The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Stone Tihista
Valley County Weed and Mosquito Coordinator 

Mosquito Season is Here

 


As folks begin to enjoy spring gardening, mosquitoes will begin enjoying spring gardeners! The winter we have had this 2015–2016 has been quite mild to say the least. However we are not that lucky to escape the pesky little bloodsuckers. Over-wintering female mosquitoes will be on the lookout for a blood meal, which they need for egg production. Soon after egg development, they will be in search of water on which to lay their eggs, and for their young (larvae and pupae) to grow. Standing water left by recent rains will provide development sites for them.

Buckets, barrels, cans, bottles, literally anything that will hold water is a potential mosquito-breeding source. Eliminate mosquito-breeding sources around your house now. Turn over any containers that have collected rainwater. If you have a water bowl outside for your dog, change the water once a week. Chlorinate and run the filter on spas and swimming pools.

Now we have all been listening to the news about the Zika Virus. Glasgow Mosquito District received a fact sheet about the virus and the locations where it is a problem. Zika is a virus transmitted by the bite of the mosquito to humans and from human to human. Only one in five people infected with Zika will show symptoms such as fever, rash and joint pain. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in babies who contracted the virus from their mothers while pregnant. The CDC is also investigating a correlation of Zika with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system.

Should you be concerned about Zika? First – Are we in a risk zone? No! Aedes species are not everywhere. There are two species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, that to the best of current knowledge are only species capable of actively vectoring, or transmitting, the Zika virus. However, if you travel to locations that do harbor these types of species, then one must become aware of their surroundings. Humans are reservoirs and can transmit Zika. This bears repeating. With nearly all other mosquito-borne viruses, humans are “dead end” hosts, and do not transmit the virus. Not the case with Zika. If infected with Zika, people can transmit Zika four ways:

a) Sexual transmission from a man to a woman.

b) Blood transfusion.

c) In utero from an infected mother to fetus.

d) To biting female mosquitoes.

Human cases you have read about in the U.S. to date have all been “imported” travel cases, i.e. the individual had traveled to South America, was bitten there and became symptomatic once returning to the states.

These are not West Nile mosquitos. Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus like to lay eggs in very small amounts of water. That’s how they earned their “container breeder” nickname - you can find their eggs in items as small as a bottle cap. They love standing water, therefore any type of container is a potential breeding site, e.g. Trays of flower pots, bird baths, standing water in gutters, downspout drains, rain barrels, still ponds, junk piles. They like to live in residential areas and bite during the day . . . just the opposite of the night-biting mosquitoes that can carry West Nile Virus. In fact, Aedes aegypti prefer to rest inside at night. Leave your garage door up? That’s a wide open invitation to Ae. aegypti. Carports, sheds and other out buildings are all desired resting spots too.

Everyone needs to fight Zika together. If you live in an area where Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus are found, you need to do your part to keep your property free of potential breeding sites. Remember – these species like to lay eggs in as little as a teaspoon of water and can hatch in just three to four days. More importantly, the Aedes mosquitoes that breed in your yard generally stay near your yard – reducing breeding spots helps protect your family. While living in Montana, we do fight West Nile mosquitoes. So, regardless of what type of virus is out there, we all need to do our part in limiting mosquito breeding sites.

The Glasgow Mosquito District is looking for individuals interested in part-time employment for the summer season. For more information, visit the Valley County Weed / Mosquito Department at 501 Court Square, or call 263-9333.

 

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