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HomeNewsArchivesMosquitoes Wreaking Havoc on At Least Two V.I. Islands

Mosquitoes Wreaking Havoc on At Least Two V.I. Islands

May 9, 2007 — Buzz, buzz, buzz, slap! While St. John residents are busy doing the mosquito dance, what about the tourists? And what about St. Thomas and St. Croix?
"Last Thursday there was a guy who had welts all over his neck," V.I. National Park ranger Laurel Brannick said Wednesday.
She said there was some improvement between that trip down the Reef Bay Trail and the one she made Tuesday to the same location with a group of Julius E. Sprauve School students. She said last week, her group of 25 got down the trail about an hour faster than usual because the mosquitoes swarmed over people when they stopped.
"Yesterday they weren't as bad, but they were really horrible at the petroglyphs," Brannick said, referring to the pools of water located off the Reef Bay Trail.
She said tourists have asked if the territory has West Nile Virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and has been a problem on the mainland.
Brannick said that to her knowledge, no cases of the virus have turned up in the Virgin Islands. She said tourists aren't asking about dengue fever, which has occurred in the Virgin Islands.
"They probably don't know about dengue," Brannick said.
Richard Doumeng, manager at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas, gave the mosquito problem an eight on a scale of one to 10. "It's definitely been rough," he said.
He said the hotel has provided complimentary mosquito repellent at the bar, restaurants and other locations around the hotel to help guests fend off mosquito bites.
However, he said the staff has to ask them to spray outside to avoid making the tile as slick as an ice-skating rink when the spray hits the floor.
Doumeng said he's tried various approaches and methods, including an automatic spray system that sends a sweet odor into the air. He said he also tried a system that uses carbon dioxide to get rid of the mosquitoes, but the results in both cases have been only marginal.
He said he's diligent about getting rid of standing water, but that also hasn't helped.
Doumeng said he longs for the days when the local government sent around a truck spewing a noxious mosquito-killing chemical, although it usually passed Bolongo during the Monday night manager's cocktail party.
While he said the Bolongo guests are suffering from the mosquitoes, no one has checked out. Doumeng said the mosquitoes seem to have gotten thicker over the past few days.
He said that although he thought the mosquito situation was bad at Bolongo, he recently went to a baseball game at Lindbergh Bay, where the mosquitoes were so thick he inhaled them through his nose.
While Doumeng's guests were busy spraying themselves, two vacation villa managers on St. John said that while they were suffering, they hadn't heard much from their guests.
Karen Baranowski, who owns Windspree vacation villa management company, said that she had only one complaint from a guest. Lisa Durgin, who owns Vacation Vistas villa management company, said she hasn't heard a peep from any of her guests.
Both Baranowski and Durgin said that the villas are well-screened to keep out pests.
Durgin also said that owners of houses that had mosquito problems in the past invested over $300, plus about $100 a month in maintenance fees, for a mosquito magnet system that runs on propane.
As for St. Croix, Vicki Locke at The Buccaneer Hotel said she hasn't seen any mosquitoes or heard any complaints. She took a quick survey of her colleagues at the hotel and said they also hadn't heard of any mosquito problems.
"St. Croix is the bug-free island," she said.
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