Mosquito abatement begins control program

The Colusa Mosquito Abatement District has already started their surveillance and control program due to the recent high river levels and flooded wooded areas. The summer control program will 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 will take place Monday and Thursday in the City of Colusa after 10 PM. Outlying control will take place on a weekly basis from sunset to 10 PM. All control will be contingent on the weather. Again this seasonal control measures will only consist of the boundaries of the District (160 Square Miles) which includes the town of Colusa and outlying areas around the town. Also adult mosquito control will be conducted by aircraft in the wetland and duck club areas and outlying areas within the District. As in the past, the spray program will consist of Environmental Protection Agency registered mosquito control materials. The District will be placing larvicides in the catch basins throughout the City of Colusa. Catch basins that maintain standing water can be a major source of urban mosquitoes.

Home owners are also asked to inspect homes and yards thoroughly and remove any standing water that may cause mosquito production. This is a very important part of helping 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, 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, wading pools, 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.

The Colusa District will be targeting abandoned swimming pools within the District boundaries. The District does have larvicide materials that can be used to take care of the larvae upon homeowner’s request. This treatment will be free of charge to the homeowner within the District. The District will be contacting Real Estate Agencies for their help in locating abandoned pools on the real estate market.

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.

Also the District will again be using the States dead bird program. The public is asked to call the dead bird hot line #877-WNV-Bird (877) 968-2473 if they find a dead bird within the District’s boundaries. If the hot line accepts the bird, District personnel will pick the bird up to be tested. It should be noted that when a bird tests positive for WNV there will be no further testing in that zip code.

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 sleeved 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.

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 exists 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 a web site at colusamosuitoabatementdistrict.com with information about the program and spray hours. ■

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