Like clockwork, a rainy spring followed by warm weather brings mosquitoes out just in time for summer. Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, they are a potential health risk as transmitters of diseases such as West Nile, La Crosse Encephalitis and St. Louis Encephalitis. While the reported number of human cases are few, it’s still important for us to do our part when it comes to mosquito control.
There are several ways to eliminate potential mosquito habitats. Make a habit of emptying, removing, covering or up-ending receptacles with the potential to hold water. Clean out gutters, birdbaths, pets’ water dishes and toddler pools, and take measures to treat and seal any rainwater barrels. You can treat these areas with Mosquito Dunks® – a natural bacteria toxic only to mosquito larvae. For more tips on keeping your yard mosquito free and on how to reduce the likelihood of mosquito bites check here.
From mid-May through September, Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) sets traps to identify areas where there are high numbers of mosquitoes or areas where mosquitoes are carrying West Nile Virus. If necessary, FCPH uses adulticiding (spraying) to reduce mosquito populations.
FCPH uses Merus 3.0–a natural botanical pyrethrin listed with the Organic Materials Review Institute. Pyrethrins are botanical insecticides derived from chrysanthemum flowers that can be applied in and around organic gardens. FCPH has also improved its website, making it easier for residents to make online requests, complete a Do Not Spray form (which must be completed annually), and registration for beekeepers to help protect honey bee populations.
When FCPH decides to spray, here are some precautions you can take:
- Bring pets indoors.
- Remain indoors with windows closed for about 30 minutes after spraying has occurred.
- If you come in contact with any pesticides, wash with soap and water.
- Bring laundry inside or rewash items if you were unable to bring them in before spraying occurred.
- Wash any exposed fruits or vegetables from your garden before using them.
- Allow about one hour to pass before allowing children to play in areas that have been treated.
If adulticiding is necessary, the City typically receives at least 24 hour notice of areas to be treated, and in turn, we use our website, email database, the UAAlerts texting tool, and social media to inform affected residents. It’s also possible for residents to register for Mosquito Spraying Updates directly from FCPH.