In 2014, West Nile virus has been detected in the following counties: Adams, Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bucks, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Chester, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Union, and York.
Weather conditions and other unexpected events could delay or cancel this spray operation. If conditions do not allow application on August 19, 2014, the following evening will serve as the back-up spray date.
Individuals can take a number of precautionary measures around their homes to help eliminate mosquito-breeding areas, including:
- Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water.
- Properly dispose of discarded tires that can collect water. Stagnant water is where most mosquitoes breed.
- Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.
- Have clogged roof gutters cleaned every year as the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.
- Turn over plastic wading pools when not in use.
- Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.
- Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools not in use and remove any water that may collect on pool covers. If a resident has stagnant pools of water on their property, they can buy BTI products at lawn and garden, outdoor supply, home improvement and other stores. This naturally occurring bacterium kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for people, pets, aquatic life and plants.
Additionally, these simple precautions can prevent mosquito bites, particularly for people who are most at risk:
- Make sure screens fit tightly over doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out of homes.
- Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks when outdoors, particularly when mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, or in areas known for having large numbers of mosquitoes.
- When possible, reduce outdoor exposure at dawn and dusk during peak mosquito periods, usually April through October.
- Use insect repellents according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An effective repellent will contain DEET, picardin or lemon eucalyptus oil. Consult with a pediatrician or family physician for questions about the use of repellent on children, as repellent is not recommended for children under the age of two months.
For more information about West Nile virus and the state’s surveillance and control program, please visit www.westnile.state.pa.us