoes.

Samples of mosquitoes are gathered from more than 390 sites in the county. After they are caught, they're frozen and then studied. Any species or samples identified as being suspicious are sent to the state health lab for testing.

"The other night we had four inches of rain in some areas of the county so a lot of the floodplains are full of water." said Harrison and added those areas of are hot-spots for mosquito breeding only after a couple of days.

Over the past week, crews targeted flooded regions, spraying larvicides and setup the horse manure traps for research.

"You can go completely dry and then one week later you've got a half million mosquitoes flying around," said Harrison.

They can also use sprays to kill adult mosquitoes but prefer to be proactive with larvicides.

"A lot of the larvicides we're using are 90-98% effective within 24 hours, if we can get them out in a timely fashion," said Harrison.