West Nile Virus in the Area

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West Nile Virus in the Area

A summer of frequent rains can mean a summer of high mosquito populations. The frequent rains give plenty of opportunities for standing water, the ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Walk around your home or farm, do you have areas of standing water. Perhaps it is old containers or pots that now collect water. Even wheelbarrows can collect water. It is a good idea to turn wheelbarrows over when not in use. The little plastic wading pools should also be turned over when not in use. How about those clogged rain gutters, again an excellent area for water to collect and the opportunity for millions of mosquitoes to breed. Also think about bird baths. Be sure to stir the water every few days.

Do you have old tires laying around? These tires make excellent collection areas for water and therefore become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Did you know that the stagnant water in tires are where most mosquitoes breed? I know old tires are often used to hold down plastic silo coverings, but take a look at the amount of water these tires are holding. Some farmers cut the tires in half so they are flat. Also, look for alternatives that do not hold water. Here is a Penn State Extension publication that may help, “Reducing Mosquito Breeding Sites when Using Waste Tires as Anchors for Bunk Silo Covers.”

You may ask, what about my water garden or backyard pond? You should aerate pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens can become major mosquito producers if 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 large numbers of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on pool covers.

Treat Mosquitoes Wilkes Barre

The state Department of Environmental Protection  and county mosquito control professionals have been using Bti, a naturally occurring bacteria, to kill mosquito larvae for years. This material is now available for you to buy and use yourself at home. Bti can be purchased in small, donut-shaped form, often called “mosquito dunks,” which are useful in small areas of standing water, such as a birdbath. A granular form of Bti is available, and effective for larger areas, such as backyard ponds.

The great thing about this bacteria is that it kills only mosquito and black fly larvae. It is not harmful to people, pets, aquatic life (such as fish) or plants. Bti can be purchased in lawn and garden, outdoor supply, and home improvement stores.

Mosquitoes Spreading West Nile Virus in Scranton PA

Mosquitoes are a major concern for human and animal health. West Nile virus is a disease spread by infected mosquitoes. Read our brochure for more information on West Nile virus.

The most recent report (August 20, 1013) by Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Control Program indicates three people have tested positive for West Nile virus. Three counties in Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery) are at high risk for West Nile Virus. Five more counties (Berks, Columbia, Delaware, Lackawanna, and Lehigh) are above average risk for the virus. Fifteen more counties are a moderate risk. Want to know the status of your county? Find the most up-to-date map here. Also, note that many counties are not doing surveillance.

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. Wear shoes, socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for a long period of time. The use of mosquito repellents has been shown to be highly effective in repelling mosquitoes. When using repellents, be sure to follow label directions and wash all treated skin and clothing when returning indoors. Here is a fact sheet on insect repellents.