Friday, June 19, 2015

House Recognizes June 21-27 National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

The Pennsylvania Vector Control Association is observing the week of June 21 – June 27 along with the American Mosquito Control Association as “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week.”
A variety of Pennsylvania State Agencies are involved in protecting residents from mosquito transmitted diseases such as West Nile Virus. These include the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Environmental Protection coordinates mosquito surveillance and control in all 67 Pennsylvania counties collaborating with 25 county based programs. Mosquito research is performed by the Penn State University Entomology Department. Educational programs, training and materials are provided by Penn State Extension through Pesticide Education, Integrated Pest Management and Master Gardener programming.
In support of “National Mosquito Control Awareness Week,” the Pennsylvania Vector Control Association recommends residents across Pennsylvania take action to help reduce mosquito concerns in their local communities.
The best defense against West Nile Virus is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water around homes, weeds, tall grass, shrubbery, and discarded tires.
Homeowners should take precautionary measures including:
— Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots, or similar containers that hold water.
— Drill drainage holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
— Have roof gutters cleaned regularly, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to block drains.
— Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
— Turn over wheelbarrows and do not let water stagnate in birdbaths.
— Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
— Clean and chlorinate swimming pools and remove any water that may collect on pool covers.
Homeowners can buy mosquito control substances, such as Bti products, at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, and other stores. Bti is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that kills mosquito larva but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life, and plants. Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:
— Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
— Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
— When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods.
— Use insect repellants according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellant will contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician if you have questions about the use of repellant on children, as repellant is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
For more information about West Nile Virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, visit the West Nile Virus website.  For information about West Nile Virus symptoms in humans, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA-Health.  For information about pesticide safety, visit the visit the Penn State Extension webpage.

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