The Department of Environmental Protection Friday announced it will conduct aerial treatments to control large populations of mosquito larvae on Monday, July 30 in parts of Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties affected by recent flooding.
These mosquito populations could carry West Nile Virus (WNV). Residents are also strongly encouraged to eliminate mosquito habitat from their property
“The heavy rains have left large tracts of stagnant water that will produce an extraordinary number of mosquitoes if not treated quickly,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Rather than wait for adult mosquitoes to emerge, DEP will eliminate mosquito larvae through aerial applications using environmentally friendly control products.”
DEP Vector Management staff have determined that the treatment is necessary due to high levels of West Nile Virus detected in mosquito populations this year.
“Given the intensity of WNV activity, these suppression efforts are even more important with the onset of warmer weather and the widespread damp conditions caused by last week’s floods,” said McDonnell. “In addition, DEP strongly recommends that residents eliminate possible mosquito breeding habitat from their property using simple, common sense steps.”
2018 has seen increased levels of WNV-positive mosquito samples, with WNV-infected mosquitoes and birds found in 48 Pennsylvania counties.
Beginning at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Monday, July 30, Helicopter Applicators Inc. of Gettysburg will spray a granular larvicide over almost 3,000 acres in Cumberland, Dauphin and Lebanon counties.
The larval mosquito control product, Vectobac GS, is not a chemical pesticide; rather, it is a species-specific bacterial agent that targets mosquito and black fly larvae when added to stagnant water.
Certain species of mosquitoes carry West Nile Virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all residents of areas where virus activity has been identified are at risk of getting West Nile encephalitis; people over 50 have the highest risk of severe disease.
Eliminate Breeding Areas
In addition to the aerial spraying, DEP strongly encourages residents to eliminate standing water, where mosquitoes can breed, from around their homes. Additional tips include:
-- Dispose of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers that have collected on your property.
-- Pay special attention to discarded tires. Stagnant water in tires is where most mosquitoes breed.
-- Drill holes in the bottom of recycling containers left outdoors.
-- Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug up the drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
-- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use. Stagnant water in a wading pool becomes a place for mosquitoes to breed.
-- Turn over wheelbarrows and don't let water stagnate in birdbaths. Both provide breeding habitats for domestic mosquitoes.
-- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use. A swimming pool left untended by a family on vacation for a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.
It is not necessary to limit any outdoor activities, unless local officials advise you otherwise. However, you can and should try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.
In addition to reducing stagnant water in your yard, make sure all windows and doors have screens, and that all screens are in good repair.
If West Nile virus is found in your area, here are some ways you can protect yourself--
-- Take normal steps to prevent insect bites.
-- Wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are most active.
-- Consider the use of mosquito repellent, according to directions, when it is necessary to be outdoors. Wash all treated skin and clothing when returning indoors.
To report concerns about mosquitoes and West Nile Virus, please find the appropriate contact at DEP West Nile Virus website.
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