Mosquito season is here, and the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District’s control measures for the City of Colusa and surrounding areas kicked off last week.
District manager David Whitesell is once again asking residents to do their part by inspecting their homes and yards thoroughly and to remove any standing water that may allow mosquito production.
“This is a very important part of helping reduce mosquito numbers,” Whitesell said in a press release. “Water is necessary for three of the four life stages of the mosquito… In the summer, the four stages of the mosquito life cycle may require as few as three to four days, while in cooler periods of the year, they require several weeks to become adults.”
Common standing water sources found around residences include fish ponds, bird baths, tin cans, water cans, saucers under potted plants, old tires, clogged roof gutters, abandoned pools and boats, ornamental ponds, watering troughs, rain barrels, street gutters, house cooler units, tree holes, leaking faucets, and water in basements or under the house.
If any standing water situation is too large for a resident to correct, they should contact the district for help in resolving the problem. The District will once again be offering a limited number of mosquito fish to residents within the district’s boundaries. Residents should call in advance and bring their own containers for transportation.
The Mosquito Abatement District is also asking residents to refrain from over-watering their lawns to the point that water runs off into street gutters and remains standing.
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. If the hotline accepts the bird, District personnel will pick the bird up to be tested if this bird is within the District boundaries. If positive for West Nile virus, the zip code will be shut down and no further testing will be conducted.
Humans and horses are all susceptible to WNV along with the bird population. A vaccine is available for the horse owner and is highly recommended as infected horses have nearly a 50% mortality rate. No vaccine is available 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, Colusa. If there are questions, the public may contact the District office at (530) 458-4966.
To protect yourself from the WNV, there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken:
- Avoid spending time outside when mosquitoes are most active, especially at dawn and dusk.
- When outdoors at dawn and dusk wear long pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET according to label instructions.
- Make sure that doors and windows have tight fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.