Mosquito control program underway

The Colusa Mosquito Abatement District has begun their mosquito control spray program for this season. These efforts consist primarily of a spray program to control adult mosquitoes using truck mounted foggers in both the urban and rural areas of the district. Control measures will only take place within the boundaries of the district which only include the town of Colusa and outlying areas around the town (see map).  Spray times and dates can be found on the district’s website.

Aerial control of adult mosquitoes will be conducted by aircraft in the wetland and duck club areas within the district.  As in the past, the spray program will use materials registered with the Environmental Protection Agency.  The district also has a Larvacide program to control the immature stages of the mosquito, and has placed larvicides in the catch basins throughout Colusa.  Catch basins that maintain standing water throughout the mosquito season can be a major source of urban mosquitoes. The mosquito fish program started early spring. The district does have a limited amount of mosquito fish available to residents within the district boundaries.  Anyone wishing to receive fish is asked to call the district in advance and to bring their own containers for transportation.

With the introduction of two new invasive mosquito species to California that can transmit Zika, Dengue Fever and Chikungunya Virus, we are asking home owners to help by inspecting homes and yards thoroughly and remove any standing water that may cause mosquito production. These new species, not yet found in the Colusa district, prefer breeding in very small containers that do not require much water, so this would be a very important part of helping the district reduce mosquito numbers.  Water is necessary for three of the four life stages of the mosquito. The egg, larvae, and pupae are aquatic. The fourth stage is the adult mosquito. In the summer the four stages of the mosquito life cycle may require as few as three to four days to mature, while in cooler periods of the year they require several weeks to become adults.

By a thorough inspection of the premises, various standing water situations could be found, such as fish ponds, bird baths, tin cans, water cans, saucers under potted plants, old tires, clogged roof gutters, abandon pools, boats, ornamental ponds, watering troughs, rain barrels, street gutters, house coolers units, tree holes, leaking faucets and water in basements or under the house (especially in heavy rain fall years and seepage years) pumping of these basements is very important as we progress into the mosquito season.

The Mosquito Abatement district requests that people refrain from over watering their lawns to the extent that water will run off into the street gutters and remain standing. Any of these standing water situations may be reduced by the home resident. If any problem is too large for the resident to correct, they may call the district for help in resolving the problem.

Also, the district will again be using the State’s dead bird program. The public is asked to call the dead bird hotline #877-WNV-Bird (877) 968-2473 if they find a dead bird. Birds should be dead no more than 24 hours and in fair shape to be tested. If the hot line accepts the bird, district personnel will pick the bird up to be tested, if the bird is within the district boundaries. If positive for West Nile virus, the district will monitor the area, and implement increased control measures.

Human and horses are all susceptible to WNV along with the bird population. A vaccine is available for horse owners, and is highly recommended as infected horses have nearly a 50% mortality rate. No vaccine as yet for humans. Of people infected by WNV, about 80% show no symptoms whatsoever. About 20% have West Nile fever, developing common flu like symptoms: nausea, fever, body aches, mild skin rash, and swollen lymph nodes. West Nile fever can be very debilitating with recovery taking weeks or months. WNV can be severe in the elderly and those with low immune systems. Rarely, an individual can develop serious illness including encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. If you have symptoms of high fever, severe headaches, and/or stiffness, please seek medical attention.

The district has informational material available to the public upon request at the district Office 713 D.  Street, in Colusa. If there questions, the public may contact the district office at (530) 458-4966 or visit the district website at: colusamosquitoabatementdistrict.com

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net