(WMC-TV) - The foreclosure crisis and the early mosquito season are proving to be a troublesome mix.
Shelby County Vector Control is working double duty to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Have you started noticing those itchy, red mosquito bites? Not only is mosquito season early, it gets worse if you live in an area with foreclosures.
Chandler Reports Real Estate Market Data says the number of first quarter foreclosures in Shelby County jumped from 964 in 2011 to 1,235 in 2012.
Add that to an early mosquito season from the mild winter, and you have got a tricky mix.
"The link to the mosquitoes is because people will dump on those properties or those properties will have containers."
Shelby County Health Department Vector Control Manager Dr. Daniel Sprenger says standing water is the ideal mosquito breeding ground.
Foreclosed properties often breed Asian Tiger Mosquitoes.
"Those Asian Tiger Mosquitoes don't fly very far, probably less than a block. But they cause a big problem," said Dr. Sprenger.
According to Shelby County, these are the top five zip codes for foreclosures: 38127, 38109, 38118, 38128, 38141.
WMC-TV went along with vector control as they scouted flagged properties.
"Every day, they get a list of these locations to go to. They check if there's water. They check if there are mosquito larvae present. When the mosquito larvae are present then they treat the water," explained Dr. Sprenger.
To make matters more serious, Spenger is predicting a higher west nile virus rate this spring.
"It means the virus will persist in the neighborhoods for a longer period of time," he said.
Some neighborhoods could see up to 20 weeks of west nile virus activity, starting in May.
If you have a problem with a pond or lake in your area, the health department actually gives away Gambusia affinis, also known as Mosquitofish, which eat mosquitoes.
"Check around the house. Make sure you're not generating any mosquitoes. Surely call us and we'll check for you and tell you what to look for," said Dr. Sprenger.